Two of my favorite ed reform analysts, Diane Ravitch and Emmett McGroarty come from opposite sides of the political aisle, yet each has called on America to sit up, take notice, and take action against the Common Core movement.
Is Congress too busy, or too conflicted, to pay attention?
Diane Ravitch has long been calling for a Congressional investigation into “Bill Gates’ swift and silent takeover of American education.” She rightly called Gates’ unelected, leviathan influence an unauthorized coup worthy of Congressional investigation and wrote, “the idea that the richest man in America can purchase and — working closely with the U.S. Department of Education — impose new and untested academic standards on the nation’s public schools is a national scandal.”
Ravitch’s congressional investigation needs to happen fast, though, because– once again, we and our children are under the gun.
Emmett McGroarty, pointed out this week, at Townhall.com that the “No Child Left Behind” horror is being refried and re-offered to American school children as a worse, sweatier mess of Gates-inspired, CEDS and Datapalooza -aligned Common Core cement, now being called “The Every Child Achieves Act” (ECAA).
Think of the new ECAA bill as the 2.0 –but not from No Child Left Behind only; also from an earlier version of itself just two months ago. Remember that this “Every Child Achieves Act” bill went down in flames — thanks to actual grassroots moms and dads and teachers screaming NO earlier this year. But it’s risen from the ashes, more sly this time, like a recurring nightmare.
“It [ECAA] keeps the testing requirements. A state must still have an “accountability system” that includes as a “substantial” factor student performance on standardized tests. It does try to lessen the teach-to-the-test pressures by allowing the state to determine “the weight” of the tests… But this will not alleviate such pressures. It’s like saying, ‘We’re going to beat you with a wooden bat, not a metal one.’ … each state must demonstrate that it will measure ‘annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students’ …Now is the time for all the senators and representatives who support local control of education and all those who support federalism to stand up and get rid of the federal dictates on how often and in what subjects our children are tested.”
So, if Congress is debating passage of ECAA, and if many in Congress are pushing the bill, will Congress simultaneously investigate Common Core, and its own governmental and business allies?
Keep in mind Diane Ravitch’s call for congressional investigation of Gates and his federal allies:
“The close involvement of Arne Duncan raises questions about whether the law was broken” knowing that Gates, “one very rich man bought the enthusiastic support of interest groups on the left and right to campaign for the Common Core…”
Ravitch’s call needs to be echoed and re-echoed throughout our nation. She asks:
“Who knew that American education was for sale? Who knew that federalism could so easily be dismissed as a relic of history? Who knew that Gates and Duncan, working as partners, could dismantle and destroy state and local control of education?
“The revelation that education policy was shaped by one unelected man, underwriting dozens of groups. and allied with the Secretary of Education, whose staff was laced with Gates’ allies, is ample reason for Congressional hearings.
“…I could not support the Common Core standards because they were developed and imposed without regard to democratic process. The writers of the standards included no early childhood educators, no educators of children with disabilities, no experienced classroom teachers; indeed, the largest contingent of the drafting committee were representatives of the testing industry.
“No attempt was made to have pilot testing of the standards in real classrooms with real teachers and students. The standards do not permit any means to challenge, correct, or revise them.
…The high-handed manner in which these standards were written and imposed in record time makes them unacceptable. These standards not only undermine state and local control of education, but the manner in which they were written and adopted was authoritarian. No one knows how they will work, yet dozens of groups have been paid millions of dollars by the Gates Foundation to claim that they are absolutely vital for our economic future, based on no evidence whatever…. Local boards are best equipped to handle local problems. States set state policy, in keeping with the concept that states are “laboratories of democracy,” where new ideas can evolve and prove themselves… Do we need to compare the academic performance of students in different states? We already have the means to do so with the federally funded National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)… Will national standards improve test scores? There is no reason to believe so. Brookings scholar Tom Loveless predicted two years ago that the Common Core standards would make little or no difference. The biggest test-score gaps, he wrote, are within the same state, not between states… the most reliable predictors of test scores are family income and family education.
“… at a time when many schools have fiscal problems and are laying off teachers, nurses, and counselors, and eliminating arts programs, the nation’s schools will be forced to spend billions of dollars on Common Core materials, testing, hardware, and software.
“Microsoft, Pearson, and other entrepreneurs will reap the rewards of this new marketplace. Our nation’s children will not.
“Who decided to monetize the public schools? Who determined that the federal government should promote privatization and neglect public education? … Who decided that schools should invest in Common Core instead of smaller classes and school nurses?
“These are questions that should be asked at Congressional hearings.”
Please, please share these thoughts with your Congressional representatives. Stop the current Every Child Achieves Act. Don’t let Congressmen tell you that they can’t get involved because education is a states’ issue. It is! But because it is a constitutionally designated states’ issue, Congress must get involved and get the feds and the privateers out of our schools.