Archive for the ‘american principles project’ Tag

A Titanic NO on Twin Ed Bills – Children Deserve Better Than HR5 and S1177   9 comments

titanic

 

 

You can’t stick corks into the side of the Titanic to save the people on the ship, and you can’t stick amendments into evil bills and then in good conscience vote yes on them. We are building and voting for our own children’s cages in the belly of a sinking ship.

Read the current ed reform bill amendments here; some are dancing about the Zeldin amendment  because it “allows” states to opt out of Common Core. STATES ALREADY CAN do that.  The point is that the feds bribe states not to, and states don’t.  Then the feds push out data systems that nobody is smart enough to not build.

If I sound a little bit angry, that’s because I am typing.  If you were here in the room you would want earplugs.  I am very angry, very disappointed.  Very loud inside my own little furious head and home.

I’m speaking about the twin bills in the House and Senate to be voted on; one today, HR5 which we all shot down in April; the other bill, S1177, will get a vote soon.

See American Principles Project’s excellent, short pdf (with references) on HR5 here;  the their pdf on S.1177 here.

I know I’m not smarter than my senators and representatives.  I can read, and so can they.  So why, why, why are they NOT telling we, the people, who call their offices that they are unequivocally voting NO on these bad twin ed reform bills, HR5 and S1177?  I have to assume that the represenatives are not studying these 300, 600, 800 page monsters; that they are relying on the talking points of the bill’s authors.  If so, the reps are revealing dangerous  incompetence–   carelessness with our precious liberty and our precious children.

I do realize that our representatives are busy.  But these are dire circumstances that affect children so negatively.  We elected and pay these friends.  We entrust them with the futures of our public school children.  Yet, I don’t know if I believe they are reading the bills.  Orrin Hatch is promoting S1177.  But I’m concerned about the entire Utah delegation of senators and representatives -and many others outside Utah.

In what universe is it okay for a senator or a representative to vote yes on a bill that does what HR 5 does?**   It:

  • Cements the unconstutitional Fed Master- State Servant relationship
  • Attacks parental opt out movement – kills parental opt out rights
  • Hacks off religious freedom and autonomy for any private schools that receive federal dollars for any of their programs
  • Pretends that federal FERPA hasn’t been shot full of holes and depends on FERPA for privacy rights (what privacy rights?)
  • Fails to require parental consent for state data mining of children’s personally identifiable data
  • Creates unelected committees that have real power over state citizens who did not elect them
  • Fails to provide enforcement for autonomy which means there won’t be any state autonomy
  • Extends federal tentacles and data collection to preschoolers
  • Reinforces socialist alignment of schools to workforce, putting economy first without regard for students
  • Retains federal testing mandates
  • Promotes psychological profiling of students

**Below, I am posting section numbers for the reference of those who want to see the language with their own eyes.

 

In what universe is it okay for a senator or a representative to vote yes on a bill that does what S1177 does?***

  • Pretends to protect us from federal overreach with redundant, nonhelpful language
  • Aligns us to “college and career ready” standard which ARE Common Core, federally defined elsewhere
  • Cements the unconstutitional Fed Master- State Servant relationship
  • Mandates that States answer to the Feds even on altering state standards
  • Retains federal testing mandates
  • Adds to the list of programs a state must consult and aligns with workforce (socialism) program
  • Dictates types of testing
  • Forces out the parental opt out movement
  • Narrows the definition of “mental health” and “school climate” that reduces student religious and political expression
  • Probes into psychological data collection on children without parental consent
  • Fails to require parental consent for state data mining of children’s personally identifiable data
  • Extends federal tentacles and data collection to preschool

***Below, I am posting section numbers for the reference of those who want to see the language with their own eyes.

The list could go on and on and on.

I don’t get it.  I really do not understand these politicians.  I really do not.

Our children deserve better.  So much better!

