Tying Up All The Loose Ends And Connecting The Dots: RT3/Educated Citizenry 2020

Representative Scott Dieckhaus responded to a previous post on this blog with some accusations as to the validity of the information presented here regarding Race To The Top and Educated Citizenry 2020.

To tie Educated Citizenry 2020, Race to the Top, and the Common Core Standards together as one movement is erroneous.  To assume that they are being hatched from the same group of people is laughable. To jump to the conclusion on a previous post that just because someone (myself) listens to Arne Duncan speak somehow indicates that the person supports everything that Arne Duncan does is irresponsible.  I do hope that facts and responsibility find their way onto this blog soon – otherwise I am sure that the main stream, left-wing media could use a few more reporters similar to these.

–Scott Dieckhaus

Homeschooling United stands by the information we provide to you and appreciates your attention to monitoring legislation and legislators to ensure educational freedoms and parental rights.

As there is some disagreement between Representative Dieckhaus and Homeschooling United, as it relates to the erroneous tying together of RTTT/Common Core Standards/Educated Citizenry 2020, I would like to present some facts that will put this issue to rest. I would also mention that it is very important for all citizens to understand how this is not just an issue related to the public education sector. Educated Citizenry 2020/RT3 (Race To The Top)/Common Core Standards will affect all forms of  education, and that does include the homeschooling community.

In January of 2010 Missouri applied for RT3 Initial Funding. The application was removed from the internet, but I can provide you with screen shots from the PDF file that was saved before it was removed. The applications show, very clearly, that Missouri was seriously pursuing RT3, its funding, and all of the requirements and mandates that went with it. In my opinion, Missourians have been calling for real educational reform for quite some time, before RT3 came on to the scene, but why does the legislature and DESE feel we need to be “nudged” (or led by the nose) to adopt a plan that may create more problems than it solves? And is there a plan to include parents in the decision-making process? RT3 and Educated Citizenry 2020, at this point, provide less local control and parental input than previously held philosophies that were previously the cornerstones of educational success.

Our vision for reform embraces the notion advanced in the book, Nudge, where Thaler and Sunstein outline the need for “choice architects” to subtly steer choices toward positive results while leaving people, districts and schools “free to choose.” We know that if Missouri’s public schools are to be the best choice for our citizens, they must produce the best results. This Race to the Top competition has provided the “nudge” Missouri needed to pick up the pace.

The foundations for RT3 and Educated Citizenry 2020 are Common Core Standards and Charter Schools.

RT3 states that common curriculums will be developed and across the states, by a consortium of states. DESE has made it clear, and promised in their RT3 application they would proceed with the adoption of these standards and has already done so, regardless of receiving approved federal RT3 funding or approval/funding from the Missouri legislature. Also see page 5 of Educated Citizenry 2020 which states that Missouri has already adopted Common Core Standards.

Implementation of the reform plan described in this proposal will not stop if the State does not win Race to the Top funding.

Terminology such as P20 Pipeline and P20 System are referring to coordinating common core curriculums through Pre-K through college.

RT3:

Participating agencies will agree upon a core of data elements to contribute to the common P-20 system. These will comprise a significant resource for decision making. Analyses of the factors that contribute to success from pre-school through postsecondary education and into the workforce will be included. Common definitions and standards will not only support the comparability of the data within the P-20 system, but also the quality and integrity of the data within the individual data systems of the participating agencies.

Across the P-20 community, a major challenge has been to provide access to the longitudinal data being consolidated for decision making. Individual agencies have websites and unique reporting tools, but users need a single site to access the information that the P- 20 Council and the individual agencies have provided. The Show-Me Portal will fill this role. It will be designed and built to enable all users to access relevant and permitted data.

EC2020:

Individual members offered ideas affecting early childhood through higher education, including the need to strengthen the P-20 pipeline and cooperation among stakeholders.

EC2020 promotes Charter Schools by recommending on page 6:

Provide access to high-quality charter schools to all Missouri students. Allow any public school district to sponsor a charter school within the district.

RT3:

Demonstrating and sustaining education reform, by promoting collaborations between business leaders, educators, and other stakeholders to raise student achievement and close achievement gaps, and by expanding support for high-performing public charter schools, reinvigorating math and science education, and promoting other conditions favorable to innovation and reform.

The Missouri legislature has yet to pen a bill fully addressing this, but I fully expect it to be buried in an omnibus bill at the end of the session where it will be harder to follow and garner much less attention. SB 14 was introduced, by Senator Pearce, to address open enrollment issues, however.

