Dr. John Barge, State Superintendent of Schools here in Georgia, has recently announced that he is running for Governor against incumbent governor, Nathan Deal. (You can go to the link above to read more details about Dr. Barge’s announcement and his views on Common Core which may prove to be a hot topic in the Republican Primary here in Georgia.) It looks like Dr. Barge is having increasing doubts about Common Core and the danger of federalizing public education. He says that teachers need time to teach. Isn’t this what MACE has been saying for years and years now? We agree with Dr. Barge on this point. In our opinion, Common Core is more like Common Crap, to put it mildly. Or, we could be more blunt and say “Same Shit,” but we will do “nice” and say, “Common Crap.”
Hey, hey…gonna be a showdown, a showdown! Governor Nathan Deal (L) versus State Superintendent John Barge (R). Deal’s been bullying Barge mainly because Dr. Barge does not goose-step to the demands of the U. S. Department of Education. Now, Dr. Barge is fighting back. Governor Deal seems to be a lap dog to U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan relative to how teachers ought to be treated in Georgia. Deal seems to have a tin ear to the concerns of teachers. He seems more concerned over his “[D]eal-making” with the Feds. Barge, however, seems willing to charge against the Feds and to call for local control of public education in Georgia as well as for more humane treatment of Georgia’s teachers. It will be an uphill battle for a challenger to beat an incumbent governor. But, it has happened before. Sonny beat ole Roy in 2002. The lines have been drawn in the political sand here in Georgia. Therefore, let the battles begin! Photo by Rome News-Tribune.
The push for Common Core is the adopted child of Bill and Melinda Gates. These billionaires, along with the Pearson group out of Great Britain, the largest publisher of textbooks, tests, testing materials, etc., in the world, gave millions upon millions to the National Governors Association (NGA) to legally “bribe” these governors to come out for a common core curriculum which could be used in all states in the union. A few years back, Pearson apparently realized that the American public educational scene (k-12 and undergraduate and graduate schools) was close to a trillion dollar industry. It is my understanding that Microsoft is already working on the apps for Common Core which will be sold to Pearson who in turn will sell them to the states and school systems. This whole Common Core imbroglio is about money, pure and simple. Bill Gates dumped about two billion dollars in his crusade for “small schools” (like the schools at Carver High and Therrell High in Atlanta). This mission has proven to be an academic flop. Unlike Carnegie and Ford and other philanthropists of the past, today’s Billionaires Club members (the Gateses, the Broads, the Waltons) apparently want to drive the educational agenda and dictate the terms. They apparently want to be the super superintendents!
There is a deafening silence from the mainstream media concerning these bully billionaires. These billionaires have thrown around so much money that we only hear a thunderous silence from the media, the universities, and even some unions like AFT. At MACE, we have been railing against these billionaires’ efforts to hijack public education for years now. Dr. Barge is right. Teachers do indeed just want to be left alone and allowed to teach. We have been saying this for years at MACE. In fact, we are about to publish a 300 page book concerning these issues. (You can watch the “sausage” being made at http://www.themacemanifesto.com.)
The MACE mantra has been this since the inception of MACE in 1995: “You cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions.” I just got off the phone with my sister, a retired First Grade teacher here in Georgia. She told me that she had just gotten through talking to a teacher who told her that they just didn’t have time to teach anymore. I applaud Dr. Barge for standing up for the children by standing up for the teachers!