Thursday, July 8, 2010

Avoiding the Public Scrutiny - Part 4

“A common colloquial expression in the English language, to buy a pig in a poke is to make a risky purchase without inspecting the item beforehand. The phrase can also be applied to accepting an idea or plan without a full understanding of its basis.”

- Wikipedia

This is the 4th and final blog on the “Avoiding the Public Scrutiny” series.

Yesterday I saw Spain beat Germany in futbol. It was my first World Cup game. Awesome! Then I gave the live stream of the California State Academic Content Standards Commission’s discussion on the Common Core Standards 20 minutes. They are going to make a recommendation on whether or not these standards should be adopted by the state. It wasn’t as action packed as the World Cup game.

A question came to mind. If California already submitted an application for Race to the Top with the commitment to implement the Common Core Standards – aren’t the good people on the commission wasting their time on what is a foregone conclusion?

The U.S Department of Education has $4.35 billion dollars in a competitive grant called Race to the Top. To receive it, states must apply for the grant and agree to the sweeping mandates it requires. Implementing the Common Core Standards was among them. In submitting its application, California committed to implementing the Common Core Standards the day before its final version was released. The standards commission is only now reviewing the Common Core Standards for adoption consideration. Does the expression buying a pig in a poke (bag) come to mind?

Of course, it was the U.S. Department of Education that set the deadline for the Race to the Top application. Does that mean that Arne Duncan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, didn’t read the Common Core Standards before making it a requirement for Race to the Top? There seems to be a lot of that going on in government these days.

Then, of course, there is the Adelanto Elementary School District. The Superintendent, Darin Brawley, and Board President, Lisa Marie Garcia, signed and submitted a binding no opted out Race to the Top memorandum of understanding agreement without prior board approval and public discussion.

[This paragraph was deleted because there is a board policy stating that if in the minority of any decision, they (board members) shall abide by and support the majority decision. It is my understanding, therefore, that no matter how dumb the official decision is - I'm not allowed to criticize it. The above statement is valid, however, because it is about the behavior of two individuals that committed the district to an action without a board decision.]

It just seems to me that a whole lot of people are accepting a plan without a full understanding of its basis.

Please visit me at Facebook – Carlos Mendoza

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