Addressing merit pay and teacher tenure are common threads through RT3 and Educated Citizenry 2020. On page 6 of EC2020 it states:

Develop a statewide system for evaluating teacher effectiveness to be used in performance-based compensation. Charge the Joint Committee on Education with leading a taskforce to discuss, review, and develop a statewide system for identifying and rewarding effective teaching. The taskforce will review models used in cities and states throughout the country and frame their work around current research and best practices. Considerations shall include revision of tenure laws that will empower school districts to support the retention of effective teachers and the removal of ineffective teachers. The taskforce may use the Teachers Choice Compensation Plan for St. Louis Public Schools (§168.745-168.750, RSMo.) as a foundation for their discussions. The taskforce will present a comprehensive, cohesive model with specific proposals for legislative action to the General Assembly no later than December 31, 2011.

RT3 states:

Attracting and keeping great teachers and leaders in America’s classrooms, by expanding effective support to teachers and principals; reforming and improving teacher preparation; revising teacher evaluation, compensation, and retention policies to encourage and reward effectiveness; and working to ensure that our most talented teachers are placed in the schools and subjects where they are needed the most.

The legislature must have thought this issue was worth pursuing because SB13 has been introduced to address this very issue. Senate Education Chairman David Pearce filed this bill and it has advance through its second reading as of this posting.

Technology is the answer in underperforming schools in both RT3 and EC2020.

RT3:

Supporting data systems that inform decisions and improve instruction, by fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system, assessing and using data to drive instruction, and making data more accessible to key stakeholders.

Using innovation and effective approaches to turn-around struggling schools, by asking states to prioritize and transform persistently low-performing schools.

EC2020, on page i of the executive summary:

Technology in the delivery of education at all levels.

School Readiness, also in both documents.

EC2020: P. 6 and 7

Provide parents and early childhood educators with the information they need to see that all children enter kindergarten on par with their peers and ready to learn. Formalize DESE’s existing school readiness standards by requiring that standards be distributed to parents, early childhood educators, and school districts. School readiness assessment data and information on prekindergarten experiences for all kindergartners shall be included in core data reporting requirements.

Advance efforts to support voluntary, universal prekindergarten. Explore potential funding sources for prekindergarten education including federal funding. The Committee would like to note that there was not unanimous support for the prekindergarten recommendations.

RT3:

2. Provide quality, universal early childhood educational opportunities to all three and four-year olds;


SB 20 and SB 21 were introduced in Missouri’s legislature, at the beginning of the session, by Robin Wright-Jones. Each bill addresses early childhood education and mandates lowering of the compulsory school age and kindergarten enrollment.

Be it noted that not all the proposed education reform is bad, but there are many concerns that we all should be looking at as Missourians and parents. We need to make sure the solution aren’t worse than the problems.

This week has seen some highly reactive responses from Jefferson City as it relates to information circulating on blogs and testimony given at committee hearings concerning education reform proposed by the 96th general assembly. If the leadership isn’t confident in the vehicle they are driving, to bring quality education to the children of Missouri, perhaps they should rethink the proposed plans or just not put their signatures on the documents.

So, if  Representative Dieckhaus would still like to dispute any erroneous to ties to the afore-mentioned items, we will be happy to provide more comparisons. As for any future career with the “main-stream, left-wing media”, I think I’ll pass, but if Brietbart or FOX is reading this post, I am happy to consider any offers.

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11 Responses to Tying Up All The Loose Ends And Connecting The Dots: RT3/Educated Citizenry 2020

  1. what say you? says:

    This report is certainly not laughable. Certainly not any loose ends that I can see. Mr Dieckhaus what say you? Why are the Republicans going through with this measure? If you are not proposing this, what are you proposing? Surely you don’t expect us to blindly follow your lead and the others without asking a few questions on such an important issue as this. Your reaction is surprising and childish. Please conduct yourself worthy of the title that you hold.

    Did not our founding fathers difer in their ideas? Jefferson and Adams, Patrick Henry, The Federalist Papers and The Anti Federalist Papers? If anyone disagrees with your take on education are they a liberal? Maybe you are a Progressive Rhino and no Conservative at all?

    I would think you would be grateful that citizens care about such an important issue as this. Try to show a little humility. It is much more becoming and remember, you work for us. Healthy debate is what makes this country great. Try learning some civility sir. Propriety may help too.

