Paul Ryan did not mention Common Core at last month’s Independence Day address at Hillsdale college. But the Wisconsin Congressman’s speech, called “Renewing the American Idea,” had everything to do with what this blog stands for. When Ryan spoke about discerning between” measures that conform to the American Idea and those that weaken or conflict with the American Idea” he warned, “The American Idea imposes a duty to oppose programs that subvert popular government and impose bureaucratic rule.”
That duty and distinction is why Common Core stands opposed in America today.
Ryan defined the American Idea as, “self-government under the rule of law” that declares “human beings are created equal with unalienable rights that come from God.” He noted that many political measures conflict with the American Idea and undermine self-government, being “composed of boards and commissions with uncertain responsibilities and unaccountable decision-making”. As I read that sentence, I was thinking of the CCSSO, the NGA, the NDCM, and the College Board. Ryan explained that “the way they operate creates relationships between government and money that encourage cronyism and breed political corruption… they are incompatible with the American Idea, and they must be rejected.”
Nodding in agreement, I thought of Gates’ countless millions given to the CCSSO, NGA, PTA, Education First, Jeb Bush, and even granted to the Department of Education directly, that helped ensure that Common Core’s rule became not only the business success of Microsoft’s and Pearson, but also became government policy.
Ryan said, “these programs and their administrative forms…cannot be reformed and restructured, but must be ended, or, if we choose, replaced by something completely different and consistent with popular consent and self-government… No reform is worth pursuing that does not turn against this rule and take us on a path of renewal.”
Ryan talked about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) but I was applying his words to the No Child Left Behind Waiver, as he wrote:
“Nobody understands it, and it makes everyone anxious… maybe you can get a delay or a waiver or an exemption. How do you get these things? Nobody knows. The administration makes decisions on the fly, so the law changes every day… bureaucrats are calling the shots and running the show… protect[ing] the big guys– the biggest, most powerful [education sales] institutions in the country. The result is predictable: Big [education sales companies] get bigger and small [education sales companies] get fewer… [it's] the difference between fair play and playing favorites.”
I was thinking about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Utah Chamber of Commerce, which has been drooling all over Common Core and pushing, pushing its promotion. Ryan wrote, “Big business is a willing accomplice because regulation keeps the competition out. Many times, large corporations don’t oppose new regulations; indeed, they help write them. The point is, crony capitalism isn’t a side effect– it’s a direct result of big government… big businessmen spend less and less time hustling in the marketplace and more and more time lining the halls of government.”
(At this point, I was thinking about truths recently articulated by Ze’ev Wurman in a Breitbart article about Gates and his crony capitalism: “…Bill Gates’ goal is ‘to leverage private money’ in a way that ‘redirects’ how tax dollars are spent inside public education… Gates is using his personal philanthropy to direct government policy, to channel taxpayers’ funds to pay for the national curriculum he personally wants… paying for Common Core, Common Core ‘validation studies,’ curricular units development, and through paying for Education First to promote textbooks and pedagogical approaches he supports. Yet consider that the computer technology and infrastructure needed to support just the annual testing by Common Core’s newfangled assessments is estimated at $50 per tested student every year. Since over half of students are tested annually, we are talking about public education spending an additional one and a half billion dollars annually on technology for testing – 30 million students times 50! …Microsoft will capture at least half of that market, and assuming just 40% gross margin, Bill Gates is expected to reel in every year in extra profit (not revenue) as much as all he spent on supporting Common Core throughout the years. I’m not arguing Bill Gates wants necessarily to harm education for his personal profit. But isn’t it nice when you can convince yourself that what’s good for Microsoft is good for America, even when studies show it’s not necessarily so?”)
Ryan then explained how the difference between the U.S. Founders’ vision and the Progressive vision is the difference between freedom and the end of it. He wrote that the founders “limited government… Progressives believed in a much larger and more active central government that reaches further and further into our lives…[O]ver the course of the 20th century, the Progressive view came to dominate the modern Democratic Party– and to cloud Republican thinking as well. This is the core problem we face today. The American Idea has not been rejected. Far from it: The Progressive counter-vision has never commanded a settled majority… [Americans] have never consented to have their lives micromanaged by bureaucrats.”
Ryan nailed the Progressive (and Common Core) agenda when he explained that in Progressive ideology, self-government gives way to “professional bureaucrats governing according to centralized plans.”
Centralized plans that are uninfluenced by those who are governed by them = Common Core.
- Common Core: where those governed by the rules don’t get any voice in what those rules will be.
- Common Core: where big corporations marry big government, using taxpayer dollars to pay for the wedding and the couple’s future living expenses –and make sure not to invite taxpayers to the wedding lest any stand up and oppose the union.
- Common Core: where corporate+federally aligned tests drive local curriculum and standards.
- Common Core: where student absorption of common standards is tracked by corporate+government longitudinal database systems –without parental knowledge or consent.
- Common Core: where the unelected, such as David Coleman (a noneducator-businessman, now president of the College Board and leader of English standards) get to run Common Core’s promotion company, Achieve, Inc., as well as alter the A.P. and the ACT, thus conforming all student tests to unelected and unaccountable whims
- Common Core: where the unelected CCSSO and NGA get to hold copyright over Common Core –and also set common data standards, which enables the robbing of student privacy and ends local autonomy in testing.
It’s hard to find a more perfect fit for Paul Ryan’s definition of “measures that undermine the American Idea” than Common Core. Yet, despite the monstrousness of the problem we face, I believe in the same hopeful note of Paul Ryan’s closing paragraph:
“Nothing in history is inevitable. If we are to get through our current trial, as we have done in the past, it will be by the use of our wits and through tremendous effort … Let us remain committed to the American Idea.”
Here is the video of Paul Ryan’s speech.
Thank you, Paul Ryan.