Archive for the ‘heartland institute’ Tag

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.

Wyoming Teacher Christy Hooley Speaks Out on Common Core   1 comment

Christy Hooley

By Christy Hooley, Wyoming Teacher (Reposted with permission)

In the course of a year and a half, I have found myself thrown into the midst of what is one of our nation’s greatest grassroots movements. I could have NEVER imagined those short 18 months ago, what my life currently entails, that my love of being in the classroom, the thrill of watching my students grow and learn, building relationships with them, and my colleagues, would have been replaced: Replaced by my desire to help restore, educate, and fix what has long been a broken education system.

Broken….wow, I still can’t believe I am saying that. After all, that has been my goal since I graduated from high school. To be a teacher. I LOVED going to public school. I look up to many of my teachers and colleagues. Mr. Hoyt (who taught for 40+ years in the same position) – was the first teacher to start me on the path of loving music and the clarinet, which ultimately opened up many possibilities in higher education for me over the years. Eric Stemle and Maryanne Bocquin, for instilling a love of the English Language and Literature.

What has caused this deep reflection…

It’s realizing that my passion for education is still alive and well, it has just taken on a new face!

I was recently interviewed by Joy Pullman, and during the interview I described what started me on the path I’m currently on. (Joy Pullmann is a research fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing editor of School Reform News, a national monthly publication. Pullmann has been published in the New York Times, Washington Examiner, The Weekly Standard, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, National Review Online, Real Clear Policy, and various other U.S. newspapers and outlets. She is the author of Heartland’s Policy Document, The Common Core: A Poor Choice for States.)

I highly recommend you read this and encourage others that are looking to find out more on the subject. You can download the full document on their site here, as well as other documents, videos, PowerPoints, and testimonies concerning Common Core.

Joy asked if I was willing to share my experience, as a public school teacher being trained to use Common Core State Standards, and how it lead me to take the position I currently do, against it. I also share my experience with teacher evaluations during the interview.

You can listen to the full interview here: Podcast with Joy Pullman

Part of the interview discusses my experience with the new McREL’s Teacher Evaluation System that the state of Wyoming has adopted.

It assess a teacher’s performance as it relates to the Professional Teaching Standards. These Professional Teaching Standards are the basis for teacher preparation, teacher evaluation, and professional development. Each standard includes the skills and knowledge needed for, what the creators deem, is needed for 21st century teaching and learning.

Here is what is stated on their training materials introductory page:

A NEW VISION OF TEACHING

The different demands on 21st century education dictates new roles for teachers in their classrooms an schools. These new roles reflect a deeper understanding about the content knowledge, skills, competencies, and outcomes that define a successful student in the 21st century. Teachers must understand what comprises a 21st century education and how their practice must reflect the demands of the education in order to realize a new vision of teaching.

These are the standards:

1: Teachers Demonstrate Leadership

2: Teachers Establish a Respectful Environment for a diverse population of students

3. Teachers Know the Content They Teach

4. Teachers Facilitate Learning for Their Students

5. Teachers Reflect on their practice

The standards are broken down with very detailed information for each individual standard. Teachers are rated as either: Developing, Proficient, Accomplished, Distinguished.

I found it extremely concerning at my end of the year evaluation, that my administrator chose not to give me a distinguished verses accomplished rating on the sub section of standard 4:

Standard 4 Section f states “Teachers help students work in teams and develop leadership qualities. Teachers teach the importance of cooperation an collaboration. They organize learning teams in order to help students define roles, strengthen social ties, improve communication and collaborative skills, interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds, and develop leadership qualities.”

My administrator mentioned she felt I needed to attend a particular training about collaborative teams she felt strongly about, before I could be marked higher. We debated it back and forth a bit, but of course it was her ultimate choice where to rate me.

My concern after reflecting on this process, is that this is truly about control, control of how and even what a teacher teaches. What if future circumstances required a higher rating to keep my job, position, or status. I would need to take the training my administrator suggested, even if it was against my personal philosophy as a teacher.

The fact that my administrator can come into my classroom a handful of times, if I’m lucky, and gain a TRUE and ACCURATE understand of my teaching is ludicrous. The majority of the teachers I speak with roll their eyes and just “jump through the hoops”. Test scores being tied into this is something that should wake teachers up!

B.A.T.S.

