Tag Archives: Arne Duncan

Study finds Americans really are more stupid than the average human

For some time now and especially the last couple of days, FOTM has sounded the alarm on the abysmal ignorance and stupidity of Americans. See:

Now there’s a study showing American adults are dumber than the international average.


Dumb_And_DumberThe Associated Press reports, Oct. 8, 2013, that although it’s long been known that America’s school kids haven’t measured well compared with international peers, a new study shows that American adults don’t either.

In math, reading and problem-solving using technology – all skills considered critical for global competitiveness and economic strength – American adults scored below the international average on a global test, according to results released Tuesday.

Adults in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland and multiple other countries scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test. Beyond basic reading and math, respondents were tested on activities such as calculating mileage reimbursement due to a salesman, sorting email and comparing food expiration dates on grocery store tags.

Not only did Americans score poorly compared to many international competitors, the findings reinforced just how large the gap is between the nation’s high- and low-skilled workers and how hard it is to move ahead when your parents haven’t.

In both reading and math, for example, those with college-educated parents did better than those whose parents did not complete high school.

The study, called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, found that it was easier on average to overcome this and other barriers to literacy overseas than in the United States. Respondents in the study were selected as part of a nationally represented sample.

Researchers tested about 166,000 people ages 16 to 65 in more than 20 countries and subnational regions. The test was developed and released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is made up of mostly industrialized member countries. The Education Department’s Center for Education Statistics participated. (Note: The website of CES is closed due to the supposed government shutdown, but not the website of Michelle Obama’s pet project, Let’s Move.)

The findings were equally grim for many European countries – Italy and Spain, among the hardest hit by the recession and debt crisis, ranked at the bottom across generations. Unemployment is well over 25% in Spain and over 12% in Italy. Spain has drastically cut education spending, drawing student street protests.

But in the northern European countries that have fared better, the picture was brighter – and the study credits continuing education. In Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands, more than 60% of adults took part in either job training or continuing education. In Italy, by contrast, the rate was half that.

As the American economy sputters along and many people live paycheck-to-paycheck, economists say a highly-skilled workforce is key to economic recovery. The median hourly wage of workers scoring on the highest level in literacy on the test is more than 60% higher than for workers scoring at the lowest level, and those with low literacy skills were more than twice as likely to be unemployed.

“It’s not just the kids who require more and more preparation to get access to the economy, it’s more and more the adults don’t have the skills to stay in it,” said Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Students leaving high school without certain basic skills aren’t obtaining them later on the job or in an education program. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement America needs to find ways to reach more adults to upgrade their skills. Otherwise, he said, “no matter how hard they work, these adults will be stuck, unable to support their families and contribute fully to our country.”

Among the other findings:

  • Japan, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Flanders-Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, and Korea all scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test.
  • The average scores in literacy range from 250 in Italy to 296 in Japan. The US average score was 270. (500 was the highest score in all three areas.) Average scores in 12 countries were higher than the average US score.
  • The average scores in math range from 246 in Spain to 288 in Japan. The US average score was 253, below 18 other countries.
  • The average scores on problem solving in technology-rich environments ranged from 275 in Poland to 294 in Japan. The US average score was 277, below 14 other countries. The top five scores in the areas were from Japan, Finland, Australia, Sweden and Norway, while the US score was on par with England, Estonia, Ireland and Poland. In nearly all countries, at least 10% of adults lacked the most basic of computer skills such as using a mouse.
  • Japanese and Dutch adults who were ages 25 to 34 and only completed high school easily outperformed Italian or Spanish university graduates of the same age.
  • In England, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the United States, social background has a big impact on literacy skills, meaning the children of parents with low levels of education have lower reading skills.
  • America’s school kids have historically scored low on international assessment tests compared to other countries, which is often blamed on the diversity of the population and the high number of immigrants. Also, achievement tests have long shown that a large chunk of the US student population lacks basic reading and math skills – most pronounced among low-income and minority students.

The United States will have a tough time catching up because money at the state and local level, a major source of education funding, has been slashed in recent years, said Jacob Kirkegaard, an economist with the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “There is a race between man and machine here. The question here is always: Are you a worker for whom technology makes it possible to do a better job or are you a worker that the technology can replace?”  For those without the most basic skills, the answer will be merciless and has the potential to extend into future generations. Learning is highly correlated with parents’ education level. “If you want to avoid having an underclass – a large group of people who are basically unemployable – this educational system is absolutely key,” Kirkegaard said.

