Published this week at The Federalist is an article by Joy Pullman: “Common Core: The Biggest Election Issue Washington Prefers to Ignore”.
Pullman points out that while Washington does its best to ignore or discredit Common Core opposition, the fact remains that some heavy names and powerful organizations are fighting Common Core:
“Common Core opponents include, as entire institutions or representatives from them, the American Principles Project, Americans for Prosperity, the Badass Teachers Association, the Brookings Institution, the Cato Institute, Class Size Matters, Eagle Forum, FreedomWorks, the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the Goldwater Institute, the Heartland Institute (where I work), the Heritage Foundation, Hillsdale College, the Hoover Institute, Notre Dame University, the National Association of Scholars, the Pioneer Institute, Stanford University, United Opt-Out, and leaders from Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to a coalition of Catholic university scholars and teachers union darling Diane Ravitch. These organizations’ flavors range from constitutionalist to libertarian to liberal. The people making the noise are regular moms, dads, and grandparents, but they’re backed up by organizations with intellectual chops.”
She writes, “Even so, knowledge of Common Core is relatively low among the general public, so many politicians have seen this as an opening to disregard or ignore it. That’s a dangerous move….the biggest thing Washington politicos may be overlooking about Common Core is the simple fact that wedge issues matter. Most of the populace does not show up to vote for most elections. People who have strong reasons to vote do, and turnout often determines elections. Getting passionate people to vote is half the point of a campaign. The Common Core moms have a reason to vote, and boy, do they have a lot of friends.”
Read the whole article.
Attorney Emmett McGroarty speaks about the national effort to stop Common Core. McGroarty leads the Preserve Innocence Initiative of the American Principles Project.
Emmett McGroarty: “This is a mom-led movement, really… If you dig down deep enough, there’s a bedrock principle that almost all Americans can agree upon… that includes the idea that parents should have a say in what children learn.”
MSNBC: “Should the federal government have zero role?”
“Here’s the problem… They never answer the question: ‘Accountability to whom?’ You can’t have accountability running to the federal government and running to parents and local officials….
…I am against the federal government having a role[in education].”
Now that North Carolina’s Lt. Governor is standing up to Common Core, many North Carolinians are taking notice. Will they stand up, too? https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KdCav9-2Ri4
How did the original Old Testament David really feel when he trod toward the original, actual Goliath? He saw a sweaty mountain of a man before him. David was short, underfunded, scared, scorned. He must have heard voices– laughing at him, or praying for him. He knew that logically, he ought to fail. There must have been fear. But also, David knew Goliath was more than just huge and famous; he was arrogant –and wrong, with nothing to support him but stupid bulk. Just like Common Core.
I say this in the context of my favorite part of a recent Civitas article about Common Core where Jane Robbins* states:
“Goliath should be very, very concerned about David! Parents and other concerned citizens have stood up to the lavishly funded special interests and have demanded a return of their constitutional right to control their children’s education. Common Core is not inevitable, and patriots can still prevail if they refuse to give in… the forces behind Common Core are wedded to certain buzzwords and talking points that have absolutely no evidence to support them – “rigorous,“ “college- and career-ready,” etc. – and that the promoters frequently resort to outright deception.”
Here’s more of that article:
Expert Highlights Dangers in Common Core Standards
Posted on May 17, 2013 by Bob Luebke in Education, Issues
Last fall public schools in North Carolina along with 44 other states began implementing Common Core Standards. The standards — developed by academic experts and private trade associations with the financial backing of several large foundations — have unleashed a brushfire of criticism, fueled in part by the controversial ideas behind Common Core, parental anger over the lack of input and dissatisfaction over how the standards are implemented in our schools.
To help our readers learn more about Common Core, we’ve asked Jane Robbins, a Senior Fellow with the American Principles Project and someone actively involved in the national fight to stop Common Core, to share with us her thoughts about Common Core Standards and what these changes mean for students and parents in North Carolina. What follows is a transcript of Jane’s responses to our questions.
Tell me why North Carolina parents should be concerned about Common Core.
Common Core is an attempt by private interests in Washington, DC, aided by the federal government, to standardize English language arts (ELA) and math education (and ultimately, education in other subjects as well) throughout the nation. By adopting Common Core, North Carolina has agreed to cede control over its ELA and math standards to entities outside the state. Not only does this scheme obliterate parental control over the education of their children, but it imposes mediocre standards based on questionable philosophies, constitutes a huge unfunded mandate on the state and on local districts, and requires sharing students’ personal data with the federal government.
Specifically, how will Common Core impact a child’s education?
In ELA, the child will be exposed to significantly less classic literature – the books and stories that instill a love of reading – and significantly more nonfiction “informational texts.” The idea is not to educate him as a full citizen, but to train him for a future static job. In math, the child won’t learn the standard algorithm (the normal computational model) for addition and subtraction until grade 4, for multiplication until grade 5, and for division until grade 6. Until then, the child will be taught what we used to call “fuzzy math” – alternative offbeat ways to solve math problems. He probably won’t take algebra I until grade 9 (meaning he’s unlikely to reach calculus in high school, as expected by selective universities), and will be “taught” geometry according to an experimental method never used successfully in K-12 anywhere in the world.