I’ll be wasting spending time and breath all day today, again, calling 202-224-3121 to get my senators’ and reps’ attention.  Feel free to join me.  Even though it feels like we are sticking corks into the side of the Titanic.  May God help us.

titanic side

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“THE STUDENT SUCCESS ACT”

**HR5 section numbers for reference:

  • Master and Servant unconstitutional relationship in cement:

“For any State desiring to receive a grant under this subpart, the State educational agency file with the Secretary a plan,” “Each State plan shall demonstrate [to the federal agents]” – 1111(a)1 –

“Approval: The Secretary shall approve a State plan within 120 days of its submission; disapprove of the State plan only if the Secretary demonstrates how the State plan fails” – 1111(e)1B

“The Secretary [federal] shall have the authority to disapprove a State plan” – 1111(e)2 D

“If a State makes significant changes to its State plan, such as the adoption of new State academic standards or new academic assessments, or adopts a new State accountability system, such information shall be submitted to the Secretary under subsection (e)(2) for approval.” – 1111 (f)

“If a State fails to meet any of the requirements of this section then the Secretary shall withhold funds” – 1111(g)

  • Attack on parental rights via stopping opt out movement:

“Assessments shall… be administered to not less than 95 percent of all students, and not less than 95 percent of each subgroup of students”- 1111(b)(2)(B)(xiii)

 

  • Hacking off religious freedom and autonomy for any private school receiving any federal dollars for programs:

“The control of funds provided under this subpart, and title to materials, equipment, and property purchased with such funds, shall be in a public agency, and a public agency shall administer such funds, materials, equipment, and property…  independent of such private school and of any religious organization.” 1120(d)(2)(B)

  •  Pretending that federal FERPA hasn’t been shot full of holes and depending on FERPA for privacy rights (what privacy rights?)

“Information collected under this section shall be collected and disseminated in a manner that protects the privacy of individuals consistent with section 444 of the General Education Provisions Act and this Act.” – 1111(i)  For more on FERPA’s deliberate loosening (destruction) by the Dept. of Ed, see the E.P.I.C. lawsuit.

  • Failing to require parental consent for state data mining of children’s personally identifable information

Nada.  Do a word search for “SLDS” or “State Longitudinal Database Systems” or “SIF” or “CEDS” and you will find nothing.  There is no protection.  There is no informed consent.  There is no parental-consent requirement–  not here and not in FERPA.

  • Creating unelected committees that have real power over state citizens who did not elect them. (And using these unelected groups to eliminate policies that don’t match federal policies)

“State rules, regulations, and policies… conform to… the committee of practitioners”

“Each State educational agency that receives funds under this title shall create a State committee of practitioners”

“Eliminate the rules and regulations that are duplicative of Federal requirements… identify any duplicative or contrasting requirements between the State and Federal rules or regulations; report any conflicting requirements to the Secretary… (1403)

  • Failing to provide enforcement for autonomy which means there won’t be any state autonomy from the feds.

State autonomy is in no way enforceable by HR5.  It’s not in there.  That is the problem.  It’s just talking points about state’s rights, with no support.

  • Extending federal tentacles and data collection to preschoolers.

“perform child-find screening services for the preschool-aged children of the tribe” – 5133 a

“assessment of  family-based, early childhood, and preschool programs for Native Hawaiians” – 5304 (c) 2

“evaluate the aggregate short- and long-term effects and cost efficiencies across Federal programs… under this Act and related Federal preschool, elementary, and secondary programs”  – 6601

 “improve the identification of homeless children (including preschool-aged homeless children and youths) ” – 702

“Coordinator for Education of Homeless Children and Youths established in each State shall— gather and make publically available… comprehensive information on— the number of homeless children and youths identified… the nature and extent of the problems homeless children and youths have in gaining access to public preschool programs” – 702

collect data for and transmit to the Secretary, at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may require, a report containing information necessary to assess the educational needs of homeless children and youths within the State, including data necessary for the Secretary to fulfill the responsibilities… including teachers, special education personnel, administrators, and child development and preschool program personnel – 702

“Plans required:  … how the local educational agency will use funds under this subpart to support preschool programs”  – 1112

  • Reinforcing socialist alignment of schools to workforce, putting economy first without regard for students

“Each State plan shall demonstrate [to the feds] that the State has developed and is implementing a single, statewide accountability system to ensure that all public school students graduate from high school prepared for postsecondary education or the workforce” -1111  (This is repeated and repeated. A word search for “workforce” turns up 22 times in this bill.)

