Archive for the ‘Essay’ Tag

Education Commander David Coleman’s New Essay   9 comments

dv

Mark Twain said that it’s easier to fool people than it is to convince them that they have been fooled.

Having tried and failed for (going on three) years to persuade Governor Herbert and the State School Board of Utah to withdraw from the Common Core Initiative and its snake oil data mining programs, I agree with Twain.

And I’ve stopped trying to figure out whether people who promote or go along with Common Core are witting villains or not, remembering my dad’s saying, that it doesn’t matter much if someone is a pawn or a knave; the results of their actions or inactions are the same.

Actual villains don’t have claws and fangs to tip us off, like characters in a Disney movie; they don’t even know they’re on team villain, in most cases. Out of ignorance and arrogance, most villains sincerely believe in their paths.

disney villian

 

Consider the case of David Coleman, who wrote the Common Core English Language Arts Standards and then snagged the gig of president of the College Board (the group that creates college entrance exams and writes the A.P. standards and tests).

Coleman’s villainy, in my opinion, really boils down to his own blinding pride.  As Homeschool Defense Association President Michael Farris smartly said: “I told Mr. Coleman… Just because you have a good idea (homeschooling in my case, Common Core in his case), it doesn’t mean that it is appropriate to force everyone in the country to follow your idea. And that is my central problem with the Common Core and all forms of centralized educational planning.”

It’s strange that Coleman, a non-teacher, a businessman, believed that he held the only vision for what was best for every American child’s education, and also sincerely believed that it was a veddy, veddy good idea to impose it, by unconstitutional means if necessary, on the entire nation.

Just watch the first minute of this video.

He admitted on this film that he went around talking governors into his vision. (It wasn’t the governors who thought of Common Core; it was Coleman.  Coleman didn’t realize that governors don’t have constitutional authority to represent voters in creating a national education system.)

But Coleman was so convinced of the superiority of his ideas that he successfully directed their imposition on K-12 schools throughout America, and then successfully altered college entrance exams to match his Common Core.  That’s a lot of power in one guy.

That’s a lot of nerve in one guy, too.  Where did he get the nerve to defy millions of teachers, years of time-tested tradition, simple logic and all due process?   I don’t know.

There have been excellent rebuttals to the David Coleman version of education– don’t know if anyone’s read them:  Dr. Thomas Newkirk, of University of New Hampshire, has written “Speaking Back to the Common Core,” one of my favorites.   Dr. Terrence Moore’s “The Storykillers” is another.

But recently, in response to Coleman’s completely mis-titled essay, “Cultivating Wonder” two additional educators have spoken up eloquently:  Professor Nick Tampio of Fordham University and teacher Peter Greene of Pennsylvania.

The purpose of my post today is to share what they have said.

Tampio’s and Greene’s reviews clarify what’s wrong with Coleman’s Common Core vision: 1) Faulty, narrow assumptions in the actual standards  2) The restrictiveness; in other words, even if the standards weren’t faulty, they are one person’s vision: we’re all stuck with his One True Vision.  Nobody else gets a voice.

Professor Nick Tampio writes that Coleman’s Common Core:

1.  Places “tight restrictions on what may be thought — or at least what may be expressed to earn teacher approval, high grades and good test scores.”

2. “Expects students to answer questions by merely stringing together key words in the text before them. This does not teach philosophy or thinking; it teaches the practice of rote procedures, conformity and obedience.”

3. Minimally discusses historical context or outside sources that may make material come alive.  “For instance, he suggests that teachers ask students, “What word does Lincoln use most often in the address?” rather than, say, discuss the Civil War.”

4. “Discourages students from making connections between ideas, texts or events in the world — in a word, from thinking. Students are not encouraged to construct knowledge and understanding; they must simply be adept at repeating it.”

5.  Imposes Coleman’s philosophy of education across all subjects. [Coleman] observes, “ ‘Similar work could be done for texts … in other areas such as social studies, history, science and technical subjects.’ Like a chef’s signature flavor, Coleman’s philosophy of education permeates the myriad programs that the College Board runs.”

