Monday, January 31, 2011

State of the Union Address and Education

     On Jan. 25th 2011, President Obama addressed the nation.  And I have some questions about either his knowledge of his subject or his honesty about it.  He seemed focused on education and as I've warned most people who know me well, that's something we should all be concerned about.  Our Constitution specifically removes the federal government from all forms of education and there is a very good reason for that. 

     Our founding fathers were very aware of what can happen when the government takes over the education of it's citizen's youth. It's fairly difficult to avoid a conflict of interest there, wouldn't you say? Therefore, it leaves it specifically in the States hands. By doing so, our founding fathers gave parents a direct route to question our state representatives. However, our state officials are gladly turning their powers over to a federal government who has failed us over and over in the realm of education.  Why?  Money.  Plain and simple.  But, I digress...

President Obama says this: (taken directly from the White House transcript)

That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It's family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done. We need to teach our kids that it's not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.

     And yet he continually uses South Korea and China as the mirror with which American children should compare themselves in the Educational Olympics he's so fond of.  Parents are not given "options" in these countries in regards to their child's educational direction.  How much information does he have on these two countries?  Are "test" scores the only litmus test that he uses when determining a truly educated child?  Are Americans merely allowing themselves to be "taught" or are they educating themselves on the things they are hearing?  Sadly, I would almost be willing to bet it's the former.

Here are a few interesting tidbits about those two countries:

1.   China is only first in the PISA testing, not in overall education.  The PISA test is specifically for 15 year olds only and 2010 was the first year that China would agree to participate.

2.   China only had children from Shanghai tested and 2010 is their first year to ever take the test.  Shanghai is China's largest and wealthiest city.  This is where all their education is centered.  Had they tested a diverse population of 15 year olds, as the US and other countries do, it's doubtful that they would have scored anywhere close to that.  But, don't let the facts get in the way of the story; we have an agenda to push!

3.   Chinese students must also take a college entrance exam and they cull their students based on these tests. If you don't pass the test, not only can you not get into a Chinese University, but your career path is laid out for you by these test scores.  Let's all be glad things weren't done this way when John Nash (remember the movie, "A Brilliant Mind?...that's Nash) and Einstein came through the system.  They both would have been plucking away at some rice in a field if they had grown up in China and been educated according to "test" scores.  They both stunk at "standardized" testing...because they weren't standard!  If these two could fall through the hoops, we can very safely assume so could thousands of other brilliant minds if we adopt this system!

4.   Is anyone really unclear on why we don't want to develop any system like China's?  Seriously?  You are aware that even reading this blog would be considered illegal there, right?   So, thanks.

5.  S. Korean mothers are, literally, selling their kids to get them out of their militaryesque educational system that Obama is constantly endorsing. Guess where they're selling them got it;  The good 'ole US of A.  Don't believe me?   Read more here.  

6.   The Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Finland, Canada, Belgium, Norway, and New Zealand all have comparative scores to both of these two countries that Obama continues to use as examples of what he'd like to see us be like.  However, none of these countries have the military style that his examples have. 

     Kids in Switzerland and Finland aren't allowed into school until they're 7 because they actually think that maybe kids should be....well, kids before they take up the mantle of becoming an adult.   Finland actually outscores BOTH S. Korea and China in science and is barely a few points behind them in reading and math.  And Finland does NOT require any form of mandatory testing until graduation!  ....gasp!...   (sorry, couldn't resist)

     And while President Obama tells how poorly we're doing and we must adopt these rigorous militaristic styles, along with longer schools days, more school days and the government must oversee us from the cradle through career, he also throws this in to make sure we don't study his other words too carefully: 

America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. No workers are more productive than ours. No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We are home to the world's best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any other place on Earth.

    So, we now feel good about ourselves, but we're prepped to adopt a system that is blatantly Communist.  I know, I know...there are those that simply don't want to hear that.  However, you don't get to stick your head in the sand and pretend that a government run school system, that has removed God and morality from every single aspect of itself, that is now telling us flat out that they are looking at these countries to begin to "reform" our educational system isn't at least leaning toward taking away the rights of parents and placing kids in the hands of government to determine what those kids should do with their lives. When did we begin to view the Government as God?  When did society begin to believe that government was all-knowing and actually had our best interests at heart?  Why can't people see that government and corporations are one and the same? 

   If that's the case, then why no outcry over this take over of our children's education?   Why do more people not stand up, and scream from the top of their lungs, that we do not want children raised under the China/S. Korean educational standards?  Apathy is not an option here, people.  Once this is mandated, there's no going back!

    I would also suggest that you do a search on National Standards in education.  It's an eye-opener, as well.

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