  • Retaining federal testing mandates

“Academic assessments… shall—  be used in determining the performance of each local educational agency and public school… be aligned with the State’s academic standards and provide coherent and timely information about student attainment of such standards… be consistent with… nationally recognized… technical standards… be administered in each of grades 3 through 8 and at least once in grades 9 through 12… in the case of science, be administered not less than one time during—grades 3 through 5;  grades 6 through 9; and in the case of any other subject chosen by the State, be administered at the discretion of the State; measure individual student academic proficiency and, at the State’s discretion, growth…  be administered through multiple assessments during the course of the academic year that result in a single summative score that provides valid, reliable, and transparent information on student achievement … enable results to be disaggregated… be administered to not less than 95 percent of all students, and not less than 95 percent of each subgroup of students described in paragraph (3)(B)(ii)(II); and be the same academic assessments used to measure the academic achievement of all public school students… provide for— the participation in such assessments of all students… produce individual student interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports regarding achievement on such assessments in … uniform format…” –1111

  • Promoting psychological profiling of students 

“Assessments … (xi) “produce individual student interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports regarding achievement on such assessments” -1111

As American Principles in Action pointed out, “HR5 does nothing to stop NAEP from implementing its planned and unconstitutional affective probing of students’ “mindsets,” “grit,” or other psychological traits.  (To see the Dept. of Education’s recommendation that schools engage in psychological and biometric profiling, read its report here, especially page 44.)

 cry

“THE EVERY CHILD ACHIEVES ACT”

***S1177 section numbers for reference: 

  • Pretending to protect states and parents from federal overreach using redundant, nonhelpful (and contradictory) language

First the bill raises our hopes; the talking points sound good; maybe this won’t be a federal sledgehammer to parents and states.  The bill’s sections 5001-5010 (a large chunk of the very large bill)  even go under the title “Empowering Parents and Expanding Opportunity Through Innovation”.  Sounds nice.  But deep inside, the bill almost conceals ugly and unconstitutional words like this:

“State plan disapproval: The Secretary shall have the authority to disapprove a State plan” –1004

“If the Secretary determines that a State plan does not meet the requirements of this subsection or subsection (b) or (c), the Secretary shall, prior to declining to approve the State plan immediately notify the State of such determination… offer the State an opportunity to revise” –1111

“A State educational agency may use not more than 5 percent of the amount made available to the State… for the following activities…”

“Closing student achievement gaps, and preparing more students to be college and career ready” -2501(4)    (Making everyone common does tend to close the achievement gaps, by slowing those who would otherwise soar ahead of the mediocre and the slow.)

  • Cementing the unconstitutional Fed-Master/State-Servant relationship

“State plan disapproval: The Secretary shall have the authority to disapprove a State plan” –1004

“For any State desiring to receive a grant under this part, the State educational agency shall submit to the Secretary a plan…” – 1111

  • Retaining federal testing and standards mandates

“Same standards: … standards required by subparagraph (A) shall be the same standards that the State applies to all public schools and public school students” –1111   (Do you want to give the feds the authority to dictate uniformity to us?  What if a state wants to be innovative and diverse and various? That won’t be allowed by this federal law.)

“Alignment: Each State shall demonstrate that the challenging State academic standards are aligned with entrance requirements, without the need for academic remediation, for the system of public higher education in the State; relevant State career and technical education standards; and relevant State early learning guidelines” –1111

“Measures the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students, and students in each of the categories of students” -1204

“Measure the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students and students in each of the categories of students” – 1205

  • Adding to the list of programs States must consult, and aligning with workforce socialism program

“(aa) student readiness to enter postsecondary education or the workforce” -1111  (repeated many times)

“an application … shall include the following: A description of… assets, identified by the State… which shall include— an analysis of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education quality and outcomes in the State…  labor market information regarding the industry and business workforce needs within the State….”  –2504

  • Dictating types of testing– including using nonacademic, interpretive, and diagnostic student reports

“produce individual student interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports…  include information regarding achievement on academic assessments aligned with challenging State academic achievement standards… in  uniform format” –1111(b) (2) (B) (vi) (xiii)

“(vi) involve multiple up-to-date measures of student academic achievement, including measures that assess higher-order thinking skills and understanding, which may include measures of student academic growth and may be partially delivered in the form of portfolios, projects, or extended performance tasks” – 1111 (b) (2) (B) (vi)

Assessments must  “be administered through a single summative assessment; or be administered through multiple statewide assessments during the course of the year if the State can demonstrate that the results of these multiple assessments, taken in their totality, provide a summative score” – 1111 (b) (2) (B) (viii)

“(xiii) be developed, to the extent practicable, using the principles of universal design for learning.” – 1111 (b) (2) (B) (xiii)

 

  • Forcing out the parental opt-out movement; also, booting family out and putting government in to the center of the universe.

