“The schools are teaching what I ought and I what the schools ought."
– Don Warren, parent and engineer
An aphorism frequently repeated to our children was – “Pick your path; determine your destination.” We wanted them to know
intuitively that their direction is more important than their location, their worldview more important than their circumstance. If you are lost, knowing where you are is not nearly as crucial as
knowing what direction to go to be un-lost: to get where you want to be. Understanding and wisdom are about direction. There are many capable teachers of knowledge, fewer who are able to impart
understanding and fewer still that should be trusted to impart wisdom. Wisdom is like the absolute of North, South, East and West; understanding knows which direction is home, and knowledge is able
to read the compass.
An individual’s worldview is immeasurably important to their choices, their reputation, and their direction; there is no winning argument to the contrary. That’s the reason I enjoy attending the Education Policy Conference (EPC), offered annually in St. Louis, MO. Last week’s Capitol Report was inspired by the content of the EPC as is the Capitol Report this week. The quotation above from the remarks of Don Warren, one of the EPC presenters, grows out of his passion for truth in education and the love of a father of three small children.
One EPC session this year addressed the ongoing battle to fight nationalization of public school curriculum via Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Collectivists and central planners are drawn to CCSS as a deceptively subtle conduit toward a clearly illegal government take-over of public and private schools. From “progressive” math to endless testing, to massive data collecting, and the expungement of Christianity, the pattern developing is the one described by Don Warren:“The schools are teaching what I ought and I what the schools ought.” In other words, the schools are high jacking the development of a worldview by imposing one that is government-approved but sabotaging learning by convolution. It is not the job of government schools to promote worldviews in competition with parents. Conversely, it is the task of those schools to teach accurate history and science, math and language arts, and to clearly differentiate fact and opinion.
In 2014, Missouri passed House Bill 1490 to fight back against the illegal and unconstitutional implementation of CCSS that had already begun in Missouri public schools. Eight teams are working to develop Missouri Standards for Missouri schools. The teams file written reports monthly and presents periodically to the State Board of Education. Possibly the most significant weakness in the Missouri plan is that the standards developed by these eight teams must be approved by the State Board. If the Board approves the Missouri-developed standards, tests will be developed for those standards.
In other states there have been attempts to rebrand CCSS to deceive students and parents into accepting nationalized standards and curriculum. Parents are finding creative ways to fight back. In Cedarburg, WI cries to the local school board for relief from unfair testing standards fell on deaf ears. A concerned parent invited other families to opt-out of the standardized test in response. Under No-Child-Left-Behind, school districts must have a testing participation rate of 95 percent to qualify for federal grant money. By threatening to opt-out of testing, a small group of determined parents was able to persuade the board to reconsider. Others are using social media to consolidate and synchronize their opposition to CCSS. These parents are not giving up no matter how tyrannical the opposition. They actually believe they are responsible for what and how their children learn.
The 2016 Education Policy Conference will be in St. Louis the last weekend of January; some of you might want to make plans to attend next year’s event.
Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. We welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.
Sworn in to office on Jan. 5, 2011 to serve the 34th Senatorial District, Sen. Rob Schaaf, a Republican, represents Buchanan and Platte counties in northwest Missouri. Before being elected to the Senate, Sen. Schaaf represented Andrew and northwest Buchanan County (District 28) in the Missouri House of Representatives. He was elected to the House in November 2002 and served for four two-year terms.
Senator Schaaf has been a family physician in northwest Missouri since 1985 and is Chairman of the Board of the Missouri Doctors Mutual Insurance Company (MoDocs), which he helped form in 2004 to provide medical liability insurance to Missouri doctors.
In addition to his legislative duties, Sen. Schaaf is a member of the St. Joseph Area Chambers of Commerce; past president of the Buchanan County Medical Society; the Missouri Pilots Association; councilor of the Missouri State Medical Association; and a board member of the Missouri State Medical Foundation. Senator Schaaf is also a devout Christian.
Born January 4, 1957 in St. Louis, Sen. Schaaf is a 1975 graduate of Central High School in St. Joseph. He went on to college and received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Missouri Western State College (now Missouri Western State University) in 1979, and earned his medical degree from St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1983. Senator Schaaf resides in St. Joseph with his wife, Deborah, and their two children: Robert and Renee.
Rep. Galen Higdon, a Republican, represents Buchanan and Platte Counties (District 11) in the Missouri House of Representatives.
He was elected to his first two-year term in November 2010.
In addition to his legislative duties, Rep. Higdon is retired after a 30-year career as a deputy for the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Department. During his career, Galen was elected vice president of the Missouri Deputy Sheriffs Association by his peers.
Rep. Higdon is a member of the St. James Catholic Parish. He is active with the Knights of Columbus and St. Joseph Host Lions Club, and is a member of the National Rifle Association. Rep. Higdon also is a member of FOP Lodge #3 in St. Joseph.
Rep. Higdon is a 1973 graduate of Benton High School.
Born May 30, 1954 in St. Joseph, Rep. Higdon currently resides there with his wife, Lou Anne. They have three children, Monica, Andrea and Emily.