  2. Truth Seeker says:

    Bravo to the author.

    Unless the representative can illustrate how these three plans are not intertwined and offer a compelling counter-argument and documents to the contrary, I am of the mind these three plans are similar in their goals. Representative, I believe you protest too much without any facts of your own.

    Author, I believe you have tied up the loose ends and connected the dots with fact. Unlike the representative, I don’t find these connections laughable; I find them frightening.

  3. Pat says:

    Mr. Dieckhaus,

    I think you just insulted all the liberal homeschoolers with your “left wing” comment.

  4. Molly P. says:

    WOW! I don’t think there are any loose ends in this information! The facts speak for themselves! This has been going on for a long time. Last year while Missourians were busy fighting the healthcare issue, many of us were researching and trying to get the word out about what was going on behind the scenes with regards to education. In fact, many of us were told by our dear elected officials to tone down our message as to not take any support away from the healthcare issue. Only one Missouri elected official would even discuss what was happening in education. When DESE begins to reference Cass Sunstein in official state grant proposals to the federal government and those proposals are signed and approved by our governor and approved by the state school board, we all should be asking questions and speaking out! The fact that elected officials who last year pushed for citizen input on the healthcare issue and loved the help of the patriot and grassroots groups, now turn their backs on those same trusted groups and individuals, should again have everyone asking questions as to the true intent of education reform in Missouri!

    Simply ask your legislators one question.

    How does the adoption of the common core standards increase local control and reduce spending?

  5. 4commonground says:

    After this morning, I would just like to clarify my points.

    I admit I don’t agree with Homeschooling United on every single issue – but I do agree with them the majority of the time. I also appreciate their efforts to put truth out there for us. I personally appreciate that they always document every statement with screen prints and links. This allows each of us to go the primary information and reach our own conclusions.

    First of all, I agree that they have done a very thorough job at documenting the correlation between the federal and state blue prints for education reform in Missouri and nationally. I looked at both documents myself, and I agree with HU. I think everyone involved in the education reform movement will agree that this a very bipartisan movement. It would thus make sense that these documents support the same reforms. I also think this is a good thing, not a bad thing. I actually think that many of the reform ideas being purported are great ideas. Which I believe HU agrees with as well. I do think, however, that if not implemented with great care or if adopted too broadly, the solution may end up worse than the problem. We must look ahead and see where we will end up over time. Legislative changes are always incremental. Even if people only give up a little freedom at a time, over time they can find themselves in bondage. (Tolstoy)

    I also feel compelled to defend the representative who responded. I wish the representative would do the same thing to help us better understand his assertions. So hopefully he will respond again with some details rather than broad statements.

    On a separate point, most homeschoolers I know are very far right conservatives, including those involved with HU, so calling this group “left wing” is confusing. I also think it is very unprofessional for an elected official to use such ad hominem attacks. This isn’t a campaign, this is about our children’s future, as well as that of our nation. I also think that he may have insulted those of his constituents who are democrats by calling them “left wingers.” An apology would go along way with the more liberal homeschoolers and there are some.

    I also went and looked up his tweets myself. They clearly state, as HU asserted, he is looking forward to hearing from some of the greatest education reformers of all time. I went and looked at the meeting agenda as well. Almost all of the speakers at the Foundation for Excellence in Education in DC in December were all very liberal, except for Governor Christie of New Jersey. If he was referring to Christie (and I only refer to him because he was the only one speaking that I would call a true conservative), why didn’t he tweet about Christie specifically instead of Duncan and Moskowitz specifically?

    The representative surely has to understand where the confusion would come from.
    Also some of the confusion in the homeschooling community seems to have arisen from a conversation that a homeschooling family had with the representative the night of the inaugural ball. When asked about Arne Duncan he indicated that he did have
    great respect for him, but he didn’t agree with Duncan on everything. However, he didn’t elaborate then or in his post about those issues they don’t agree on. I too, think that Duncan has some great ideas, and I too don’t agree with everything he is pushing. It would be helpful if the representative would be more specific. Because right now we don’t know to what he was referring.

    Also we must recognize that this conversation is second hand, and while everyone recognizes and respects this couple, as I do, it is still second hand. We need to hear the representative’s side as well. Obviously there must be some disconnect here, because we all know that to say that you support Duncan and homeschoolers at the same time without a caveat to clarify that you don’t support Duncan’s stand on homeschooling is contradictory. We need to let the representative clarify the contradiction for us.
    He also indicated that he is a friend of homeschoolers and that his votes reflect that. In all fairness, I think he believes that his vote for SB 291 supported us because that is what he was told. But I am sure he doesn’t understand that the majority of homeschoolers didn’t appreciate the additional documentation and reporting it created. He is probably just
    misinformed.