Aren’t Common Core standards supposed to be better than existing school standards?
That’s the claim, but it simply isn’t true. Even the Fordham Institute, which has been paid a lot of money by Common Core-financier the Gates Foundation to promote the standards, admitted that many states had better standards and others had standards at least as good. The Common Core website itself no longer claims that the standards are “internationally benchmarked,” and the Common Core Validation Committee was never given any information on international benchmarking. And one of the drafters of the math standards admitted in 2010 that when Common Core proponents talk about “college-readiness,” they’re aiming for a nonselective community college, not a four-year university.
How are teachers impacted under Common Core?
Seasoned teachers are likely to be unhappy with the educational “innovations” described above. And once the SMARTER Balanced national test is implemented in 2014-15, teachers will have to teach to this test because their performance evaluations will be tied to the test scores. The national test will be completely online, which means schools without sufficient technology will have to rotate their students through computer labs. (SMARTER Balanced suggests a 12-week testing window). This means students who are tested in the first week will have significantly less instruction under their belts than students who are tested later – but all teachers’ evaluations will be tied to the scores.
Is it true that local districts will be able to choose their own curriculum under Common Core? If all curricula will ultimately be tied to the standards, does that really matter?
The point of standards is to drive curricula. While local districts still have some choice over curricula, they are already seeing that their choices are narrowing, because all curricula must be aligned with Common Core. And the federal government is funding the two consortia that are developing the national tests and that have admitted they are creating curriculum models. Two former U.S. Department of Education officials concluded in a comprehensive report that, ultimately, the Common Core scheme will result in a national curriculum – in violation of three federal statutes.
Tell us more about the student database and what parents need to know.
Both the 2009 Stimulus bill and the Race to the Top program required states to build massive student databases. It is recommended that these databases ultimately track over 400 data points, including health-care history, disciplinary history, etc. Any of this data that will be given to the Smarter Balanced consortium as part of the national test will be sent to the U.S. Department of Education. USED can then share the data with literally any entity it wants to – public or private – because of regulations it has issued gutting federal student-privacy law.
North Carolinians should also be concerned about a new initiative called inBloom, which is a pilot program designed to standardize student data and make it available to commercial vendors creating education products. North Carolina is one of the nine states involved in the inBloom pilot.
How did all this happen?
Very stealthily. Private interests in Washington, funded largely by the Gates Foundation, decided in 2007 to try again (as progressive education reformers have in the past) to nationalize standards and curriculum. Thus began the development of Common Core. When the stimulus bill passed in 2009, the U.S. Department of Education used the money it was given to create the Race to the Top program. To be competitive for Race to the Top grants, a state had to agree to adopt Common Core and the aligned national tests. The commitments were due before the standards were released, and without the opportunity for involvement by state legislatures. So most states that adopted Common Core did so for a chance at federal money, and without legislators’ and citizens’ knowing anything about it.
In your view who’s behind the development of Common Core Standards and what are they trying to accomplish?
The standards were created primarily by a nonprofit called Achieve, Inc. in Washington, DC, and released under the auspices of two DC-based trade associations (the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, neither of which had a grant of legislative authority from their members to create national standards). Funding and support came from the Gates Foundation, as well as from other foundations including the Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy and Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education. The common denominator seems to be a belief that very smart elites in Washington are better able to direct our children’s education than we are. As for what they are trying to accomplish, two points: first, Bill Gates seems to favor a “Common Core operating system” that can be imposed on every school, everywhere, to increase efficiency: and second, the initiative seems directed at workforce development, not true education.
What have you learned from traveling around the country working with parents and groups who are fighting Common Core?
That Goliath should be very, very concerned about David! Parents and other concerned citizens have stood up to the lavishly funded special interests and have demanded a return of their constitutional right to control their children’s education. Common Core is not inevitable, and patriots can still prevail if they refuse to give in. I’ve also learned that the forces behind Common Core are wedded to certain buzzwords and talking points that have absolutely no evidence to support them – “rigorous,“ “college- and career-ready,” etc. – and that the promoters frequently resort to outright deception to get what they want. The ends justify the means, apparently.
How do you respond to concerns that withdrawal from Common Core will threaten Race to the Top funding or the No Child Left Behind waiver?
Regarding Race to the Top, several points: 1) nothing in the grant requires paying back the money if Common Core is discarded; 2) even if repayment were demanded, it should be only a fraction of the money actually paid out (since the commitments to Common Core and the SMARTER Balanced tests were only a fraction of the Race to the Top commitment); 3) even if full repayment were required, this would be much cheaper than continuing to implement the Common Core unfunded mandate; and 4) it is highly unlikely, from a political standpoint, that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan would require repayment, since he has claimed for two years that nothing about this program is a federal mandate – if he now imposes a huge penalty for North Carolina’s exercise of independence, he will be proving the point of the Common Core critics. Regarding the No Child Left Behind waiver, there is a way within the waiver application itself that allows a state to use standards other than Common Core. If North Carolina has its alternative standards certified by its major institutions of higher education, it can still qualify for the waiver (assuming it wishes to do so – the waiver simply exchanges one set of federal shackles for another).
