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River Cities' Reader - Issue 844 - November 27, 2013

River Cities' Reader - Issue 844 - November 27, 2013

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River Cities' Reader - Issue 844 - November 27, 2013
River Cities' Reader - Issue 844 - November 27, 2013

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Published by: River Cities Reader on Nov 27, 2013
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River Cities’ Reader 
 • Vol.
 No. 844 • November 27 - December 11, 2013
Business • Politics • Arts • Culture • Now You Know • RiverCitiesReader.com
by Kathleen McCarthykm@rcreader.com
s Americans, we had better revisit what the Bill of Rights means to our country’s future, because the individual protections that the Bill of Rights provides each of us are in real jeopardy. There has been a slow creep by our legislative, judicial, and executive branches to erode these protections in favor of adminis-trative rules and regulations that instead protect the growth and continuity of government.The federal government has gone so far beyond what was originally intended for our republic that there will be no stopping it from the top down. The only hope we have to preserve our future as an open society is to get involved in our local county and city governments, including our school districts, where we can fully participate, oversee, and influence the politicians and bureaucrats who are our friends, family, and neighbors.Common Core is the new national education initiative of curriculum and standards that were developed by two private trade groups, in cooperation with Achieve, Inc., with the majority of funding provided by the federal government. Additional financial assistance came from the Bill & Melinda Gates and Eli & Edythe Broad foundations, which contributed $60 million, and General Electric, which gave $18 million. The two trade groups’ names – the
Under the Radar: Common Core in Our Schools
National Governors Association and the Chief Council of State School Officers – mislead the public into falsely thinking Common Core was developed by each states’ elected representatives.Rather, the entire curriculum is privately owned and copyrighted, giving sole control over its content to a small cadre of developers, who will also reap massive profits for manufacturing all new Common Core-approved textbooks, training materials for teachers, and national-testing components that will dwarf previous testing practices in America. These no-bid contracts are worth billions to private and quasi-public corporations, such as Pearson, Core One Press, and Achieve.Several weeks ago, I attended a public presentation on Common Core in Peoria, Illinois. The facilitator queried the audience of approximately 200 people on whether they had heard of Common Core prior to the event. About half the audience raised their hands. He then asked how many present knew of Common Core when the state adopted it in 2010. No hands were raised!Common Core was implemented through state education boards in 45 states, including Illinois and Iowa, without legislative authority or oversight. Nor did its development include input from school districts or the academic community at large. Parents were not notified of the adoption of these new standards, and it is still difficult to get substantive information from schools on the components of Common Core. Additionally, the mainstream media has given Common Core precious little coverage, further shrouding the program elements from public awareness.Common Core has slipped in under the radar of parents and teachers across the country, and represents a sea change in education that is mostly experimental, with virtually no substantive evidence that its controversial methods are effective in teaching our children. This extraordinarily high level of risk deserves participation from all stakeholders, but almost none were engaged.The following is a list of need-to-know aspects of Common Core:
• Not a single certified academic participated
in the development of Common Core.
• Common Core standards for math and
language arts were published on June 2, 2010. (Science and other academic categories are still in development.) Yet most states had already signed on without knowing Common Core’s content so that they could be eligible for exemptions from No Child Left Behind or for a portion of the $4.2-billion in stimulus money allocated to Race to the Top.
• After development, a validation committee
was empaneled to review the Common Core standards that included five academics, all of whom refused to sign off on the curriculum because it fell far short of current standards, both domestic and international. Two academics, Stanford and NASA mathematician James Milgram (math curriculum) and University of Arkansas Professor Emerita Sandra Stotsky (language-arts curriculum) are now active opponents of Common Core.
• Schools in Common Core states agree to
establish a “longitudinal database” to track every student from pre-K through post-graduation. The database includes information far beyond scholastic data, such as birth weight, parents’  voting preferences, miles to school, and family food-consumption habits. It is illegal for the federal government to have a national student database, yet the states are collecting the same data as defined in Common Core, and are able to share their interoperable databases across state lines. When, in 2011, the Electronic Privacy Information Center sued the Department of Education over unlawful collection of student data, a federal judge dismissed the case, claiming