    I think we need to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I agree we need much better explanations. So lets all take a step back and give him a chance to explain himself. I think, if given an opportunity, he could be a great ally and advocate for homeschoolers, so lets give him this chance.

    I may be wrong on all of this, but let’s hit the reset button and see how he responds to us going forward in both the language in his legislation and his treatment of us as
    individual homeschoolers. His actions will speak louder than anyone’s words.
    And again, HU you have many, many in the homeschooling community, including myself, who appreciate and support your efforts to make sure our homeschooling freedoms are preserved.

    Thank you for your willingness to step forward and provide this information to us. I personally appreciate that you always document every statement with screen prints and links. This allows each of us to go the primary information and reach our own conclusions.

    Blessings to all.

  6. Elaine says:

    Commonground-

    We appreciate you trying be nice and wanting to defend all these people and especially the FHE lobbyist. Can’t you see they are just stringing you along?

  7. Cathy says:

    Elaine,
    What bothers you about what Common Ground said?

    • Elaine says:

      Cathy,

      I am not sure that it “bothers me.” I just feel she is being naive and taken advantage of. I say it with love and friendship, because I like this person. I just want her to look objectively at this.

      I appreciate her wanting to extend grace to the legislators, but they keep eroding at our homeschooling rights. I know she thinks she knows a lot of these people, but I dont think she really does. Nor am I saying that she is like the FHE lobbyist either. That is a totally different situation. He has endorsed and works closesly with those legislators that are pushing the hardest for this reform, like Rupp and Cunningham.

      The education budget is in a crises state. We need money, but we are accepting all of this federal money and there are strings with it – the legislators admitted there would be. I just don’t want us to be a bargaining chip like we were in ’09.

  8. Elaine says:

    Cathy,

    I would also contend that the fact the Representative Scott Dieckhaus has failed to respond and disprove Homeschooling United’s claims that it gives the claims credence.

  9. Cathy says:

    Elaine,
    You make good points as does common ground. I do agree with you concerning the FHE lobbyist.
    The FHE lobbyist represents a small portion of homeschoolers in the state; unfortunately, he likes to represent us all. Many homeschoolers are completely disgusted with him for many reasons.
    One of my main reasons is the lack of respect that he has for women, particularly, those that run for office. Secondly, he sends out letters telling us not to contact our legislatures over concerns we may have. How ironic when at the same time they are encouraging us in their campaigns and in their weekly legislative updates to contact them with any concerns. Yet, Mr. Messer for years has been saying, don’t contact them and if anyone tells you differently, contact me immediately and let me know about it. Yet, why should I trust Mr. Messer? Is this not facilitating tyranny?

    While he has the freedom to endorse a candidate what I take issue with is the manner in which he does so and who he has chosen to endorse. I can think of 3 races in which he spoke ill off homeschoolers: Cynthia Davis, homeschooling mom, Kurt Bahr homeschooling father and Gina Loudon, homeschooling mother. Mr Messer performed character assassinations on all of these individuals. Yet, FHE and its board and other boards that he lobbies for are doing a poor job at monitoring his conduct. It is obvious that no boards hold him under any kind of accountability. It shows you that these Christian organizations only care about the “free” service that he gives them as a lobbyist and not about his representation of Christ. If totally flies in the face of Christian morality and ethics. How can you hope that God would bless your efforts with this kind of worldview, the end justifies the means? I certainly know that my money will never support any of the organizations that he lobbies for.

    Another question. Why was he so supportive of Race to the Top at the home school rally this past year? (For those of you who don’t know, it is a federal takeover of education. Is he a lobbyist for them as well as Homeschoolers? Whose side is he really on? Maybe we should have term limits for our lobbyist if our boards are not going to do a better job of holding them accountable.

    So I am thankful that you brought up our FHE lobbyist. We have all been discussing it for some time. Ethos at the Jefferson City is long overdue and Christian Organizations need to start stepping up to the plate if they want to start being taken seriously at least by the constituents. Maybe your donations would increase!

    So Elaine, we the people must continue to ” question with boldness, hold to the truth and speak without fear.”

  10. Pingback: Is This Really The Kind Of Educational Reform Missouri Wants? «

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