6. Copies China’s test-centric system.  “U.S. schools have educated many successful intellectuals, artists and inventors. By contrast, the Chinese model of education emphasizes rigorous standards and high-stakes tests, pre-eminently the gaokao college entrance exam. Chinese policymakers rue, however, how this education culture stifles creativity, curiosity and entrepreneurship. The Common Core will lead us to the same trap. Educators should not discard what has made the U.S. a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

7.  Disrespects student individuality.  “In perhaps his most famous public statement, Coleman told a room of educators not to teach students to write personal narratives, because “as you grow up in this world, you realize that people really don’t give a shit about what you feel or what you think.” This statement expresses, albeit more crassly, the same sentiment as his essay on cultivating wonder. He demands that students do what they are told and not offer their own perspectives on things.”

Pennsylvania teacher Peter Greene is likewise more than slightly annoyed at David Coleman.

Greene notes that Coleman is a “man who has singlehandedly tried to redefine what it means to be an educated human being.”

Greene writes, “Some reformsters may pay lip service to the accumulated wisdom of the vast army of professional educators; Coleman never does.”   Coleman “is not here to share some ideas and techniques teacher to teacher, but is here to give his superior insights to the nation full old lesser beings who are hopelessly lost and failing.”

In sum:

“Coleman repeatedly fails to distinguish between his own experience of the text and Universal Truth. This leads him to believe apparently that if he just figured something out about Bernardo, he must be the first person ever to see it, that his own reaction to a line is the universal one, that his path into the text is the only one, and that things that do not matter to him should not matter to anybody. Of all the reformsters, he is the one least likely to ever acknowledge contributions of any other living human being. For someone who famously said that nobody gives a shot about your thoughts and feelings, Coleman is enormously fascinated by and has great fait on his own thoughts and feelings.”

“…Coleman thinks a standardized test is really a great model of life, where there’s always just one correct answer, one correct path, one correct reading, and life is about showing that you have it (or telling other people to have it)…  what David Coleman doesn’t know about literature is what David Coleman doesn’t know about being human in the world. Life is not a bubble test. There is a richness and variety in human experience that Coleman simply does not recognize nor allow for.

His view of knowledge, learning, understanding, and experience is cramped and tiny. It’s unfortunate that circumstances have allowed him such unfettered power over the very idea of what an educated person should be.  It’s like making a person who sees only black and white the High Minister of National Art.”

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Thank you, Nick Tampio and Peter Greene.

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The SAT “Upgrade” Is A Big Mistake: By Peter Wood   3 comments

This article was originally posted at MindingTheCampus.Com.  It is reposted with permission.    The author is president of the National Association of Scholars.

 

peter wood

The SAT “Upgrade” Is A Big Mistake

Guest post by Peter Wood

 

The College Board is reformulating the SAT.  Again.

The new changes, like others that have been instituted since the mid 1990s, are driven by politics. David Coleman, head of the College Board, is also the chief architect of the Common Core K-12 State Standards, which are now mired in controversy across the country.  Coleman’s initiative in revising the SAT should be seen first of all as a rescue mission.  As the Common Core flounders, he is throwing it an SAT life preserver. I’ll explain, but first let’s get the essentials of how the SAT is about to change.

Changes

The essay is now optional, ending a decade-long experiment in awarding points for sloppy writing graded by mindless formulae.

The parts of the test that explored the range and richness of a student’s vocabulary have been etiolated. The test now will look for evidence that students are familiar with academic buzzwords and jargon.  The College Board calls this “Relevant Words in Context.”  Test-takers won’t have to “memorize obscure words” but instead “will be asked to interpret the meaning of words based on the context of the passage in which they appear.”

The deductions for guessing wrong are gone.  Literally, there will be no harm in guessing.

Math will narrow to linear equations, functions, and proportions.

The scale on which scores are recorded will revert to the old 800 each on two sections, from the current 2,400 on three sections.  (Goodbye essay points.)

The old verbal section will be replaced by “evidence-based reading and writing.”

All the tests will include snippets from America’s Founding Documents.

What They Mean

The College Board’s announcement of these changes came under the headline “Delivering Opportunity: Redesigning the SAT Is Just One Step.”  The “delivering opportunity” theme is divided into three parts:

Ensure that students are propelled forward.

Provide free test preparation for the world.

Promote excellent classroom work and support students who are behind.

There is a thicket of explanation behind each of these headings, some of it beyond silly.  We learn, for example, that the College Board, “cannot stand by while students’ futures remain unclaimed.”  Unclaimed?  Like lottery prizes?  Like coats left in a checkroom?

