The State of the Dis-Union:
Preparing World Citizens
by Mary Grabar
First published at FrontPageMag.com on January 30, 2014 and reprinted with permission.
There were many who had reason to be outraged by President Obama’s State of the Union address: the military whose funding has been cut, and who have been besmirched as emotionally unstable while they are forced to be sitting ducks in battle and then face the potentiality that the administration will abandon what others had died for, like Fallujah; the millions in the middle class whose health insurance has been dropped or whose premiums have doubled and who are losing jobs to illegal aliens and are insulted by the idea that a job that pays $10.10 is something to aspire to.
But I want to focus on Obama’s continued efforts to re-educate America, to re-educate her people so that they become shriveling dependents that long for a leader who will unilaterally make decisions for the masses.
Only such a people could believe Obama’s claim of having “a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class.”
Only a well-educated, independent-thinking populace could feel the chill of words regarding “congressional action.” Conflating America with himself, Obama said, “America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Once again, there was discussion of government job-training programs. (Has anyone actually gotten a job as a result?) To prepare “tomorrow’s workforce” (and that’s all it is: a workforce, not an educated citizenry), we must guarantee “every child access to a world-class education.”
Translation: indoctrination into world citizenship.
Obama referred to one “Estiven Rodriguez,” who “couldn’t speak a word of English when he moved to New York City at age nine.” Apparently, Rodriguez “led a march of his classmates — through a crowd of cheering parents and neighbors — from their high school to the post office, where they mailed off their college applications. And this son of a factory worker just found out he’s going to college this fall.” Obama referred to the army of tutors and teachers that helped him, but other immigrants have done far more with only night classes while often working two or three jobs.
Then, said Obama, “Five years ago, we set out to change the odds for all our kids. We worked with lenders to reform student loans, and today, more young people are earning college degrees than ever before.”
There is a reason why this government wants to monopolize student loans to produce more “peace and environmental justice studies” graduates: Democrat voters.
Obama invoked the misleadingly named “Race to the Top” contest (really a race for Stimulus funds attached to federal education standards called Common Core). He claimed, it “has helped states raise expectations and performance.” He continued:
Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C. are making big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy — problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math. Some of this change is hard. It requires everything from more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test. But it’s worth it — and it’s working.
Notice how he didn’t reference Common Core, now dubbed Obamacore. After test scores plunged and mass confusion ensued, even the New York National Education Association teachers union affiliate came around to opposing Common Core. “Problem solving” and “critical thinking” are hallmarks of progressive educators, like Linda Darling-Hammond, close pal of [terrorist] Bill Ayers, who has been in charge of designing one of the two Common Core national tests. And what, exactly, is wrong with filling in a bubble? It means the test-taker has to know something and the grader can’t give extra points for correct attitudes.
What, also, is the “new economy”? Did we not need science, technology, engineering, and math in the old, twentieth-century economy?
By stating, “It requires more challenging curriculums,” Obama admitted what Common Core proponents deny: it does change the curriculum. These are curriculums that eliminate most history, except that which advances the U.S. as racist, sexist, homophobic, imperialistic, etc.
The reference to “New ways to measure how well our kids think” is not reassuring when the Department of Education promotes the idea that “educational strengths” include “social competence” and “ethnic awareness.”
The new standards do not involve knowing about the country’s founding or the Constitution. Such students might understand this pre-speech message from Jon Carson of Organizing for Action:
Friend — Tonight, President Obama made sure everyone knows: He’s not waiting for Congress. He’s taking action now, and he’s going to explore every method in his power to restore real opportunity for all Americans.
Then Carson asks for a $5 donation.
But kindergarten is not early enough. Said Obama, “The problem is we’re still not reaching enough kids, and we’re not reaching them in time. That has to change.”
He cited “research” to justify making “high-quality pre-K available to every four year-old”: “Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education.” Funny, how they always say “research,” but not which research or what the research actually says about government-funded preschool.
Nonetheless, “As a parent, as well as a President, I repeat that request tonight.”
What if Congress doesn’t snap to and fulfill his “request”? Well, Obama has friends: “And as Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’m going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K they need.”
Such “coalitions” must ensure that Obama fulfills his promises: “Last year, I also pledged to connect 99% of our students to high-speed broadband over the next four years. Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we’ve got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and twenty million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.”
Of course, Microsoft is in the “coalition” of “business leaders and philanthropists.” The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the biggest funder of Common Core; all tests must be taken online. The other companies surely appreciate the business, too.
Obama’s Department of Education is redesigning high schools: “We’re working to redesign high schools and partner them with colleges and employers that offer the real-world education and hands-on training that can lead directly to a job and career.” It seems all bases for government control are being covered. Oh, and “real-world education”? It means being trained for a job — only.
The feds have not only taken over financing, but they now want to rate colleges. But this is how Obama put it: “We’re shaking up our system of higher education to give parents more information, and colleges more incentives to offer better value, so that no middle-class kid is priced out of a college education.”
The Education Department is appealing to the youth vote by holding “summits,” inviting college “student experts” to weigh in on college “accessibility” and “affordability.” The youth experts have spoken and Obama heard: “We’re offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to ten percent of their income, and I want to work with Congress to see how we can help even more Americans who feel trapped by student loan debt.”
The scary part came when he used himself and Michelle as examples: “The bottom line is, Michelle and I want every child to have the same chance this country gave us. But we know our opportunity agenda won’t be complete — and too many young people entering the workforce today will see the American Dream as an empty promise — unless we do more to make sure our economy honors the dignity of work, and hard work pays off for every single American.”
Oh, you mean college students should write theses like Michelle Obama’s? Can we all write “Princeton Educated Blacks and the Black Community” and investigate how “attending Princeton will likely lead to my further integration and/or assimilation into a White cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society”?
Education was bad enough back then. As a result, we have her in the White House with her Columbia and Harvard educated husband. It can only get worse when he invokes “widely shared” prosperity, calling on Americans to “toil” together, and summoning “what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow. . . .”
Mary Grabar is a former professor of English at several institutions of higher learning. She is the author of Bill Ayers: Teaching Revolution and Exiled: Stories from Conservative and Moderate Professors Who Have Been Ridiculed, Ostracized, Marginalized, Demonized, and Frozen Out. She is a frequent contributor to leading conservative publications.