Another Defining Issue in Alabama's Political Minefield…
I remain a steadfast advocate of ABOLISHING the waste of our taxpayer dollars on all primary elections and the further waste from any absurd run-offs which may follow. Time for parties to pay for their OWN primaries instead of using them as yet another money mill for the political duopoly reaffirmed by this corrupt political process every election cycle; obviously this will not change under our current politburo result. With all the discussion of campaign finance reform (oft used for incumbency protection), revised redistricting rules, term limits, etc. the political environment can not become very competitive and improve until restrictive ballot access laws are removed. I’ve long awaited a Secretary of State aspirant with the courage and wisdom to champion rules where EVERY candidate shall pay the marginal cost of being placed on general election ballots (regardless of party affiliation, if any) to defray expenses for providing the republican form of government (guaranteed in Art. 4, Sec. 4) as well as completely release taxpayers from funding all Party primaries and runoffs.
Nonetheless as the June 3rd primary approaches, it seems another defining moment is coming to fore much like the Amendment One $1.2 billion tax increase advanced by the Riley administration - defeated 2 to 1 by the sage voters of our State. Imagine how much worse off the State would be today with yet another billion extracted from productive (esp. struggling small businesses responsible for most of our job creation) members of our economy. Many still recall “Big Government Bob’s” Amendment One tax explosion attempt; evoking memories of how our House Speaker and his minions operate more than a decade later. Voters overwhelming shut down of Amendment One in 2003 prompted the current use of special elections, attempted unauthorized rewrites, etc. to circumvent the electorate and our State constitution.
So what could be looming on the horizon to conjure memories of the Hubbard/Riley full court press attempt to take yet another $1.2 billion so many years ago? -- imposing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) upon our State. A recent Gallup poll on the initiative found over one third of parent’s were unaware of ‘Common Core’ even with it getting national press when Indiana dropped the standards citing budget concerns. The National Educators Association criticism of CCSS also got noticed by national news outlets, further fueling complaints of insufficient input from parents and educators, highlighting suspicion of purposefully trying to keep a large, sweeping issue out of view. Sarah Perry of the Christian Post further quoted the Gallup poll, "fewer than four in 10 parents (38 percent) appear to be knowledgeable about the standards, saying they have heard either a great deal or a fair amount about them. Nearly as many - 31 percent - have heard nothing, while another 30 percent have heard only a little" to support the notion of poor canvassing of stakeholders.
Little surprise CCSS is the next step from Republocrat Nixon’s unauthorized federal Dept. of Education to W’s ‘No Child Left Behind’ (a.k.a. no special interest left behind) for Obama to take the next step on the Soviet path we’ve ‘progressed’ into these past several score. The usual query applies: if these are such a great set of curricula or standards, why must they be mandated? Furthermore, when something claims bi-partisan support, be VERY wary as it usually means the brokered theft is all the larger and wider. Let’s get the federal government OUT of education to focus on the few things the central government is actually authorised to address.
Ms. Perry wrote the reason for the mix of subterfuge and force is, “local school districts desperate for an infusion of much-needed federal ‘Race to the Top’ funding. The official standards website claims the process was transparent and state-led. Neither claim is accurate. Instead, the standards were created by private trade associations, the National Governor's Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), neither of which has policy-making authority from any legislative body, and both of which are privatel incorporated and funded. It is not surprising then, that Dr. Sandra Stotsky, creator of the now-defunct Massachusetts K-12 state standards, professor of education reform at the University of Arkansas, and a member of Common Core's Validation Committee, has written that "a gigantic fraud has been perpetrated on this country, in particular on parents in this country, by those developing, promoting, or endorsing Common Core's standards."
In short, this is more ‘Romneycare’ out of Massachusetts as a ‘template’ to further destroy education now that Republocrat healthcare has been imposed with Messrs. Obama and Roberts help. By now, one would think it’d be increasingly clear this Soviet model is a template for failure, esp. with the observed ORomneycare result. The federal government can’t even accomplish healthcare for our Veterans, something actually authorised to DC. Taking on even more liabilities for national healthcare (completing the big government Nixonian vision) is destined to fail if history is any guide.
