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Central Planners in Albany hard at work to control your children from “cradle” to “career”.

January 6, 2013

My in-box is generally pretty flooded so that I don’t catch everything, but a recent email from Governor Cuomo’s office really made me sit up and take notice.  It seems that for the last 7 months, after creating a special “commission” to supposedly reform NYS education system, the commission has come out with their preliminary report .  According to the Governor , over the “last seven months, the Commission held public hearings in each of the 10 regions of New York, received thousands of pages of testimony, and heard from more than 300 students, parents, educators and stakeholders”.

Really, 300?  Out of tens of millions of New Yorkers?  I don’t have kids myself, but I generally skim the yearly (usually just before they want us to vote on the budget) school district newsletter that comes to my house, and I must have missed this.

From the Commission website here is the stated mission.

The Commission will examine the current structure of the state’s education system through the lens of what is in the best interest of students. The Commission shall comprehensively review and assess New York State’s education system, including its structure, operation and processes, with the goal of uncovering successful models and strategies and developing long-term efficiencies that will create significant savings while improving student achievement and providing students a high-quality education. The Commission will explore best practices and models from other states and nations that could be implemented in New York.

The Education Reform Commission will make recommendations for improving our education system. The Commission will study ways to strengthen teacher recruitment and performance; improve student achievement; increase parent and family engagement; use technology in the classroom; help high-need and low-wealth school communities; and manage educational funding and costs.

And from the Commisionj 60+ page report PDF:

Action Plan

Although the Commission has only recently started its work, we have addressed the public education system in it’s entirety, from cradle to college and career.  Over the coming year, the Commission will address the complex legal, financial and structural issues that impede our system, our educators, and our students from achieving their full potential.  While these issues are complex, the Commission recognizes that our schools and students cannot wait for us to work through every one of these issues.  The first set of actionable recommendations will substantively and fundamentally address the entire system, from pre-kindergarten to high school to college and career.  This Action Plan is designed to take the first steps to implement the Commission’s vision for New York’s future, because there is no time to waste. Although we will continue our work over the next year, the issues we address in this first report are urgent and require immediate action.  This Action Plan also provides guidance for the system to ensure that we invest in high quality programs and are constantly assessing their impact and providing tools to empower the local community to support our students from cradle to college and career.

*Bold by GardinersRight

So, the state central planners, can’t stand that there are aspects of your kids lives that they can’t directly control, so in the name of “urgent” reform, want to further control all aspects of the eduction systems….from the bottom up, including I’m sure the taxing and purse powers.  While the state controls the teachers and unions, they still have to deal with those pesky individual school districts and school boards that maintain some local control….for the time being.  Never mind that state control of anything never costs less or get better results.  If our education system is broken now…why would more of the same government control make it work better?

For those of you with kids out there, you really want to keep your eye on this ball, because I smell a set up to takeover NYS school districts by Albany.  And, it’s doesn’t smell very nice.

Meanwhile, I just got an interesting email from Dr. Shanon Brooks from Monticello College, and he talks about the ineffectiveness of educational systems here:

According to a summary of that study, “Generally, the higher U.S. News & World Report ranks a college, the lower it ranks here in civic learning. At four colleges U.S. News ranked in its top 12 (Cornell, Yale, Duke, and Princeton), seniors scored lower than freshmen. These colleges are elite centers of “negative learning.”

In essence, after spending an average of six years and expending up to a quarter of a million dollars in the search for an undergraduate degree, a great many students had nothing or less than nothing to show for their investment of time and money.  But they did have a diploma, that magic piece of paper.

It is not my intention to bash American education.  Yes, there are plenty of brilliant American educated individuals that impact the world.  But that is not because of the system, it is in spite of it.  The fact that they could go thru such a system and still develop their genius is a tribute to the individual, not necessarily a reflection on the educational system.

So, it’s really the fault of the “systems” of education that no amount of reform or government education will cure.  Students learn only in spite of the system.  You can read Dr. Brooks’ full post about the “Human Spirit” and education here.

UPDATE May 2014  – here is a link to the January 2014 Full Report of the commission – a blueprint for more and more “investment”, i.e. spending…..versus a focus on how our kids can actually gain a good solid classic education.

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