PART 1 of 2
August 28, 2012
In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing. - Autobiography of Mark Twain
It was my pleasure to be invited to participate in a Conference on Education in Maine. The Conference was given by my dear friend, Charlotte Iserbyt, a brilliant researcher and former Senior Policy Advisor in Reagan's Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) in the US Department of Education. Here is the text of my speech.
My name is Kelleigh Nelson. I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, now the number one indebted state in the Union. For the past 25 years I have lived in Tennessee, the state twice voted the most corrupt in the Nation.
The Governor of TN is Bill Haslam. Haslam is co-owner of Pilot Oil/Flying J. He is a pro-UN Agenda 21 governor and like the rest of the phony right, he is in favor of vouchers, choice, and charter schools.
Prior to Haslam's election as Governor in 2010, there was a moratorium on charter schools in the state of TN. He has now lifted that moratorium. Haslam's bagman, Senator Mark Norris, carried the bill to passage allowing UNLIMITED Charter schools in the state of TN. Want ads in our local paper are now advertising for Knox County Schools to issue requests for charter school proposals. And, Governor Haslam is eyeing adding funding to pre-K and creating a larger voucher system in Tennessee.
It was in 2008 when Mayor Bill Haslam and the leftist Chamber of Commerce boys in Knoxville put their school board posse onto a jet to head up to Boston to fetch down a fresh Eli Broad-trained graduate to begin Knox County's transition to corporatized schools.
The Knoxville school board selected, by a 5-4 vote, Boston's James McIntyre as Superintendent of Knox County schools. This followed backroom machinations by then-Mayor, Bill Haslam, who in 2010 bought his way to the Governor's Office in Nashville and has since become Bill Gates's and Eli Broad's chief edu-stooge among Southern governors. McIntyre's base salary is $222,800 per year plus countless perks. [Link]
By the way, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is spending $1.1 million testing galvanic skin response bracelets to see if they can measure whether students find their teachers engaging. I wonder how long it will be before our Governor decides we need these bracelets on the students in Tennessee.
As if that isn't enough, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Gov. Bill Haslam participated in a forum on education reform in June of 2011, video link. Knox County School Superintendent, James McIntyre, served as moderator of the panel discussion. Haslam pushed measures to change teacher tenure laws and to open the door for more charter schools in Tennessee.
The Gates Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and the Eli and Edyth Broad Foundation form a powerful trifecta. The combined net worth of the three families who operate these foundations is $152 billion. These three foundations have been able to steer the direction of education reform over the past decade, by strategically deploying their immense wealth in training school leaders, financing think-tank reports, and supporting “Astro Turf” advocacy groups, The Broad Foundation is the least wealthy of the three, but has still spent nearly $400 million on its mission of “transforming urban K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition.”
Broad graduates who have become infamous superintendents of schools
have all used a top-down dictatorial approach. Most have alienated parents.
Many closed schools. A number had questionable audits on their watch.
More than one had false or questionable data to support their reforms.
All commanded large salaries with perks, while at the same time, slashing
services for children and closing schools in the name of financial scarcity.
A number of them avoided informing the elected school board of their plans
or actively withheld information from them, effectively bypassing democracy.
One of Broad's newest board of directors is none other than Representative Harold Ford, Jr., a former five-term Congressman and chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. His bio states, "Ford is currently managing director and senior client relationship manager at Morgan Stanley and professor of public policy at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. On the House committee on education and the workforce, Ford sought results-oriented solutions to address issues of American workforce preparedness and social challenges faced by faith and community based groups."
Knoxville's Eli Broad-trained Superintendent, James McIntyre, is pushing STEM curriculum schools, Magnet schools (forestry and agriculture in surrounding "region"), replacing all public schools with charter schools and funding teachers with stimulus grant monies from Race to the Top.
Tennessee is one of the first two states to win Race to the Top funding in 2009 and thus received a waiver of No Child Left Behind. Race to the Top requires certain education policies, such as performance based standards for teachers, complying with nationwide standards, promoting charter schools and computerization. In order to be eligible for these grants, the states had to adopt the Common Core State Standards which are now fully implemented in TN.
Common Core Standards are funded by the governors and state schools chiefs, with additional support from that bastion of conservative ideology, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
Since his appointment as Superintendent, McIntyre has been a faithful water-carrier for the TN Business Roundtable agenda, as witnessed in his supporting of teacher bonus pay for test scores, downsizing instructional and non-instructional personnel, outsourcing public jobs such as janitorial services to corporations, and marginalizing teachers and the Knox County Education Association.
McIntyre has also been at the forefront of making state Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) test scores a significant part of student grades. As a result of his recommendation, the Knox County School Board passed a plan last January to make TCAP scores count 15 percent of student school grades. So if economically disadvantaged and special needs children were not being treated unfairly enough already, now they have an additional disincentive for going to school.
Since 1965, the Southern states have traditionally had the lowest education scores since the Skinnerian Direct Instruction training experimentation has been used on them. While the northern states remained academically focused, they always had higher scores. The change has come with all of the states now implementing the Skinnerian work force training. Because the southern states are now teaching to the "tests" and the tests are on the training, the scores for the southern states are rising.
On July 27, 2011,TN Governor Haslam was thrilled to announce the TCAP score growth in all four subjects, reading, math, science and social studies. He just announced the same results for 2012. The gains are a total lie. Our children are deliberately being dumbed down for the global work force.
Now, the latest stealth attack by corporate stooge, Supt. Jim McIntyre, comes in the form of a brazen attempt to put himself in charge of deciding which public schools in Knoxville will be converted into corporate welfare charter schools.
Conversion of existing schools to charters may be initiated through reorganization decisions made by the Director of Schools, through charter decisions by the Board of Education, or through consideration of charter petitions by 75% of faculty and/or 75% of families at the school to be potentially converted.
