Two stories in the news last week are a reminder that the left is like the Energizer bunny: It just keeps on keeping on.
Story # 1
The Common Core Standards are making headlines again. Forty-five states took the federal bribe money and signed up. Alaska, Virginia, Texas and Nebraska said thanks, but no thanks. Nine of the 45 are now thinking that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea.
The natives are restless in Kansas, Missouri, Michigan, Georgia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Alabama, South Carolina and Utah. Some states have grown uneasy that the standards weaken existing educational requirements. Others are concerned about the burgeoning costs or want to delay implementation. In Georgia, an executive order, signed by Governor Nathan Deal, restricts the information that may be collected on students and their families, such as religious and political affiliation and voting history: requirements that are part of the Common Core data collection system.
A May 28th WSJ column* referred to the Common Core as recycling “a decades old, top-down approach to education.” But, as writers Jamie Gass and Charles Chieppo explained, it is more than that:
The roots are in a letter sent to Hillary Clinton by Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, after Bill Clinton’s presidential victory in 1992. The letter laid out a plan ‘to remold the entire American system’ into a centralized one run by ‘a system of labor-market boards at the local, state, and federal levels’ where curriculum and ‘job matching’ will be handled by government functionaries.
In 2010 a WWTFT post cited more of Tucker’s letter.
“We think the great opportunity you have is to remold the entire American System for human resources development… A national system of education in which curriculum, pedagogy, examinations, and teacher education and licensure systems are all linked to the national standards… a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone…
In other words, Common Core Standards will, in time, morph into a vast bureaucracy for “human resource development.” Labor-market boards will determine what schools your children attend, the job training they are suited for and the jobs they get. Board bureaucrats need the data collection system to be able to assess students according to their criteria. Of course, family voting habits, religious affiliation and the like will not influence board decisions any more than political considerations influenced IRS profiling, auditing and withholding tax exemptions.
Tucker, however, warned: “Radical changes in attitudes, values and beliefs are required to move any combination of these agendas.”
Which brings up Story # 2
President Obama responded to Justice Department scandals involving the Associated Press and Fox News by expressing concern and suggesting that a press “shield law” is needed.
But Illinois Senator Dick Durbin gave the game away in a Fox News interview. Durbin said:
“Here is the bottom line – the media shield law, which I am prepared to support … still leaves an unanswered question, which I have raised many times: What is a journalist today in 2013? We know it’s someone that works for Fox or AP, but does it include a blogger? Does it include someone who is tweeting? Are these people journalists and entitled to constitutional protection?”
Now think back a couple of years to when the Federal Trade Commission floated a trial balloon entitled “Potential Policy Recommendations To Support The Reinvention Of Journalism.” You can read all about at WWTFT “Too Liberal to Fail.”
The policy recommendations that comprised the 47-page document amounted to a many-tiered attack on the First Amendment that included pricing (taxation), licensing, and regulation, or some combination of all three. The plan was summarily shot down and disappeared from view. Now it’s most important provision is making a comeback.
It seems more than likely that the president’s shield law will include a plan to define/license journalists who could qualify for the shield. If that takes place, it would be an end run around the First Amendment. That pesky First Amendment makes it difficult to root out incorrect “attitudes, values and beliefs.” The Internet, talk radio and Fox News are problems, as President Obama has made abundantly clear in his speeches. If those “radical changes,” are to succeed, communications have to be limited to approved sources.
Lest anyone doubt that could actually happen, Gass and Chieppo pointed out that Sec. of Education Arnie Duncan circumvented “three federal education laws that explicitly prohibit the U.S. government from ‘directing, supervising, or controlling any nationalized standards, testing or curriculum’” by using Race to the Top funds to get states to adopt Common Core.
Members of the left (who prefer to be called progressives) have a long and successful record of recycling efforts to expand government until public acceptance is achieved. ObamaCare is the culmination of progressive initiatives going back for over a hundred years. Theodore Roosevelt promoted universal health care in 1912. Franklin Roosevelt floated the idea in 1933 and Harry Truman tried again in 1949. So now we have ObamaCare and an Independent Payment Advisory Board to decide who gets what medical treatment, much as labor-market boards would determine the educational and career futures of young people.
All of which is textbook progressivism. Progressives believe that governing is best conducted by bureaucrats trained in the scientific application of progressive ideas for the improvement of society. According to progressives, the concept of inalienable rights is outmoded as are the restrictions placed on government by the Constitution.
When formerly rejected violations of the Constitution are deployed to “solve” some government-hyped crisis, it is not unreasonable to be alarmed.
Besides, those hobnailed boots make so much noise.