Laurie Rogers: Public Education’s Culture of Power

by Laurie H. Rogers

“Culture of Power”: That’s what a parent recently called the prevailing attitude in the local school district. It’s an apt description. Power is what people in public education know, and power is what they crave. In any culture of power, dissenters are seen as the problem and dealt with accordingly.

I’m privileged to know some teachers and staff members who care deeply about the children and who work hard to do what’s best for them. But there are many, many others whose interests begin and end with themselves and with their own economic/political/social agenda. Conversing with these self-interested people in a reasonable, intelligent way is impossible, a fruitless exercise. They want; they don’t want. It’s all they can see. Their logic is infantile and their perspective constricted and unyielding. With thin skins and fragile egos, it doesn’t take much for them to start showing teeth and claws.

Public education has been infiltrated by a willfully ignorant, bureaucratic, obscenely expensive, narcissistic, dictatorial mob. The Edu Mob is an enterprise concerned with enriching, maintaining and expanding itself – not with accountability, responsibility or transparency. Derelict in its duty to the children and morally bankrupt, the Edu Mob blames others, attacks dissenters, and finds creative ways to get more money (such as filing lawsuits; trading private student information for grants and other payments; and training children to support the enterprise without question).

This video from Utah – just 8 ½ minutes – shows socio-emotional indoctrination in textbooks that claim to be aligned to the Common Core. If you click on no other link in my article, please click on this one. With these books, small children will learn to use inflammatory, antagonistic language to get what they want. These books actively work to develop negative feelings in the children for their parents.

Meanwhile, those in the Edu Mob tend to see what’s academically good for the children as bad, and what’s academically bad as good. The harder we argue for what’s actually good, the less successful we are. It took me years to see it and believe it. The line they draw is clear; we’re either “in” or “out,” and we advocates are out. They see our focus on the children’s academics as a threat to the Edu Mob enterprise. When you read through the links below, you’ll understand why I call these people what I do.

Reading the news, and seeing what’s coming from the feds and the now-rather-disturbing Bill Gates, I see the once-noble field of public education as deathly ill – infected with myriad perverted missions and corrupted tactics. Children are no longer vulnerable beings to be protected; they’re now vehicles for obtaining money and power. Involved parents are no longer the first, best educators whose wishes are respected; they’re now annoying and irrelevant, just wallets to be tolerated until they start questioning things, whereupon they’re useful for taking the blame.

The sad fact is this: The Edu Mob sees everything that must be done to save public education as bad.

Still, the truth can be told, and there is value in that. Outing the Edu Mob can change public perception, and that can affect everything. Information is power. Providing information to the people helps return power to the people, where it rightfully belongs. (This is exactly why the Edu Mob works so hard, using our money, to keep it from happening.)

These are strong words, I know, but I arrived here the hard way. I’ve often said, “Parents should see what I see every day; then they’d know.” The links below show you a glimpse of what I’ve seen – over just a few months – of the culture of power, predation and selfishness in America’s education system. The issue in these articles isn’t money or academics; it’s power — over the children, over parents, and over the future of this country.

We aren’t losing control of America’s classrooms; we’ve already lost it. Here is just one place where it all leads: Last December, a California university student reportedly was suspended after asking college professors questions about a poem that was published in the university’s student newspaper. That poem began: “America the land robbed by the white savage; the land of the biggest genocide; the home of intolerance; the place where dreams come to die; the place of greed and slavery …”

We can’t ever persuade those in the Edu Mob that their focus is misplaced, that the money is misspent, or that they’re failing the children and endangering the country. They’re getting what they want. What we can do is tell our communities what’s going on, we can save our own children and grandchildren, and we might also be able to save someone else’s child.

Read through the links below. Feel angry about what you read. Feel scared for the country and for the children. If you haven’t already done so, talk to legislators, vote for better board directors, write letters to the editor, inform others, and volunteer to tutor a child.

Do what you can. Do it today.

[Note: If you find any broken links in this article, please let me know at wlroge@comcast.net.]

June 2013: A Maryland middle school student was suspended for 10 days for saying the word “gun” on a school bus. A deputy reportedly visited the boy’s home; threatened the boy’s father with his son’s permanent suspension if he didn’t fill out a questionnaire; and began a search of the home.

May 2013: Florida schools conducted iris scans on children, without the knowledge or consent of parents. After receiving complaints, the district said all collected data was destroyed. (Uh, huh.)

May 2013:  An Illinois high-school teacher was reprimanded for reminding students that they have a legal right to avoid self-incrimination.

May 2013: A Milwaukee school planned a cross-dressing day, where little girls were to dress as boys, and little boys were to dress as girls.

May 2013: A 5-year-old in Maryland, who brought a toy cap gun onto a bus, was reportedly interrogated by school officials until he wet his pants, and then he was suspended for 10 days.

May 2013: A 6-year-old in Massachusetts was given detention and made to apologize for bringing a tiny toy gun (slightly larger than a quarter) onto a bus.

May 2013: In Maryland, Georgia, Maine and other states – laws were proposed or passed allowing self-identifying transgender males – or all males – to use bathrooms and showers for girls or women.

May 2013: A North Carolina high school student forgot his skeet gun in his truck. Not wanting to be late for class, he called his mother and asked her to pick up the gun. He was overheard, arrested, and charged with a felony. (An administrator who previously made a similar error was charged with a misdemeanor; reports indicate that the law doesn’t treat administrators and students the same way.)

May 2013: A Massachusetts student was suspended for bringing a butter knife to school so she could cut her pear.

May 2013: A Maryland 7-year-old was suspended for nibbling a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun.