And who gave McIntyre the authority to institute the constitutionally-challenged Parent Trigger to change or close a school? And just where is our Board of Education?
We just had an opportunity in Knoxville, to elect a school board member who understands what is going on, but Gov. Haslam funded her opponent who will go right along with Haslam and Superintendent McIntyre's goals.
Taxpayer-funded Charter schools with their unelected boards, (they do away with school boards and have appointed or unelected boards or councils) are necessary for implementation of the global work force training.
Meanwhile, college and university leaders said they need more resources to adequately educate and graduate more students to fill those jobs.
The exchange was part of an hour long roundtable hosted by the governor at Scripps Networks Interactive in West Knoxville. Haslam brought together local business executives and college leaders to discuss how the state's higher education system can better meet its workforce needs.
After the meeting the former Knoxville mayor said, "It's a crying shame in today's economy, where we have huge unemployment, that there's still a lot of good jobs going (unfilled) because we haven't prepared people for it, whether it be a welder or an engineer. We're trying to have those conversations around the state to make certain we're providing positions that will train people for the jobs that are there today."
The meeting focused entirely on matching the education system to the job market, but Haslam has said he wants to also examine costs and accessibility. The governor said he expects to have legislation to put before the next General Assembly. I can only imagine what that would entail.
Haslam's close friend and ally is Senator Lamar Alexander, a long time proponent of privatization. Alexander doesn't want just pre-K schools, he wants the babies the minute they're born and here's how he'd do it.
Alexander said, "The private sector is charging ahead, helping clear the way for reform. One of the ways privatization can 'clear the way' is by avoiding the accountability due elected officials." Sure, there are no elected officials. Dr. Hamburg, chief negotiator for the Soviet exchange admitted, "privately endowed foundations can operate in areas government may prefer to avoid." By getting rid of elected officials.
At the 1989, Governors' Conference, Lamar Alexander stated, " I would go down to the maternity ward of the local hospital, or whatever you call the part of the hospital where the nurses are who are there when the babies are born. Find out how many babies are born out of wedlock, how many babies are born with single parents. Just so you know that! I would think the Brand New American School would be year-round, open from 6:00 to 6:00.
A second characteristic might be that these schools will serve children from age 3 months old to age 18. That may be a shocking thought to you; but, if you were to do an inventory of every baby in your community and think about what the needs of those babies were for the next four or five years, you might see that those needs might not be served any other way. They have to be served in some way and maybe around the school. Or, if you study a little more, you might go back and think the school might have to serve the pregnant mother of the baby in terms of prenatal healthcare...."
A few months ago, Superintendent McIntyre asked for a 35 million increase in school funding. At the County Commissioners meeting, they listened to the community and over 45 people spoke for 3 minutes each. Our County Mayor is Tim Burchett and his proposed budget did not include the 35 million. Union members filled the auditorium and spoke. When I spoke to the Commission I asked them why we'd want to keep throwing money at the schools and getting lower test scores. I told about Direct Instruction, Pavlovian and Skinnerian training. I told about the Carnegie Corporation and the Soviet/US education agreements. The next day the local paper referred to me as a conspiracy theorist. The 35 million request failed. Our Knoxville schools are 62% of the county budget, and that does not include the cafeteria, or maintenance and operations, which brings the cost to an annual 75% of the county budget for schools. The total school funding for Knox County is over $400 million for less than 500,000 people.
The very next night I was at the communist pro-Agenda 21, Council for West Knox County Homeowners and the Mayor came in to speak. He told about the budget and then told about a new reading program wherein the reading level of the children was brought up exponentially in a short period of time. I raised my hand and asked him what the name of the program was, and if it was truly phonics based. He talked around the subject and gave me no answer. I raised my hand again and said, "But Mayor, what is the name of the program and is it phonics based?" He told me to call his office the next day. Before he left, I gave him a copy of Charlotte Iserbyt's new book.
The reading program our Mayor is so thrilled about is called Voyager. Voyager reading instruction is one of several programs, along with Reading Mastery, which uses scientific, research-based instruction, which is Skinner and is nothing more than Seigfried Englemann's Direct Instruction dog training. It apparently was designed for disabled students, was first used on minorities, and is being used (far as I can tell) on all students. The math follows the core curriculum. It is, of course, a computer course that uses a timer, colored dots for reinforcement, i.e., mastery learning. Same old, same old stuff. I checked the cost on line, and it is a very expensive program. Reading gains are shown in the first few grades, and then drop precipitously in third and fourth grade.
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I called the Mayor's office and asked for a luncheon appointment. I gave him countless documents on Direct Instruction, but since our Mayor has little influence on the schools, especially after the commission denied Superintendent McIntyre's request for 35 million, the mayor said to get together with our state reps and force a bill that would elect rather than appoint our school superintendents. Another job to tackle.
What is happening in Knoxville, is happening throughout our entire state and is being directed by our Governor, Bill Haslam. For part two click below.
© 2012 Kelleigh Nelson - All Rights Reserved
Kelleigh Nelson has been researching the Christian right and their connections to the left, the new age, and cults since 1975. Formerly an executive producer for three different national radio talk show hosts, she was adept at finding and scheduling a variety of wonderful guests for her radio hosts. She and her husband live in Knoxville, TN, and she has owned her own wholesale commercial bakery since 1990. Prior to moving to Tennessee, Kelleigh was marketing communications and advertising manager for a fortune 100 company in Ohio. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, she was a Goldwater girl with high school classmate, Hillary Rodham, in Park Ridge, Illinois. Kelleigh is well acquainted with Chicago politics and was working in downtown Chicago during the 1968 Democratic convention riots. Kelleigh is presently the secretary for Rocky Top Freedom Campaign, a strong freedom advocate group.