Do you have any final advice on how parents can be actively involved in fighting Common Core Standards in North Carolina?
Yes. Educate yourselves and your friends by visiting truthinamericaneducation.com and stopcommoncore.com. Talk to your local school officials and school board members. Call your state legislators, your state school board members, and your Governor, and demand that they take action to restore North Carolina control over North Carolina education.
(For North Carolina, also visit stopcommoncorenc.org.)
Thanks to Jane Robbins, Dan Forest, and all the “Davids” in North Carolina, Michigan, Indiana and elsewhere for your excellent examples of standing up for liberty.
(*Jane Robbins also appears in this Common Core video series that is highly recommended, put out by the American Principles Project and Concerned Women of Georgia.)
Another #Stopcommoncore Twitter Rally
Just a week ago Parent Led Reform rallied 2,493,308 Twitter users to #Stopcommoncore. A second Twitter Rally is planned for today, Thursday, May 2, at 9pm EST- 7pm MST to include participation of working parents, educators and citizens.
Parent Led Reform will host the rally as a collaborative project with Truth In American Education, designed to share the research diligently collected by parents and citizens concerned about the government’s push for national common standards in education.
This rally is an encore of the April 16 #Stopcommoncore Twitter event, which reached 2,493,308 Twitter users.
Karin Piper, spokesperson for Parent Led Reform, said, “Parent Led Reform opposes a lock-step approach to education that takes the focus away from the student and decisions away from the parent.”
The #Stopcommoncore Twitter Rally features a panel of experts who are planning on answering questions by the moderator, as well as taking live questions from Twitter users across the nation.
Panelists are Shane Vander Hart (Truth in American Education), William Estrada (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) Joy Pullmann (Heartland Institute), Ben DeGrow (Independence Institute), Emmett McGroarty (American Principles Project).
Follow our host and panel: @parentledreform @shulsie @shanevanderhart @BenDegrow @will_estrada @Joypullmann @approject @Truthinamed
Supported by Pioneer Institute, AFP, Heartland, Independence Institute, American Principles Project, Freedom Works, Home School Legal Defense Association
It was a privilege to speak with Glenn Beck on his t.v. show on Thursday, along with Utah teacher David Cox of Odyssey Charter School , Emmett McGroarty of the American Principles Project, and Sherena Arrington of Stop Common Core in Georgia. I’m posting three clips from the show.
This first portion of the show is a clip of Glenn Beck introducing common core and its “Equity and Excellence Commission” which aims to use the educational system to redistribute; to redistribute not only exactly the same standards and testing nationwide, but also the nation’s wealth. Glenn calls the Common Core issue bigger than any other issue facing America today.
The next clip introduces the scarily non-traditional Common Core math, the dumbing-down via “student-centered” rather than teacher-directed instruction; and shows –my favorite part– the moment Glenn was stunned to find out that state legislatures were not a part of the adoption of Common Core, in any state.
Notice when Sherena Arrington describes this. She calls it the executive branch being “off the chain.” Great choice of words. Off the chain– like a mad bulldog. Yes, there is a chain and American needs to stay attached to it because it’s an umbilical cord to mother freedom. It’s a chain forged by the U.S. Constitution, the process of voter representation, the importance of due process and the separation and balance of powers.
This next clip covers the part of the show where we discussed the “no-parental-consent” school data mining.
I mentioned one of the seminal documents of the Common Core movement, the Cooperative Agreement between Secretary Arne Duncan and the SBAC testing group, which says that the SBAC and PARCC (the other testing group) have to synchronize their tests and data, and that student-level data (personal, identifiable data) must be shared. That creates a national testing system, nationalizing education just like China or any socialist/communist country. This is so offensive, considering the fact that both the Constitution and U.S. GEPA law (General Educational Provisions Act) specify that the federal government may not direct or supervise educational programs or curriculum or tests in any way.
Then I brought up the fact that the Department of Education went behind Congress’ back to alter FERPA law (privacy law) so that parental consent is no longer a legal requirement to access student information. The National Data Collection Model asks for hundreds of data points to be collected on our loved ones, including family income, religion, nicknames, psychological issues, and so much more.
Yes, the executive branch is way off the chain and does need to be brought to account by Congress. By We, The People.
Thank you, Glenn Beck. Thank you for exposing to parents and other viewers nationwide what common core is really all about: it’s so much more than just academic standards.
The Council of Great City Schools
The Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) is paid by the Gates Foundation to promote Common Core. CGCS makes videos such as “From the Page to the Classroom: Implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts and Literacy”
CGCS also made this video http://vimeo.com/51933492 to supply the background for the Common Core Standards. (But there’s no mention in these videos that The Council of Great City Schools received many millions of dollars to promote Common Core, from Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation.)
Jane Robbins, Emmett McGroarty of American Principles Project
Compare those two CGCS videos to this short video series put out by the American Principles Project, together with Concerned Women of Georgia. Watching them together is quite an education. http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/stop-the-common-core/