Archive for March 2014
To build credibility and influence over decision makers, citizens should engage in the legislative process. Citizens can exercise their civic authority as the founding fathers intended with a minimal amount of involvement while coordinating with like minded proponents of self government. A republic is a balance between monarchy, tyranny and anarchy. A republican form of government intends to govern citizens by a law that is fair to all citizens and provides for their own self rule.
The social contract then explains the relationship between natural rights and legal rights. We are born with natural rights. As societies are formed and develop their governments, they actively trade rights to some extent for legal rights. Self governance is self-determined man exercising individual liberty, personal and civic accountability and responsibility for the control of instituted government. Our Creator gave us rights and we, the people, created the government to safeguard those rights. We the people have authority over our government. It is the right and civic duty of the people to exercise their power to limit this government.
The government derives its powers from the consent of the governed. Civilized governance requires that we, as a collective, abdicate our decision-making authority to a central power, but the political authority should be derived from the consent of the governed. Centralized governance fulfills the individual and society’s need for safety, security and order amongst others. Societies bring us benefits. Assuming divisions of labor, specialized productions generate increased productivity and barter results. Personal safety and security is a benefit of central government.
In a republic, an educated citizenry actively participates in limiting the central government. This is vital for maintaining the balance of power between self-governance and centralized governance. Self governance can be described as active involvement in centralized government. Citizens need to be educated in the local government, such as school boards, city councils and county boards and make themselves available to guide government officials.
Citizens should give their input to their elected officials or they can be ruled by small factions of energetic citizens working only for their own interests. This is the current state of affairs in our government. We voted in people who we thought were like minded and we figured our job was done. We went about our lives and did not pay close attention to what was going on in our government. Looking at this situation a year later and you have to wonder: What was this person thinking? How did he come up with these things? Politicians are human and they get corrupted into the power of centralized governance. In order to maintain balance with our elected officials, we need to keep a working relationship with the city, county, state and federal elected and appointed officials. That is why a team of citizens must be built to be effective in countering them and keeping the freedom our forefathers gave to us and for the future of our nation.
With this course in self governance we see the reasoning why our founders fled and desired to start a new nation. It is important to realize what is given to you by God, our creator, and what is given to you by man’s laws. This republic can only be kept if we the people support and control the government we built. This course shows how our founding fathers came to choose a republic as our form of government and how it is the duty of citizens to keep the government in check. This enables us to have as much freedom as possible to choose how we live our lives and still continue to live in a civilized society.
We have failed in teaching people why we chose the republic as our form of government and how it works to protect us. All of us need to be educated in this, but schools have gradually stopped teaching children our history. Over the years, things have steadily been cut from the curriculum which would educate people in how our government works and why personal involvement is so important. The student never realizes that he actually has powers (and responsibilities) as a citizen. He never gets the knowledge of the history of our country and how (and why) we got started. This has led to a much too powerful central government. Education is a very useful tool to control students and what they learn because they are used to being controlled in a school setting. Without the facts of our history, they are propagandized.
A new study published by the Brookings Institution has concluded that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will have “little to no impact on student achievement.”
The Brookings Institution’s 2014 Brown Center report states:
It is doubtful that even the most ardent Common Core supporter will be satisfied if the best CCSS can offer–after all of the debate, the costs in tax revenue, and blood, sweat, and tears going into implementation–is a three point NAEP [National Assessment of Educational Progress] gain.
The 2012 Brown Center Report predicted, based on an empirical analysis of the effects of state standards, that the CCSS will have little to no impact on student achievement. Supporters of the Common Core argue that strong, effective implementation of the standards will sweep away such skepticism by producing lasting, significant gains in student learning. So far, at least–and it is admittedly the early innings of a long ballgame–there are no signs of such an impressive accomplishment.
Researchers performed two statistical analyses. The first compared changes in test scores on the Nation’s Report Card, which reports the academic achievement of elementary and secondary students in the United States, between groups of states that had previously been placed into two categories: “those with math mandates like Common Core,” and “those with math mandates not like Common Core.”
According to Brookings, states whose standards were less like Common Core performed better on national assessments than those states that had standards more like Common Core.
In addition, a data analysis found the difference in test scores between those states that were considered “strong implementers” of the Common Core standards and those states that never adopted the standards (Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia) “are not even noticeable, let alone significant.”
In fact, the Brookings report states, “It will take 24 years for a noticeable improvement to unfold. And that improvement would add up to 7.62 NAEP scale score points, a gain in 24 years that falls far short of the 22 point gain that NAEP registered in its first 23 years.”
The Brookings authors warn, however, that some of the data used to study the effects of the Common Core standards are “lumpy,” undoubtedly due primarily to the fact there is no direct data for the standards. This reality underscores further the assertion of critics of the standards that the Common Core initiative was adopted by state boards of education–sight unseen–and despite the fact that the standards were unproven and untested.
The statement of the study’s authors is sobering nonetheless, especially as it comes when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which last year received $1.3 million in funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote Common Core, has launched a multi-million dollar ad campaign with other business groups to promote the standards. At the same time, Gates, who has spent upwards of $170 million on implementation of the initiative, has been interviewed on national television to defend the controversial standards.
In addition, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, an avid supporter of the Common Core, is urging Republicans, who have often been the main obstacles to repeal of the standards in the states, to “stay the course” and keep the standards going.
This urgent political campaign to promote the Common Core standards indicates that Common Core opponents and grassroots groups of parents and teachers are having a major impact in the states. A total of 33 states now have had some form of legislation raised against the standards themselves, the aligned testing, or the associated student data collection.