May 2013: The Florida Virtual School reportedly teaches students that terrorists join groups to kill in the name of religion because of their low-self-esteem and a need to belong. A school official was quoted as saying the lesson is based on Common Core State Standards and cannot be changed.

May 2013: Commentary: Various conservative students struggle to maintain their right to free speech.

April 2013: A Wisconsin school was designated a “Mix-It-Up Model.” In one activity, students were to help reduce bias by discussing the difference between natural and drug-induced highs.

April 2013: A New York middle school reportedly told girls to ask other girls for a kiss, and boys to decide which girls look like “sluts.” (In an email to a reporter, the district superintendent complained about the news coverage but did not refute these specific claims.)

April 2013: Atlanta educators were indicted in a cheating scandal.

March 2013: Glenn Beck exposed CSCOPE, a controversial education program in Texas. According to Beck’s guest panel, the CSCOPE program is anti-American, anti-Christian, politically biased, and historically inaccurate. Teachers reportedly were to sign anti-disclosure contracts and not reveal lesson plans to parents. Prompted by a photo of students wearing burqas – without parental knowledge or consent – Texas legislators debated removing CSCOPE from schools. Incredibly, it isn’t gone yet.

March 2013: A Massachusetts principal reportedly said an “honors night” could be “devastating” to other students. He canceled it in favor of a “more-inclusive” assembly.

March 2013: New York and other states compile private student information and data to give to companies. The $100 million database was reportedly funded “primarily” by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Officials say student data is “protected” by FERPA. (Perhaps the new definition of “protected” is: “We’re marketing your private information without telling you.”)

March 2013: New York school videos – reportedly based on the Common Core – favor the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights over the U.S. Constitution.

March 2013: A Texas school test said 9/11 happened because of America’s actions in the world. A Texas school worksheet on the Bill of Rights lists food and medicine as “rights.”

March 2013: Georgia teachers openly advocate in their classroom for illegal immigrants.  Students who oppose this political agenda are challenged to face their undocumented classmates.

March 2013: Commentary: Rotten to the Core: The feds’ invasive student tracking database.

February 2013: A Houston school put on an assembly that sung the praises of Barack Obama.

February 2013: A Texas curriculum told students to design a flag for a “new socialist nation” and to “use symbolism to represent aspects of socialism/communism” on their new flag.

February 2013: A Colorado school offered extra tutoring to students … unless they’re white.

January 2013: A Philadelphia 5th grader was reportedly scolded,  searched in front of her class, and threatened with arrest – after pulling out a paper her grandfather had shaped like a gun.

January 2013: A Pennsylvania kindergartner was suspended for 10 days and labeled a terroristic threat after playfully telling a classmate she would shoot her with her “Hello Kitty” bubble gun. The kindergartner’s friend was reportedly listed as being the “victim” of the incident.

January 2013: A high school teacher stomped on the American flag in class and reportedly said the flag is just a piece of cloth that doesn’t mean anything. In May, the teacher received an $85,000 settlement.

January 2013: A Texas student refused to wear a GPS tracking badge. That student was expelled. She sued the district, but she lost the court case.

January 2013: A Wisconsin school reportedly taught in a “white privilege class” that white people are oppressors.

December 2012: The Florida State Board of Education planned to set racially based academic goals for students. This plan was met with outrage from Hispanic and black citizens.

October 2012: Minnesota schools reportedly closed for a few days so teachers could play with dolls, talk about the upcoming election, and learn how to teach about Islam to students.

October 2012: A Philadelphia student wearing a Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan T-shirt was reportedly told to leave her classroom.  The student said the teacher likened wearing that shirt to wearing a KKK shirt.

October 2012: Florida schools set up voter registration drives in schools that reportedly advocated solely for Democrats and provided pro-Barack Obama commentary.

June 2012: Bill Gates is funding wrist sensors to measure and collect data on children’s physical reactions in the classroom. “Gates officials” reportedly said they hope the sensors will become a “common classroom tool.”

I know. It’s terribly grim out there. I hope you’re motivated now to do what you can to jerk a knot in the Edu Mob’s chain. If we don’t work together on this, then this country and our children really have lost it all.

Laurie H. Rogers has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and a master’s in interpersonal communication, emphasizing the evaluation of argumentation and logic. In 2001, she founded Safer Child, Inc., a nonprofit child advocacy information resource. In 2007, she narrowed her advocacy to public education, and in 2010, she founded Focus on the Square™, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving American K-12 education.

Laurie is the author of the blog “Betrayed,” located at http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com/. Her book Betrayed: How the Education Establishment Has Betrayed America and What You Can Do about It (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2011) is now available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Besides serving on the executive committee for Where’s the Math?, Laurie has a background in finance, journalism and child advocacy. She has volunteered in schools – tutoring children in literacy and math, and teaching chess, argumentation and knitting. She lives in Spokane with her husband, daughter and two cats.

Contact Laurie Rogers at wlroge@comcast.net.

Laurie Rogers
Laurie is the author of the blog “Betrayed,” located at http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com/. Her book Betrayed: How the Education Establishment Has Betrayed America and What You Can Do about It (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2011) is now available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She and colleagues in Spokane, WA, have begun a new informational Web site called Partnership for Kids, located at http://partnershipforkids.org/ Besides serving on the executive committee for Where’s the Math?, Laurie has a background in finance, journalism and child advocacy. She has volunteered in schools – tutoring children in literacy and math, and teaching chess, argumentation and knitting. She lives in Spokane with her husband, daughter and two cats. Contact Laurie Rogers at wlroge@comcast.net.