Dolores Perin, professor of psychology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, said the report provides a “good basis for an argument there should be more resources to support adults with low literacy.” Adults can learn new skills at any age and there are adult-geared programs around the country. But the challenge is ensuring the programs have quality teaching and that adults regularly attend classes. “If you find reading and writing hard, you’ve been working hard all day at two jobs, you’ve got a young child, are you actually going to go to class? It’s challenging,” Perin said.

Some economists say that large skills gap in the United States could matter even more in the future. America’s economic competitors like China and India are simply larger than competitors of the past like Japan.

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Brainwashing – Part 2


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Arne Duncan – Get 'Em While They're Young

The Department of Education has announced plans to dedicate $133 million to in state comprehensive early education reform.  Can’t have the little ones building sand castles and playing house.  No, no, no.  That just won’t do.  What you need are options, “high quality” options, designed to cover your children from birth to five years of age!!!!
The language of the announcement  is pretty straightforward, although I have enhanced and emphasized a few things.  Everything in bold and purple is mine.  You may need Tums or Pepto Bismol if you think about what they intend.
“The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge has demonstrated the dedication among states and early education and child development experts to raise the bar on early learning indoctrination,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Continuing to support states with 2012 funding will help build on the momentum from the 2011 competition, and engage more states in furthering their critical work to transition effective early learning programs indoctrination into systems of excellence.”
In 2011, 35 States, D.C. and Puerto Rico applied to Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge, creating plans that increase access to high-quality programs  indoctrination for children from low-income families, and provide more children from birth to age 5 with a strong foundation needed to succeed in school and beyond. In December 2011, nine states were awarded grants-California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington. 
“What happens in early childhood sets the stage for everything that follows in life,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “These new Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grants will help some of our youngest citizens thrive in school, be successful through adolescence and grow into healthy, successful compliant adults.” [ed.gov]
Eric Scheiner reporting for CNS

CNSNews.com asked Duncan, “Do you think it’s better to have tax programs — when you look at the money that’s being spent here — or other initiatives to help a parent stay at home with a child, or do you think it’s better to have a child entered in one of these pre-kindergarten programs?”
“It’s really a personal choice for families, Duncan replied. “My challenge is, there are a lot of families, like at this school right here — a 400-person waiting list, the parents asking for those opportunities and they’re not available. So, parents want to keep their children at home or want to send them to school – I just want more high quality options available.
“If we’re serious about closing achievement gaps and leveling the playing field I think the best thing we can do is have our children enter our kindergarten at 5 ready to learn and ready to read and so expanding access in disadvantaged communities where families are looking for it. I think its critically important work for our country to do. That’s why we’re continuing to invest year after year,” Duncan continued.
CNSNews.com followed up, “But would you support tax breaks as well, for parents that want to stay home with their children?”
“It’s something we can look at, but again we just need a lot more access to high quality programs. That’s what we’re focused on.”
Click here to see slimy Duncan respond to CNS interviewer.

As a home school, we never wanted a tax break, because that would mean inevitable government intrusion.  But it should be clear to anyone reading the DOE document, that the goal is not to the true benefit of the traditional family.  By making it easier and easier to turn our children over to them at a younger and younger age, it will ultimately result in something like a future shock novel or movie.  Infants will become  global citizens, not your children.



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Atlanta to Cheating Teachers/Principals: Resign or be Fired!

Remember the news in early July that for the past 10 years, 80% (or 44 out of 56) of the public schools in Atlanta had cheated on tests? More shocking still is the fact that the cheating wasn’t done by students, but by 178 principals and teachers.
Dozens of so-called educators erased wrong student answers on state standardized tests, and inserted the right ones. In all, investigators accused 38 principals of cheating and said 82 of the 178 educators they identified as part of the scandal had confessed.
Now comes good news.
Two of the Atlanta public schools “educators” had been forced to leave their jobs. 176 others also will be held accountable.
Vivian Kuo reports for CNN, July 18, 2011, that Keith Bromery, director of media relations for Atlanta’s public school system, said that the two educators stepped down after being issued an ultimatum to quit or be fired. One resigned in person and another went into retirement.
The two were among 178 Atlanta Public Schools employees, including 38 principals, whose jobs are on the line after allegedly being involved in a widespread standardized-test cheating scandal that has caught the attention of federal officials. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “We’ve been in conversation with the inspector general about these cheating scandals and I believe they are looking at them.”
The Department of Education has the power to withhold or add preconditions on federal funding provided to states if it believes efforts to rectify corruption aren’t enough. So far, no federal investigation of Atlanta Public Schools has been launched, but officials say they are weighing several options to support state-led measures to protect against cheating.
Bromery said the 178 educators implicated have been given notice to resign or face termination proceedings. They can resign in person or online and must turn in their keys, access badges and other materials provided to them as employees of the schools.
Already, four area superintendents and a school principal have been replaced. The school board has also mandated ethics training for employees and provide remedial help to perhaps thousands of Atlanta Public Schools students who may have improperly advanced because of the cheating.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said prosecutors will decide whether to bring criminal charges against those involved. The state investigation confirmed widespread cheating in city schools dating as far back as 2001, and said 82 employees acknowledged involvement. The educators implicated were either directly involved in erasing wrong answers on a standardized test, or they knew or should have known what was going on.
Six principals declined to answer investigators’ questions and invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, Deal said.

