Many parents, retired teachers and concerned citizens have been going to Helena to attend the Board of Public Education meetings.  Here is an article summarizing the observations of two citizens that attended the meeting in July 2014.

Working Together for the Common Good

Recently we attended a two day meeting of the Montana Board of Education in Helena. In the audience on the first day we were the only two people who were not government employees. It was a startling reality.

At the meeting on the first day they were discussing the by-laws. They skipped over the part about their constitutional oath of office, but did talk at length about the new department they have established for the deaf and blind with its own superintendent, which is a random growth of bureaucracy by bureaucracy. This is not an isolated example of their self- empowerment and complete disrespect of the legislative process.

They went on to discuss public comment which they feel to be an imposition on their valuable time. There were many suggestions about what to do about it, including a suggestion from their attorney, who also represents other government agencies which most likely could be considered a conflict of interest. His idea was to allow the Chairman to decide who speaks and for how long. In each of the solutions to what they see as a problem, we didn’t hear anything that didn’t sound like censorship of the public. They closed the meeting without asking for public comment, which seemed the most efficient and direct route to censorship. There is little regard for who butters their bread.

The following day the Governor arrived to give a rallying speech about his support for their efforts to implement “new standards” for education (read Common Core) with a focus on preschoolers of 4 years of age. The new terminology now is P through 12 instead of K through 12. He promised the Board that he would be lobbying the legislature to secure whatever funds they need to further “their agenda”. He even waved his fist in the air, declaring that this is what he wants for his own children. Using words with reference to preschoolers such as “human capital”, “return on investment”, “social issues”, and their eventual ability to contribute more tax dollars; this governor is exposing himself as someone who has no respect for children or their future.

After the Governor spoke there were presentations by people from the various government agencies who spoke of their participation in implementing the “new standards”. They spoke of how they are endlessly working, and congratulating themselves on their input and output, none of it seeing the light of day where the public is concerned. When asked what these new standards and the structure around them will cost, the answer is that no cost analysis has been done. They will implement and then whatever money they need will be provided by a generous legislature. They have already put up a training web site and are implementing a program that they say is not yet funded or approved. It is enough to go to the OPI web site to see what is being implemented for which the governor has promised funding.

At the lunch hour the Board announced a working lunch. As we were leaving to purchase our own lunch, we saw them at a table under a tree with buckets of food. It is too bad that this Board appointed by the Governors office can’t share with the public, as we would have been happy to join them.

In an article in the Daily Interlake (http://eeditions.shoom.com/doc/daily-inter-lake/10aug14dil/2014081001/#26) penned by Mr. Bullock, his bio described him as a Helena Democrat, which is somewhat suggestive. He continues to establish himself as a lobbyist although that is not part of his job description. He has declared to want something for his children (pre-school standards) that they by age do not qualify for. When he talks about reducing the absenteeism of working parents, what he means is that they are to be replaced by the state in the “nurturing and educating” of their own children. No longer considered absent from their children’s lives because they are working to contribute more taxes to keep the state alive and well in the lives of their children, the state has rendered them obsolete as parents but necessary as economic support to the grand scheme.

We have to wonder if this Helena Democrat looks at his own children of roughly 7, 9 and 11, as human capital. We have to wonder if he sees them as investment opportunities. We have to wonder if he sees them as a resource for increased tax revenues. We have to wonder if he calculates the return on investment with regard to the cost of educating of his own children and what they will be giving back in the form of net gain to society, as opposed to the enrichment of their own life. We have to wonder if he considers how much money the state will get back for every dollar spent to turn them into “skilled workers” (read tax paying robots). To think that he is seeing children at the age of 4 years in these terms is chilling.

The Governor speaks of children who never have the opportunity to fulfill their potential, yet if his plan is that they fulfill his standardization of them, it is sure that they will never fulfill their own potential, but only his wish for their potential tax dollars. Do we have a charlatan sitting in our state’s highest office?

The truth is that the nanny state is replacing the parent and the family in the nourishing and education of our children, deliberately stifling the beauty and creativity of their minds to grow and learn, while at the same time saying that it is in the best interests of the common good. Plans are put forth but with no criteria.

There have been many who have warned of this intent to undermine the individual, and with it the family and the foundation of a free and productive society utilizing the education system. Our thought to parents is that they keep in mind that no one will ever love their children as they do, least of all the state.

“We’re not a fleet of homogenous robots that function best when somebody programs us…free people are not equal and equal people are not free.” – Lawrence Reed, President -Foundation for Economic Education

Co-Authored by Mary J McCracken and Lucinda Hardy

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