Some (although barely reported) refused to endorse CCSS standards including Dr. James Milgram, Professor emeritus of mathematics at Stanford University; the ONLY mathematician on the validation committee. Names of the 29 drafters in the ‘Standards Development Work Group,’ were finally provided when enough parents, concerned with the dearth of transparency in the CCSS process pressed the issue to find only one teacher of English. David Coleman and Susan Pimental, the leading English Language Arts drafters, are not widely known names in this field. Ms. Perry’s Christian Post Op Ed also noted Drs. Stotsky and Milgram refused to endorse the Standards, sworn to secrecy about the process of the standards' development and the content. The more Perry looked into CCSS, the more questions she offered, closing with the following queries: Why was there so much secrecy surrounding the development of Common Core Standards? Why the rabid commitment to confidentiality in the creation of transformational educational standards, those that are guiding and instructing students in 44 states? Why no minutes of Work Group meetings? Why no state legislative debates?
I find myself reminded of another Nixon Republocrat gem - the Metric Conversion Act of 1975. Freedom of choice to use English or Metric in education, production, patents, etc. was too much for our ‘Moscow on the Potomac’ to bear. There were simply too many campaign donors to cash in on wanting to steal from small businesses, consumers, students and taxpayers by mandating use of metric. The usual public interest rhetoric was in full court press - i.e., “easier for students” and “standardization” poppycock. The private interest reality was the National Bureau of Standards wanted their budget increased, publishers wanted to sell mandated new editions, teachers wanted the funding for education programs to facilitate the change, sign makers selling more aluminum blanks with expensive reflective decals and the biggest hog at the trough, toolmakers requiring most technicians to keep TWO sets of tools. Four decades later we know it was just another scam. Students clearly do not think it any ‘easier’ as they still default to English measurements and standardization is NOT enforced because demand for English tools would have disappeared by now and the toolmakers were the biggest special interest paying the DC politburo for this wealth transfer in their favor.
This is what’s being fought here with CCSS in Alabama. The usual suspects want to extract even more from our failing education systems, more interested in wealth transfers (and perhaps govt. subsidized football) than preparing our children to become independent thinkers and problem solvers. Tea Party types (think the same brave twelve who served the Quo Warranto to stop Sen. Marsh’s unauthorized constitutional rewrite scheme) blocked $100 million lined up for favorable contracts to redistribute wealth from Alabama taxpayers this session. Gov. Bentley may be turning his back on the AEA, BCA, et al parasites and return to caring about citizens (young and old) as well as the taxpayers in our State after recently changing course on Common Core, but I’m not convinced. The outcome of this primary can make a difference if successful in removing some key pro-govt. thugs in power who will not allow issues of this sort be decided on a general election ballot, knowing they’ll not pass nor allow I & R (http://frankdillman.com/political/I&R/History-of-I&R-letbamavote.pdf) to remove the harmful laws imposed upon us or recall corrupt elected officials.
Does Alabama really want to keep reelecting big govt. Republocrats of this deleterious spirit? The most insidious ones must be removed in the primaries since they have little/no competition in the general election. Much effort has been put into recruiting and getting these few viable small govt. conservative alternative candidates on primary ballots to break up the stranglehold this duopoly has on our State. In the months to come we’ll likely see the teachers unions come out against Common Core, not because they care about students, it is a simple substitution effect. They do not want to see the theft from taxpayers they’re accustomed to receiving being redistributed to crony contractors/vendors who’ve paid the political machine for this transfer in their favor.
I suspect my next column will write itself as the primary results are known and you’ll hear mainstream extremists press and pundits claim the TEA Party/Liberty movement is dead! It is clear the big govt. thugs have done well talking a good game to once again fool primary voters into having the usual big govt. Donkey poop and Elephant poop to complain about allowed on the November general election ballot so there will be little change in DC and Montgomery. Alabama’s restrictive ballot access laws (supported by incompetent jurist Myron Thompson who has shown great disregard for voter civil rights in Alabama) make it almost impossible to have non-duopoly candidates to elect. Looks like I’ll again be using a lot of ink writing in candidates in November as I refuse to waste my vote on big govt. Republocrat extremists who continue to ‘progress’ us into the mess we suffer. Just as I’m proud to say I didn’t vote for any of thugs who pressed for the Amendment One tax explosion; I will make the same claim about the Common Core boondoggle. The dollar amount may be smaller in comparison, but the long term harm promises to be much more deleterious to our posterity.