Beverly Hall (photo: AJC)

Hold this woman accountable! Beverly Hall was Atlanta’s schools superintendent during the cheating.

The state’s report indicated there was a climate of cheating and a performance-at-all-costs atmosphere during the tenure of previous Superintendent Beverly Hall. Hall has denied the allegation.
The cheating was brought to light after the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported about unusual test-score gains at some schools. Investigators discovered a pattern of incorrect test answers being erased and replaced with correct answers.
UPDATE (Aug. 28, 2012):
One of the cheaters, former 5th grade math teacher Shayla Smith, was handed a “guilty” verdict by a tribunal today after just one hour of deliberation. Reportedly, Smith told another teacher that she gave students answers to a test they were taking because she thought them to be “dumb as hell.”

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Agenda 21- Education from UNESCO – The Insect Society

US Secretary of Education acknowledges UNESCO’S 65-year input in our education system. ( Remember the pre-UN days when education was based on tradition knowledge-based academics?) ~LTG


Jed Brown, the champion of traditional knowledge-based curricum and teaching methods in Washington State, summed up the UNESCO-based system in this 1995 video clip:


More clips from The People vs The Educational Confederacy here.  Jed Brown died of cancer in September, 2009.  His articles and more about his fight to restore academics to public education is at https://jedbrown-traditionaleducator.blogspot.com/

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Will Detroit Become the Next Battle?

Detriot teachers rally to save their jobs

Michigan orders DPS to make huge cuts
Jennifer Chambers / The Detroit News
Via Detroit News,  swift and severe changes are coming to Detroit Public Schools. State education officials have ordered Robert Bobb, the District’s Emergency Financial Planner, to immediately implement a financial restructuring plan that balances the district’s books by closing half of its schools, swelling high school class sizes to 60 students and consolidating operations.  In a letter, Mike Flanagan, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, said the Michigan Department of Education gave preliminary approval to Bobb’s plan to bring the 74,000-student district out of its financial emergency. As a condition of approval, Flanagan said Bobb cannot declare the district in bankruptcy during the remainder of his contract.

Bobb, appointed emergency financial manager in March 2009, filed his deficit elimination plan with the state in January, saying it would wipe out the district’s $327 million deficit by 2014.  Bobb confirmed he is working to implement the plan that will shrink the district to 72 schools for a projected 58,570 students in 2014.
State Rep. Paul Scott, R-Grand Blanc, said, “I don’t feel the taxpayers of Michigan are willing to become liable for that money with all the structural and institutional problems that exist.  We need a long-term solution for public schools…we just don’t have the solution right now.”
Back in 2009, the DPS cut 1,700 employees.  This was necessary to deal with a projected $408 million shortfall. Of course, the Socialist Equality Party opposed the school closures. They stated, “Detroit—already devastated by decades of spending cuts and job destruction—is being turned into an economic wasteland. Bobb, who is paid some $260,000 a year for his services, is firing principals if he determines they will be insufficiently aggressive in carrying out his right-wing demands. This past week, Obama’s education secretary, Arne Duncan, visited Detroit to demand ‘an absolutely fundamental overhaul’ in the education system, by which he means: closing schools, laying off teachers and staff, and implementing a series of right-wing measures previously demanded by the Bush administration. These include the expansion of charter schools, increased testing, and the introduction of merit pay for teachers. If we are to defend our communities and our livelihoods, workers must strike back through class struggle, including demonstrations, occupations, and strikes.”

The Socialist Equality Party also stated, “To fight for its interests, including the defense and expansion of public education, workers throughout the city, across the country and around the world must unite on the basis of their independent class interests.”
Notice how it’s all for the children, I mean class interests.  Both Wisconsin and Detroit (as well as many other districts across the US) need a major financial overhaul to be sustainable in the long run. I pray Governor Walker can lead the fight to help change the system throughout the Country.  Otherwise, we are bound to continue clashing and living beyond our means.

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