If you work your way through this folderol, it appears that the College Board is launching a whole battery of new diversity programs.   “Access to Opportunity (“A2O”) pushes (“propels”) low-income, first-generation, underrepresented students to college.  The “All In Campaign” aims “to ensure to ensure that every African American, Latino, and Native American student who is ready for rigorous work takes an AP course or another advanced course.”  Another program offers college application fee waivers.

Those initiatives bear on the redesigned SAT mainly as evidence of the College Board’s preoccupation with its ideas about social justice.  The announcement of the changes in the SAT itself is succinct–and friendly, with helpful icons to get across ideas like “documents”–

The redesigned SAT will focus on the knowledge and skills that current research shows are most essential for college and career readiness and success. The exam will reflect the best of classroom work:

  • Relevant words in context
  • Command of evidence
  • Essay analyzing a source
  • Math focused on three key areas
  • Problems grounded in real-world contexts
  • Analysis in science and social studies
  • Founding documents and great global conversation
  • No penalty for wrong answers

The student who comes across the College Board’s explanation–and maybe even the journalist who reads it–might miss the full weight of that key phrase “college and career readiness.”  That’s the smoking gun that what is really happening in the College Board’s revision of the SAT is that the test is being wrenched into alignment with the Common Core.  That phrase, “college and career readiness,” is the Common Core mantra.  The Common Core was vigorously promoted to the states and to the public as something that would “raise standards” in the schools by creating a nationwide framework that would lead students to “college readiness.”

But alas, as the Common Core Standards emerged, it became apparent that they set a ceiling on the academic preparation of most students.  Students who go through schools that follow the Common Core Standards will be ill-prepared for the rigors of college.  That is, unless something can be done on the other end to ensure that colleges lower their standards. Then everything will be well.

The Bind

None of this might matter if the Common Core were just a baseline and students and schools could easily move above it if they wished to.  The trouble is that the Common Core has been designed to be a sticky baseline. It is hard for schools to rise above it.  There are two reasons for that.

First, it uses up most of the time in a K-12 curriculum, leaving little room for anything else.

Second, the states that were leveraged into it via Obama’s “Race to the Top” agreed that students who graduate from high school with a Common Core education and are admitted to public colleges and universities will automatically be entered into “credit-bearing courses.”  This is tricky.  Essentially what it means is that public colleges will have to adjust their curricula down to the level of knowledge and skill that the Common Core mandates.  And that in turn means that most schools will have little reason to offer anything beyond the Common Core, even if they can.

In this way, the Common Core floor becomes very much a ceiling too.  The changes in the SAT are meant to expedite this transition.

The Common Core Connection

The life-preserver that the College Board is throwing to the Common Core is a redefinition of what it means to be “college ready.” The SAT after all is a test aimed at determining who is ready for college. An SAT refurbished to match what the Common Core actually teaches instead of what colleges expect freshmen to know will go far to quiet worries that the Common Core is selling students short.  If the SAT says a student is “college ready,” who is to say that he is not?

The new changes in the SAT are meant first to skate around the looming problem that students educated within the framework of the Common Core would almost certainly see their performance on the old SAT plummet compared to students educated in pre-Common Core curricula.

The subject can get complicated, so it is best to consider an example.

Pre-pre-calculus

Perhaps the most vivid example of how the Common Core lowers standards and creates a situation which invites mischief with the SATs is the decision of the Common Core architects to defer teaching algebra to 9thgrade.  That move, along with several other pieces of the Common Core’s Mathematics Standards, generally means that students in high school will not reach the level of “pre-calculus.”  And that in turn means that as college freshmen, they will be at least a year behind where college freshmen used to be.  Instead of starting in with a freshman calculus course, they will have to start with complex numbers, trigonometric functions, conic sections, parametric equations, and the like.

Of course, lots of students who go to college today never take a calculus course and are in no way hindered if their high school math preparation stopped with binomial equations.  The trouble comes with students who wish to pursue science, technology, or engineering–the “STEM” fields. College curricula generally assume that students who set out to study these fields have already reached the level of calculus.