Crushing opt outs, each state test must “Measures the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students, and students in each of the categories of students” -1204

Same:  “Measure the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students and students in each of the categories of students” – 1205

Schools to be far, far more than places to learn numeracy and literacy:  “21st Century Learning Centers… an array of additional services, programs, and activities, such as youth development activities, service learning, nutrition and health education, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, art, music, physical fitness and wellness programs, technology education programs, financial literacy programs, math, science, career and technical programs, internship or apprenticeship programs, and other ties to an in-demand industry sector” – 4201

“address family instability, school climate, trauma, safety, and nonacademic learning.”  -7304

Hearingless Congressional Vote Scheduled for S227 – Children Losing Privacy – SETRA Bill   8 comments

The press release below came out today, February 23, 2015, from Kate Bryan at American Principles in Action.

I have not read this bill.  When I do, I will write about it.  

The vote is scheduled for two days from now… so read, please, and comment here and to your reps and senators.   I am posting this ASAP because I received it from Emmett McGroarty of American Principles Project, whom I trust as an honest leader in preserving parental rights and Constitutional liberty.  

Here’s a link to this huge data collection bill.

stealth assessment baby

 

                               

CONTACT: Kate Bryan

American Principles in Action     

202-503-2010

kbryan@americanprinciplesproject.org

                                           

 Congressional Leadership Attempting to Ram Child Data Collection Bill Through Congress

Washington, D.C.–American Principles in Action is calling on Congress to oppose S.227, the Strengthening Education through Research Act (SETRA), which would violate the privacy of millions of students and parents.

SETRA is scheduled to be voted on Wednesday, February 25th in the U.S. House—even though the Senate has not yet voted on the bill. Congressional leadership intends to call a vote on the matter in both the House and the Senate this week, despite neither body holding a hearing on the bill.

“SETRA is dangerous legislation that would expand federal psychological profiling of children through expanding research on ‘social and emotional learning,’” said Jane Robbins, Senior Fellow at American Principles in Action.  “It would facilitate sharing of education statistics across states and agencies. It would continue to rely on the now-gutted FERPA statute to protect student data. SETRA must be defeated to protect student privacy rights.”

Emmett McGroarty, Director of Education at American Principles in Action, said, “Leadership is betraying the Constitution and the American people by rushing this bill through. Having so blithely disrespected the American people, it is difficult to see how they will ever regain their trust.”

American Principles in Action’s concerns with SETRA are three-fold:

1.) SETRA reauthorizes ESRA, the Education Sciences Reform Act, first passed in 2002, which facilitates intrusive data collection on students. ESRA began the idea of state longitudinal databases, which created the structure that would facilitate a de facto national student database. ESRA also eliminated previous penalties for sharing and otherwise misusing student data.

2.) SETRA allows for psychological profiling of our children, raising serious privacy concerns. Section 132, page 28 of SETRA: “…and which may include research on social and emotional learning, and the acquisition of competencies and skills, including the ability to think critically, solve complex problems, evaluate evidence, and communicate effectively…”

This means the federal government will continue to promote collection of students’ psychological information. APIA does not support allowing the federal government to maintain psychological dossiers on our children.

3.) SETRA depends on FERPA to protect student privacy, legislation that is now outdated and has been gutted by regulation. FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, passed in 1974, and is no longer sufficient to protect student privacy in the age of technology. Even worse, the Obama Administration gutted FERPA so that it no longer offers the protections it once did.

American Principles In Action is a 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to preserving and propagating the fundamental principles on which our country was founded. It aims to return our nation to an understanding that governance via these timeless principles will strengthen us as a country.

For further information or to schedule an interview with Jane Robbins or Emmett McGroarty, please contact Kate Bryan at American Principles in Action at 202-503-2010 or kbryan@americanprinciplesproject.org.

American Principles Project Launches Parents Against Common Core   Leave a comment

I love this.

The American Principles Project launched a new website called Parents Against Common Core, to help educate and empower parents about education reforms.

The videos are short, personal, and powerful.   Here’s just one, from Ohio’s Heidi Huber.

Click here to see the rest.

Thank you, American Principles Project.

Pullman: Common Core is the Big Election Issue That Politicians Try to Ignore   2 comments

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.

Emmett McGroarty Video Interview: Stop Common Core   2 comments

Attorney Emmett McGroarty speaks about the national effort to stop Common Core. McGroarty leads the Preserve Innocence Initiative of the American Principles Project.

MSNBC Video: Emmett McGroarty on Common Core and Local Control   1 comment

http://americanprinciplesproject.org/preserve-innocence/2013/emmett-talks-common-core-on-msnbc/

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].”

I agree!

North Carolina Stands Up to Goliath   2 comments

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.)
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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.)

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