Continued On Page 14
River Cities’ Reader 
 • Vol.
 No. 844 • November 27-December 11, 2013
Business • Politics • Arts • Culture • Now You Know • RiverCitiesReader.com
have to work very hard to woo labor leaders if he wants their support. Dillard speaks their language, while Rutherford is more of an unknown quantity. Rutherford’s campaign has far more money on hand than Dillard’s, but nowhere near enough to compete with Rauner.Still, does any candidate really want organized labor’s support in a Republican gubernatorial primary? A
Capitol Fax 
/We Ask America poll conducted August 21 found that a whopping 80 percent of likely GOP-primary  voters said they’d be less inclined to vote for a Republican candidate for governor “who received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from public-employee unions.”So others in organized labor are strenuously arguing against any endorsement at all, believing today’s Republican voters are so hostile to labor’s interests that overt support for a preferred union candidate would almost surely result in a political death sentence and therefore in a host of unknown, uncontrollable possibilities. That particular faction is arguing hard for an all-out assault on Rauner during the primary. None of the other candidates would be nearly as hostile to labor’s interest as Rauner would be, goes the reasoning. A TV-advertising assault on Rauner could knock him out of contention. There’s a thick opposition-research book on Rauner, but his association with Democrats such as Mayor Rahm Emanuel would be just as toxic for GOP-primary voters as public-employee campaign contributions (83 percent less likely to support, according to the
Capitol Fax 
/We Ask America poll).However, some labor leaders say that Governor Pat Quinn has been moving to the opinion that running against Rauner might not be so horrible after all. Despite Rauner’s potential to spend tens of millions of dollars next year, some Quinn backers think Rauner’s background gives them enough ammunition to thump him. Rauner has enough of a personal fortune to stay on the air from now through next November without a break. His ads are already focused on painting Quinn as the bad guy, and that theme will only intensify if he wins the GOP primary. He could bury Quinn before the governor has a chance to bury him. 
Rich Miller also publishes
Capitol Fax
 (a daily  political newsletter) and CapitolFax.com.
llinois union leaders are reportedly mull-ing several options about what to do in the governor’s race. But the only thing the leaders appear to agree on so far is that anti-union Republican gazillionaire Bruce Rauner cannot be allowed to win.Some union honchos are looking at endorsing a candidate in the Republican primary. State Senator Kirk Dillard, for instance, already has strong support from the Operating Engineers, a union that is now even more opposed to Rauner since the candidate’s endorsement by the strongly anti-union Associated Builders & Contractors group. Other unions have also taken keen notice of that endorsement.Surprisingly enough, Dillard is also being looked at by some public-employee unions. They’re hoping that he’ll be a “no” vote on pension reform. Dillard told the
Kankakee Daily Journal 
 several days ago that he wants employees to pay more into the system and wants a later retirement age – neither of which appears to be in the cards at the moment. Dillard would know what was going on behind the scenes with the pension-reform conference committee because his running mate, Representative Jil Tracy, sits on the committee. However he chooses to explain it, a “no”  vote on pension reform could bring him closer to a possible union nod. Then again, Dillard told the
 last week that he had always supported pension reform and denied rumors that he was planning to vote against the bill. But even a pension-bill “yes”  vote will not, in and of itself, prevent some unions from endorsing Dillard. Dillard’s campaign has struggled to raise money, barely able to meet its expenses, so a labor endorsement would bring in much-needed dollars. Unions have backed Dillard in the past, to the tune of $400,000 from public-employee unions alone during his career. They know he’s a social conservative (he was endorsed last week by noted figures on the far right such as Phyllis Schlafly and Penny Pullen), but they feel they can at least get a fair hearing from him. Treasurer Dan Rutherford has tried to reach out to labor, particularly on the pension issue. He has attempted to steer away from taking a hard public line on pension reform, urging compromise. But Rutherford doesn’t have much history with the unions, so he’ll
Unions Face Difficult Choice in GOP Primary
by Rich MillerCapitolFax.com
Unions know Dillard’s a social conservative, but they feel they can at least get a  fair hearing from him.
Davenport, Iowa • 563.326.7804 www.figgeartmuseum.org
Holiday Happenings
 at the Figge!
Advent Tours Sundays in December at 1:30 p.m.
Family Holiday Workshop December 5Shop the Museum Store
Gift Membership Sale
Holiday Experience Package
Grant Wood,
 December Afternoon,
 1941, lithograph, 1965.34

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