Friday, January 15, 2010

Rick's rejection of federal education money...

The Texas State Board of Education not surprisingly is backing Rick's decision to turn down 700 million in "free" money from the federal government (link). Excerpt follows...

The State Board of Education today added its voice to Texas’ outcry against an effort by states to develop common standards for math and English.

Earlier this week, Gov. Rick Perry announced that Texas would not compete for a federal education grant worth as much as $700 million for the state because the state refused to sign on to the common standards effort. Texas and Alaska are the only states who are not participating in the development process.

The board had been encouraging the state’s fight for months but formally joined the fray by unanaimously adopting a resolution that opposes “any effort to implement national standards and national tests.”

“Any attempt to impose a national curriculum and testing system is a likely precursor to a federal takeover of public schools,” according to the resolution, echoing recent statements of Perry and Education Commissioner Robert Scott.

The board is the body responsible for adopting curriculum standards that serve as the framework for textbooks and lessons in Texas classrooms.

“This is so, so important,” said Board Member Don McLeroy, R-Bryan. “It is one of the most important votes we’ve taken.”

The Startlegram also has some coverage of what went down (link). Excerpt follows...

AUSTIN — The State Board of Education adopted a resolution today stating that they are opposed to national standards and supports Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to not compete for $700 million in federal stimulus money.

Perry decided not to seek the federal funding earlier this week saying it "smacks of a federal takeover of our public schools" because the Education Department’s funding would force the state to adopt national education and testing standards.

The board’s resolution described Perry’s stand on national standards an effort "to ensure that Texas sovereignty over matters concerning public education in Texas is fully preserved."

The resolution passed after several board members voiced their support,includingDon McLeroy, of College Station, and Cynthia Dunbar, of Richmond. Dunbar said she wanted to commend the governor and State Education Commissioner Robert Scott on their "boldness" in refusing to sign on to national standards that hadn’t been written.

Board member Ken Mercer, of San Antonio, said: "I can’t believe any official ... throughout this state would ever say yes to something they haven’t seen yet, so I’m glad Texas took a stand."

Scott addressed the board, thanking them for their support. He agreed that signing on to unwritten standards would set a "dangerous precedent."

With the Education Week report coming out putting Texas in a very good light it makes a lot of sense to thumb our noses at the federal government... especially when the money would have meant spending far more money just to comply... that is coercion and Texas didn't need to play that game... Rick was right... and Kay was right to agree with him on this one...

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