One might think that students who have aptitudes and interests in these areas could simply leapfrog the Common Core by taking accelerated math courses in high school.  Some indeed will be able to do just that.  They will be students who attend prosperous schools that have the resources to work around the Common Core.  Or they will be students whose parents pay for tutors or courses outside school.

We can be confident that Americans will be ingenious in finding ways to circumnavigate this new roadblock. And we can count on the emergence of entrepreneurs who will serve the market for extra-curricular math instruction.  There is no reason to think that MIT and Caltech will go begging for suitably prepared students.

But there is reason to worry that a large percentage of bright and capable students in ordinary American schools are going to be shortchanged in math.

And while I have chosen math as the example, the Common Core is up to similar mischief in English, and the SAT is being similarly altered to match the diminished K-12 curriculum there too. Those who have followed the debate on the Common Core will have some idea of how this works out.  The Common Core prizes “informational texts” above literature, and it prizes teaching students how to treat documents as “evidence” above teaching students how to search out the deeper meaning in what they read.  The Common Core approaches reading and writing in a utilitarian spirit. Clearly this has some power. It fosters certain kinds of analytic skills–those that might be called forensic.  But it scants the cultivation of other aspects of reading and writing, especially those that depend on analogy, implication, and aesthetic sense.

That’s why the Common Core has such limited use for imaginative literature and why it so readily turns to out-of-context excerpts and uprooted fragments.  Information is information; it does not much depend on a sense of the whole; nor does it depend on gathering in the unsaid background.  The now infamous example of the Common Core’s deracinated approach to writing is a reading of the Gettysburg Address shorn of any explanation that it was a speech commemorating a battlefield, let alone the battlefield of the decisive battle in the Civil War.

Presumably the Common Core folks will repair this particular mistake, but it is telling that it happened in the first place.  And it is telling that the College Board has adopted all the same conceptual devices in the new SAT:  relevant words in context, command of evidence, analyzing sources, and using fragments and excerpts of historical documents.  None of these by itself should raise concern.  Each is a legitimate line for testing.  But note that they come unaccompanied by anything that would balance the focus on “evidence-based” inquiry with examination of other skills.

A Puzzle

Why should a grandly announced effort to raise school standards end up lowering them instead?  The answer lies in the convergence of several political forces.  Politicians see a can’t-lose proposition in the conceit that everyone should have the opportunity to go to college.  School standards that really separated the wheat from the chaff would be unpopular.  Americans today like the pretense that the only thing that holds us back is external circumstance, not natural limitation.  And the academic “achievement gap” between Asians and whites on one hand and blacks and Hispanics on the other has made forthright discussion of standards extremely difficult.

For all these reasons, we Americans were in the market for a new brand of educational snake oil and the Common Core provided it.  Politicians on both sides of the aisle lined up to buy franchises: Obama on the left, Jeb Bush on the right, and many more.

Now that the charm has worn off, the politicians have become hotly defensive about their support for Common Core. This isn’t the place to delve into their excuses and recriminations, but it is important to remember that that rancor is the backdrop to the College Board’s decision to change the SAT. Again.

test

SAT Down

My account of what lies behind the changes differs quite a bit from whatThe New York Times reported. The Times story emphasized Coleman’s heroic decision to take on the test preparation industry, which profits by exploiting the anxieties of students over how they will perform on the SAT.  Test preparation can be expensive and thus wealthier families have an edge. According to the Times, Coleman declared, “It is time for the College Board to say in a clearer voice that the culture and practice of costly test preparation that has arisen around admissions exams drives the perception of inequality and injustice in our country.”

How exactly the changes in the SAT will combat that “culture and practice” is unclear.  The test preparation industry itself seemed to shrug at Coleman’s oration.  The Timesquotes a vice president for Kaplan Test Prep saying that “Test changes always spur demand.”

Coleman is far from the first to rejigger the SAT to advance a notion of equality and justice.  The SAT was invented in 1926 to open the doors to college for students who were natively smart but came from unpromising backgrounds.  Over the decades it became a primary tool for college admissions officers to match potential students with the level off rigor embodied in a college’s curriculum. The goal was to find students who in all likelihood would succeed.

