Where Have All the Caring Parents Gone?

7.28.10 – Donna Garner – I feel so sorry for the following 18 states and Washington, D. C. that have sold their souls to the federal government for a few pieces of silver.

Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

Today, the U. S. Department of Education announced the semi-finalists (Arne Duncan calls them “finalists”) for the Race to the Top federal funding that comes with hundreds of federal strings attached.

If these states are chosen as finalists in September, they will have “won the right” to hand their students over to the federal government, including its standards, its curriculum, its assessments, its database, and the future of every teacher based upon how well his students do on the federally produced assessments that are going to be subjectively scored. 


How would you like for your entire teaching career to be based upon assessments scored subjectively by an unknown scorer with an unknown agenda?  

I am appalled that the public has not yet figured out that this federal takeover of the public schools is as bad if not worse than the federal takeover of the healthcare system. 


Our children are our most important products.  How can people stand back and hand their children’s minds over to the federal government to indoctrinate them? 


Remember that the Common Core Standards at this point are only for Math and English, but coming on their heels will be Science and Social Studies.  Can you imagine what the standards/curriculum/assessments produced by the Obama administration will look like?


Of course, the Obama administration has tried to make it look as if the standards/curriculum/assessments are coming from the private sector; but the people chosen to write these things are tied together.  Behind them is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (with their billions of dollars), Achieve, Marc Tucker, and other close allies with a common agenda.  


Based upon my past experiences, I know how these “writing teams” operate and how controlled the final product actually is.


I beg of the parents in the 18 states and D. C. to tell your state education leaders that you do not want the federal government taking over your children’s public schools.   


*Peggy Littleton, who is on the Colorado State Board of Education, has scheduled a public hearing at the Colorado Department of Education Building from 7:30 – 9:15 A. M. on Monday, August 2.  A vote by phone of the Board members will be taken from 9:30 to 10:30 A. M. that morning.  They will be voting on whether or not they want Colorado to commit to teach the Common Core Standards.


Colorado parents, if you care about the future of your public school children, you will contact your Colorado State Board of Education members at state.board@cde.state.co.us and send a copy to PeggyCOStateBOE@msn.com


Secondly, you will be at the Aug. 2 meeting to tell the Board, along with Peggy, that you want Colorado to be in control of what is taught to its public school students.


It is not too late for Colorado (and the other 18 semi-finalist states plus D. C.) to refuse to take the “30 pieces of silver” from the federal government.  


If Texas had applied and won funding for Race to the Top, the amount would have been about $75 per student/per year; and that amount is similar for the other states also.     


Is it really worth giving up all control over the education of our public school children for such a paltry sum?   


Donna Garner




Letter from U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to Governors, dated 7.27.10  






Letter to Governors Regarding Phase 2 of Race to the Top Competition Finalists
July 27, 2010

Dear Governor:

Thank you for your vision and commitment to improving educational outcomes for children. Because of your leadership, the Race to the Top program has been a catalyst for education reform across the country. This historic program has prompted states to think deeply about how to improve their education system. Through the application process, stakeholders across America worked together to identify what is working and what is not working, and developed bold and creative plans that give us great hope for the future of America.

Today I am announcing the finalists for Phase 2 of the Race to the Top competition. The Department received 36 applications for Phase 2 of Race to the Top. Each application underwent a comprehensive and rigorous review by an expert panel of independent reviewers, and we have selected the following finalists: Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

To the finalists, I congratulate you. The Race to the Top team will follow up shortly with further details regarding the finalist presentation that your team will make during the week of August 9. The purpose of the finalist presentation will not be to offer states the opportunity to provide new material but to clarify the material already provided to the Department and give you a chance to respond to questions from reviewers.

To others who applied, I applaud you for doing so and encourage you to continue your work on meaningful education reform. The Department pledges to support you and your state in this work by sharing the lessons learned and the materials developed through Race to the Top, and by including you in relevant collaborative learning communities. In addition, as you are aware, President Obama has proposed $1.35 billion for Race to the Top in his fiscal year 2011 budget; we hope to continue this program and its support of education reform across the country.

We will send your application’s scores and reviewer comments at the conclusion of the Phase 2 competition. While only the strongest proposals will receive Race to the Top funds, each state that applied is already a winner, given the hard work and collaboration required to develop each proposal. As we move forward, we know that real and meaningful change in public education starts with hard work and high expectations. Through your application for Race to the Top, you have begun that hard work. You are eliminating barriers to reform, aligning federal funds to support comprehensive state reform plans, developing new partnerships, and engaging in candid, forward-thinking conversations with a broad group of stakeholders about improving education. All of this hard work will lay the foundation for transformational change in our education system, help secure our role in the global economy, and ensure that our children share fully in the blessings of a strong and growing America.

If you have any questions, please have your staff contact racetothetop@ed.gov or 202-205-3775. Thanks again for your hard work to date and thank you in advance for the work ahead.


Arne Duncan


  1. Bruce Deitrick Price

    Congratulations, Donna. What a great piece.

    I put a related essay on web called "Liberal Media Pimp for Education Establishment." Sometimes I worry I'm getting too cynical, but then you confirmed my worst suspicions.

    I experience all this at the local level (Norfolk) where our newspaper chides the governor for not dancing when the feds whistle. It's embarrassing how the media protect Big Ed. Now I'm hoping all the silly states get some brains.

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July 27th, 2010

Donna Garner EducationNews Policy Commentator

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