Tucker Plan Includes Cradle Control
By Karen R. Effrem, MD
January 29, 2007
Marc Tucker’s “new and improved” School to Work opus, Tough Choices or Tough Times, besides treating our children as mere widgets or “human capital” to be used as government and industry see fit, also seeks to begin wresting control from parents about what our children think and believe as early as possible, even before kindergarten. A key step of his plan is to:
“Provide high-quality, universal early childhood education.”
As discussed in Professor Allen Quist’s recent article,"Marc Tucker’s New Education Initiative", the Tucker plan seeks to educate and train America’s children according to “internationally benchmarked standards.” “Internationally benchmarked standards are “content” standards. This includes compliance with the United Nations’ (UNESCO) 1990 international education agreement Education for All (EFA) that set the framework for U.N. international content standards.
As also pointed out by Professor Quist in his article "Why Re-Authorize No Child Left Behind", the philosophies of both EFA and Tucker’s first plan form the foundation of major federal education legislation Goals 2000, Improving America’s Schools, and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Acts. These federal laws have resulted in the imposition of national standards or a federal curriculum. Professor Quist goes on to say regarding early childhood:
“NCLB, as required by international agreements, directs much of its funding to early childhood education - even though numerous studies have shown that early childhood education has no academic benefit past the third grade. At the same time, various social engineers are imposing a curriculum into early childhood education that includes the ideology of the feminists, homosexuals and globalists. This curriculum is obviously not in the national interest.”
It is no coincidence that the list of goals in Goals 2000, which are really mandates and form the foundation of NCLB, are remarkably similar to the goals of EFA because both Goals 2000 and NCLB are the means of compliance with EFA. The link between EFA and NCLB is clearly shown in this statement in a 2003 speech to UNESCO by then-U.S. Secretary of Education, Rod Paige:
“UNESCO [is] coordinating the Education for All initiative. Education for All is consistent with our recent education legislation, the No Child Left Behind Act. UNESCO is a powerful forum for sharing our views, developing a common strategy, and implementing joint action. [Emphasis added.]”
Tucker’s emphasis on early childhood is no surprise if one examines the philosophy of the U.N. in EFA. EFA clearly wants to promote government control of children from a very young age. Regarding early childhood, EFA says:
“Learning begins at birth. This calls for early childhood care and initial education. These can be provided through arrangements involving families, communities, or institutional programs, as appropriate.”
Notice that, according to the U.N. philosophy, these programs may or may not involve families. This is in sharp contrast to American history, tradition, and settled law, that sees the parents and families, not the state, as the pre-eminent authority in the raising, education and medical care, including mental health care, of children.
One sees this same big-government Nanny State philosophy in the first outcome on the Goals 2000 list, which says:
“By the year 2000, all children will begin school ready to learn.”
As will be explained below, even if preschool programs were successful at closing the achievement gap and helping children succeed in a global economy, which they are not, academic issues that are key to those admirable goals are de-emphasized, and politically correct indoctrination becomes pre-eminent. Rather than emphasizing the learning of the alphabet, numbers, colors, and shapes, “ready to learn” has become synonymous with making sure that children develop certain attitudes about controversial non-academic topics, such as careers, environmentalism and gender issues.
Those same K-12 content standards, a de facto federal curriculum, are being mandated in federal early childhood programs like Head Start and replicated and mandated in many states. In the 109th Congress, the Head Start bill passed by the U.S. House (HR 2321) required that Head Start curricula or teaching qualifications be linked via “alignment with” or “aligned to” “the challenging state developed K-12 academic content standards.” In other words, NCLB’s federal curriculum was being extended down to cover preschool children.
These aligned K-12 state standards and assessments of NCLB have caused states no end of trouble due to dumbed-down, non-academic, indoctrinating curricula that states have adopted in order to comply with federal mandates. There is significant public opposition to extending these outcomes and assessments to high school. Federal legislation should not be extending them to the nation’s youngest and most vulnerable children.
It is bad enough that poor, at-risk children in Head Start were required to have those outcomes, but the House bill went on to extend the mandate to ALL children covered by the state funded preschool programs.
So what standards are required in this EFA/Goals 2000/NCLB/Tucker plan? The House Head Start bill also required that every state align with either the radical Head Start Child Outcomes Framework developed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC – See Child Care Credentialing and NAEYC’s Anti-Bias Curriculum and Michelle Malkin’s column "Brainwashing Preschool Peaceniks" for more details) or the state early learning standards, which are based on this Head Start/NAEYC Framework. This creates a seamless system of controversial government required outcomes from birth through twelfth grade.
The academic areas of literacy or pre-literacy, math and science are often so broad and vague as to be meaningless, or else they involve promoting certain views or attitudes. Although there are some outcomes that are objective and academic, like “Identifies at least 10 letters of the alphabet, especially those in their own name,” far too many are like these examples from the national Head Start Child Outcomes Framework:
* “Develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions and for other varied purposes.”
* "Demonstrates increasing interest and awareness of numbers and counting as a means for solving problems and determining quantity.”
* “Expands knowledge of and respect for their body and the environment.”
State early childhood outcomes either take these national outcomes word for word, they use the essence of them, or they go beyond them, in vagueness and subjectivity. Here are some examples from the states:
* Texas – “The child uses language for a variety of purposes (e.g., expressing needs and interests).”
* Minnesota – “Show eagerness and a sense of wonder as a learner” or “Demonstrate increasing interest in and awareness of numbers and counting.”
* Illinois – “Show an awareness of changes that occur in themselves and their environment.”
Even worse, are the socioemotional outcomes that include very controversial outcomes such as careers (obviously very important to Tucker), gender issues, multiculturalism, and family structure diversity. Besides being totally inappropriate to discuss with young children, these outcomes will promote a radical worldview that is unacceptable to most parents, and is completely outside the purview of the American system of government. In addition, quality rating systems, referrals, and funding are all based on or require these outcomes, which will then have the effect of driving private and religious programs, of those who do not wish to teach these radical outcomes, out of business. These outcomes are derived from even more radical curricula promulgated by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Here are some examples from Head Start:
* “Develops growing awareness of jobs and what is required to perform them.”
* “Progresses in understanding similarities and respecting differences among people, such as genders, race, special needs, culture, language, and family structures.”
* “Develops ability to identify personal characteristics including gender, and family composition.”
The state early childhood outcomes propagate these same themes, and in some cases, expand upon them. Florida’s outcomes are on their job development website. Tennessee admits that their outcomes are based on both the Head Start Child Outcome Framework and the NAEYC standards. Minnesota expands knowledge of gender to the even more controversial discussion of gender identity – whether children see themselves as boys or girls, a key to the whole homosexual agenda. Here are some examples:
* Florida – “Describes some jobs that people do.”
* California – “Children show awareness, acceptance, understanding, and appreciation of others’ special needs, gender, family structures, ethnicities, cultures, and languages.”
* Minnesota – “Begin to develop awareness, knowledge, and acceptance of own gender and cultural identity.”
In summary, universal preschool programs, as promoted by Tucker, link to international agreements, are aligned with the same federal curriculum that is destroying quality K-12 education, promote radical indoctrinating standards that are inappropriate for young children, and well beyond the scope of government, and do not promote long-term academic achievement. This plan and the federal laws that are being used to implement it need to be dismantled. The U.S. also needs to withdraw from EFA. America’s freedom and future depend on those tough choices, not the ones in Tucker’s utopian plan.
Karen R. Effrem is a member of the EdWatch Board of Directors.