That began to change with the push for racial preferences in college admissions in the 1970s and 1980s. As colleges and universities more and more foregrounded the goal of “diversity” in admissions, the SAT began to look like an embarrassing artifact of an earlier time.  It stood for established standards and evidence of intellectual reach at a time when it had become much more useful to emphasize “evolving” definitions of excellence and achievement.  The new approaches emphasized cultural variety in how people think and what they think about, and the greater relevance to college work of “personal perspective” and viewpoint over mere knowledge.  Likewise “experience” began to seem as valuable in a college applicant as intellectual skill.

The first real fruit of these new concerns was the “recentering” of the SAT’s scoring system in the 1990s, which ballooned the scores of mediocre students and erased the differences among students at the higher end of the scale.  Then, among other changes, came the elimination in 2002 of the verbal analogies portion of the tests, which jettisoned a section for the explicit reason that black students on average performed less well on it than they did on other sections.  That same year the College Board removed the “asterisk” that indicated that a student had taken the test with special accommodations such as extra time.

So the attempt to use the SAT as an instrument to advance “social justice” is, in a sense, more of the same.  We can expect most colleges and universities to welcome Coleman’s changes in that spirit. But there are always costs, and sooner or later we will pay them.  We are embarking on a great expansion of the left’s long-term project of trading off our best chances to foster individual excellence for broadly-distributed access to mediocre education.

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Thank you, Peter Wood.

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Wasatch County Republican Party Essay Contest   Leave a comment

The Wasatch County Republican Party has invited citizens to write essays answering the question:

How do conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?”

The winning essay will be presented at next week’s Lincoln Day breakfast, where Utah’s Governor Herbert, Senator Van Tassel, Senator Chaffetz, Representative Powell and many others will be in attendance and/or will be speaking.  The deadline for entries is tomorrow.

I’m posting my essay here. Because the conservative principles that touch me most are “consent of the governed” and “local

control” (especially, of course, of children’s education)

The Consent of the Governed/ Local Control

A University of Utah exhibit recently displayed original letters, newspapers and books that had been written by colonial American freedom fighters such as Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin. On display also were original documents written by British loyalists.
Never before had I read both the freedom fighters’ side of the argument and the other side’s articulate point of view. A heated argument ran through the documents. It boiled down to this: either you stood for local freedom, or you stood for remaining a managed colony under England’s non-representative system.
The arguments illustrated the conflict that exists between conservative principles– government by the consent of the governed and local control– versus opposing principles: rule assumed by the will of others, (such as rule by a king) or top-down, unrepresentative, distant control.
In retrospect, it feels obvious that the freedom fighters’ side of the issue was right.

But during the debates of the 1770’s it was not so clear. Both sides had reasoning that made some sense.

Similar, confusing battles about freedom go on in America today– battles for local control, independence, and real representation. These battles continue because some Americans think –or hope– that we live in a top-down kingdom, with the President like a Pharaoh ruling over the states. But our nation is a Constitutional Republic, ruled by laws and by a separation of powers into three branches, each of which is equal– the Supreme Court, Congress, and the Executive Branch. There is a balance of roles for the states and the federal government to play. There is no Pharaoh.

Because I’ve been a teacher most of my life, my freedom-focus is on the ongoing battle for local educational freedom. This is a Constitutional right I wish to preserve. But it will not be, unless enough people: a) realize that we’ve recently given away that right, by adopting Common Core standards and tests, and: b) realize the strength of our position to reclaim our educational sovereignty, because of the Constitution.

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution gives states the sole right to set education policy. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States…or to the people.” States should never have given that power away to a federal agency nor to any out-of-state test writing consortia, regardless of any federal incentives, but many did.

An additional law, the General Educational Provisions Act (GEPA) states that the federal government is forbidden to “exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system…”

Yet the Common Core State Standards, which were incentivized and promoted by the Department of Education, lured Utah and many other states from their previously held educational autonomy.

How did Common Core take over? It slid under the public radar, wearing the sheep’s clothing of a grant opportunity called Race to the Top (RTTT). When Utah applied for the lottery-styled RTTT grant, one condition the federal agency had set to improve a state’s chances of winning was that states would agree to adopt Common Core. Although Utahns hadn’t read it, the school board agreed to it without public vetting. The board wanted the funds and the deadline was short.

RTTT money went to a some states, but not to Utah. Still, states who applied had agreed to adopt Common Core regardless of the money. States adopting Common Core “sold their educational birthrights without even getting the mess of pottage,” observed S.C. Senator Mike Fair.

