Y’all might want to look at that…

Y’all might want to look at that…

Recently this column addressed the actions of Senator David Vitter (R) Louisiana and his having “turned coat” from his prior position on the adoption of Common Core Standards as the guiding principle for public school education in Louisiana. Vitter is running for Governor. My impression hasn’t changed and I find it difficult to understand why a man who once presented himself to me conservatives as a champion of the middle-class has become more a mouthpiece for an untested, apparently invalid program suggestive of government intrusion into the conduct of education as it concerns our children.

It bothers me.

First I want to say Common Core is no more than the latest experiment in progressive education being championed by elitist academicians with personal and professional reputations riding on the forced implementation of this program. Remember “No Child Left Behind and how it morphed into “The Children They Drive Away”? The “test subjects” are our children. These “test subjects” will be used to quantify the results of the experiment and validate not so much the propriety of the experiment as the reputations of people who DO NOT teach but rather study the process of education. There’s NEVER been an Alpha or Beta Test.

An ALPHA test is Primary simulated or actual operational testing by potential users/customers or an independent test team at the developers’ site. Alpha testing is often employed as a form of internal acceptance testing, before the software goes to beta testing. Wikipedia 2014

Beta testing is Second level, external pilot-testing of a product before commercial quantity production. At the beta test stage, the product has already passed through the first-level, internal pilot-test (alpha test) and glaring defects have been removed. Business dictionary .com

Nobody has presented any results of Alpha or Beta testing. It’s always been a matter of “Take this (almost like a medicine). We believe this will be the panacea solving all of our educational woes.” They don’t mention what the standards are, what country they are benchmarked against or how successful implementation has been under dynamic versus theoretical testing. The proponents of this program, including Vitter, don’t offer answers to parents’ questions; they challenge the question with a question. Most normally the question is: “What about the Standards do you find objectionable?”

How do you object to a standard never offered for examination and testing? How do you contest what is nebulous at best and opaque at worst when asked for clarity and a definition of what’s to be taught? Where did elected officials get this damned impression we, the people must justify anything to them, our “hired hands” and representatives? Where does Vitter come from with this attitude of “you have to argue before me why I shouldn’t just FORCE this program on you and you MUST be happy with it?”

That last question implies a real threat. That threat resides in the idea of politician hired with the assent of his constituency and employed as a representative of that constituency to step beyond the confines of his employment and place himself above, beyond, over and restrictively controlling that constituency. That’s NOT what Vitter will accomplish if many have their way. Protests are growing nationally and in this state against the implementation of Common Core. It doesn’t matter if there are political rivals moving against this program. The fact remains there are people at the grassroots level who oppose greater governmental interference in local education issues. The argument exists this is not a federal incentive.

That’s only partially the truth. Common Core is a program authored and funded by private industry. There are no government funds used to promote this program. But it is fact Federal Funds will be refused to districts and states not capitulating to the heavy-handed demands of Bill Gates and his colleagues thinking themselves better aware what YOU and YOUR CHILDREN need and should want. If states and locales refuse Common Core standards they can have their regularly applied for and produced Federal grants and loans rejected.

Bill Gates is a billionaire many feel is the next coming of Newton’s resurrection. He’s thought to be brilliant. He’s a guy dropped out of college, started a company and bullied his employees to beg, borrow and reverse engineer IBM and Apple’s technological advances and co-opted them into Microsoft. This doesn’t make him a genius. It makes him an astute businessman who marketed his product to the pinnacle it’s reached at this point.
The point nobody makes is the commercial aspect this program brings to the fore. Common Core will require the mass purchase and distribution of computers to students. Bill Gates is no longer sitting as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, but he does own prodigious amounts of stock in the company. Microsoft produces programming for Apple to make Apple hardware compatible with IBM/ Microsoft platforms. Common Core will require new textbooks averaging a price of over $100 per copy/per subject.

This now becomes a matter of profit and loss for the academicians risking their reputations and their investments portfolios as they push this boondoggle on the people. There are literally BILLIONS of dollars at stake. And that’s where I return to Vitter.

What motivates a man to change his mind to a point of being diametrically opposed to an issue he once found abhorrent? Is it merely politics? Is it a matter of knowing where to place investment dollars because of an increased awareness of future stock market trends? Is it a matter of pandering to elements of “special interest” to garner greater and larger campaign contributions? I know if I was privy to and aware of information concerning the path of future investments I’d make sure I was available for investment could make me wealthier than Croesus. I know if I was running for office, I’d need huge amounts of money to remain competitive throughout a campaign. Am I saying Vitter is “insider trading”? No. But it is an intriguing question isn’t it.

Vitter is described by people in the know as being one of the most astute and capable politicians since Bill Clinton. That’s not meant as a compliment. Irrespective of the personal moral peccadillos alleged, the presentation and management of duplicity, the apparent lack of integrity and constancy exhibited in inconsistency and the possibly personal self-service, egotism and narcissism are becoming more and more apparent.
Y’all might want to take a look at that.

Thanks for listening

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