But who noticed? With Common Core came loud promises of grandeur. Common Core claimed it would increase college readiness and would promote international competitiveness, and it was said to be “state-led”–without federal strings attached. Sadly, the claims were the opposite of what Common Core would actually do.

Along with questions of the Common Core harming quality education, creating huge data privacy invasions and gouging taxpayers, the bigger issue, which newspapers seemed to miss, was an irreparable concern –beyond the educational standards themselves. It was the principle of local control; educational free agency. Standards and tests would no longer be set by states.

Nationwide, debate about Common Core asks: Is student-centered or teacher-directed learning more effective; is cursive important; is common core math an increase in rigor or a dumbing down?

Calling the Common Core an improvement seems unreasonable, since its deletes cursive, minimizes narrative writing, eliminates a majority of classic literature and stunts math teaching. But even if the Common Core standards were actually good, the debaters miss a much bigger picture: they have given up local control over changing the standards; have given up the right to meaningfully argue about standards anymore.

Common Core standards are tightly controlled. First, they are under copyright by the CCCSSO/NGA, groups which claim to be the “sole developers”; second, there is no amendment process, thus no way citizens can vote out those who write the standards; and last, the federal government has put an additional 15% cap on top of the copyright, so no state may add anything to the standards.

But the standards don’t need federal police enforcement or the 15% cap; the tests themselves will motivate compliance. Teachers, prodded by the knowledge that their jobs are at stake if students test poorly on the tests, will naturally teach only the Common Core standards and will use the model curriculum being created by the federally funded test writers.

Where’s the freedom in that? Where’s the local control?

Common Core proponents say, “We can exit Common Core anytime we like.” That’s like a 1770’s colonist saying, “We can toss tea into the ocean any time,” while deliberately investing their personal fortunes and their children’s apprenticeships in British tea.

It is true that states may withdraw from Common Core, but it is unlikely to happen. The public has been led –by falsehood– to believe that the standards are good for our children, and the public has been denied a truthful taxpayers’ cost analysis of the implementation price tag of Common Core.

Now, with every Common Core textbook we purchase, with every Common Core teacher development seminar we fund, with every day that brings us closer to the Common Core national tests of 2014, we incrementally give up the likelihood that we will ever again govern education locally. The academic and financial costs are inestimable.

The Department of Education is poised to encroach further. After providing funds to make longitudinal database systems for all states to be interoperable with other states’ agencies, the Department made sure its system (via the National Center for Educational Statistics model and via alterations to FERPA privacy regulations) would have access to personal, nonacademic student data and academic data without parental consent.

The Department has made sure it can view the state-collected student data via the Common tests. The Department signed “Cooperative Agreements” with consortia representatives which bound states to share testing ideas and results with other testing consortia, under the eye of the Department of Education.

One of America’s strengths has long been its educated people; the world has flocked to American universities; we have had one of the most intellectually diverse education systems in the world. But an additional, painful cost to American freedom will be the loss of diversity and excellence to come soon to American universities. Common Core’s rigid K-12 tests, and also the new college entrance tests, will force everyone, from preschool through college, to march to the same dreary tune: governmentally-capped standards and tests.

The new president of the U.S. College Board, David Coleman, who also led the writing of the ELA Common Core, is aligning college entrance exams (SAT) with Common Core. So universities, via the common tests, will necessarily cater to the Common Core, which will do them significant harm. (Remember, Common Core minimizes literature, deletes cursive, reverts Algebra II from 8th to 9th grade, and reverts Calculus from high school to college level. –Among other damages.)

What can be done?

South Carolina, Indiana and Missouri have written legislation to withdraw their states from Common Core. If Utah does not follow suit, and declare independence from Common Core, the state will be increasingly managed as an educational colony under federal and CCSSO/NGA rules, with no say in testing, standards or over the privacy of students. Our founding fathers gave states the responsibility to educate in our Constitutional Republic. Unless we remember and use this privilege, it’s gone.

Thomas Paine described the 1776 opportunity to depart from England’s rule: “like a name engraved with the point of a pin on the tender rind of a young oak, the wound would enlarge with the tree, and posterity read in it full grown characters.”

Our current opportunity to declare independence by withdrawing from a national Common Core is just as real.

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