Recently, I have been encouraged to see a new movement among teachers, rightly named as BATS – The Badass Teacher’s Association. They have a HUGE following on their facebook group of nearly 30,000 members. Their mission and goals are:

MISSION: Badass …Teachers Association was created to give voice to every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality through education. BAT members refuse to accept assessments, tests and evaluations created and imposed by corporate driven entities that have contempt for authentic teaching and learning.

GOALS: BATs aim to reduce or eliminate the use of high stakes testing, increase teacher autonomy in the classroom and work to include teacher and family voices in legislative decision-making processes that affect students.

MEMBERS CAN BE BANNED FOR: Supporting corporate deform entities (TFA, StudentsFirst, Pearson, Bill Gates, etc.); supporting Common Core State Standards; excessive arguing or disrespecting decisions made by the mods/admins/founders, making comments that conflict with the mission of BAT. We oppose the Common Core State Standards.

Some feel it is offensive or unprofessional to use the word “badass” and are uncomfortable with its use. We disagree. As Dr. Naison says: “We’ve had enough. We are not your doormats. We are not your punching bags. We are some of the hardest working, most idealistic people in this country and we are not going to take it anymore. We are going to stand up for ourselves, and stand up for our students even if no organization really supports us. We are Badass. We are legion. And we will force the nation to hear our voice!”

I may not be teaching in public school (I’m starting a private school/homeschool support academy), but they are near and dear to my heart and I’m proud to say I’m part of their movment…even the BADA$$ part, as they put it…

Jenni White, co-founder of ROPE (Restore Oklahoma Public Education) did a wonderful write up concerning this information. She states it perfectly when she asks,
TEACHER EFFECTIVENESS or CONFORMITY?”

I have been truly blessed to have met some of the most intelligent, hard working, caring, passionate, American loving, patriotic people in this movement! Some of them call themselves “JUST MOMS” as Jenni White so eloquently writes about. These are superwomen that call themselves Mom, but are also Common Core Warriors!

I want to give a special Wyoming Shout OUT to those whom I have had the pleasure to meet and thank them for leading this movement and supporting me!

Michelle Sabrosky and Lisa Glauner – Wyoming Freedom In Education and Stop CC in WY

Amy Edmonds and Susan Gore – Wyoming Liberty Group

Rep. Tom Reeder

Rep. Kendell Kroeker

Kelly Simone – Stop CC in WY

Erin Giving – Stop CC in WY

Judy Helmick – Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core

Shane Vander Hart and James – Truth In American Education

Bill and Karen Lee

Sean and Kris Sherwin

Natalie Clyde – Home School Warrior and awesome sister

Glenn J. Kimber Academy National

Kyle Olsen – EAGnews.org

Matt Kibbe, Whitney Neal, Caitlyn Korb, Kristina Ribali, Heather Williamson – FreedomWorks

Dr. Sandra Stotsky – CC Validation Committee and University of Arkansas

Joy Pullmann – Heartland Institute

Senator Mike Lee (Utah)

Christel Swasey, Renee Braddy, Alisa Ellis – What is Common Core

Glenn Beck (though it was just a quick hand shake at a book signing, he told me to “stay strong and keep fighting”)

Mom and Dad – I LOVE you!

Bill Hooley – my greatest support and love of my life!

~Christy
———————————————————————————————–

Thank you, Christy Hooley, for standing up and speaking out. (More writing and filmed discussions by Christy Hooley can be found at Wyoming Against the Common Core and at FreedomWorks.)

Video: Heritage Foundation and Heartland Institute Speak Out Against Common Core   3 comments

Joy Pullman of Heartland Institute and Lindsey Burke of Heritage Foundation give one of the most articulate, compelling presentations about Common Core that I’ve seen. These speakers are rock stars– they have studied the Common Core “education reform” agenda meticulously, and it shows. Watch this video!

Fighting the Adoption of Common Core-aligned Science Standards and Textbooks   1 comment

None of us have enough time to process, comprehend and then fight against all of the intrusions on our time and our God-given rights and liberty.

But some things are more important than others.  And fighting the adoption of Common Core-aligned science standards and textbooks must be high on the To-Do list.

Heartland Institute’s Joy Pullman explains it in a great article found here.  http://heartland.org/policy-documents/research-commentary-common-core-science-standards

She writes: “Individual liberty advocates counter that centralization in education is as foolish and damaging as centralizing the economy. They note the ideological tendencies of science education toward politics as a substitute for actual science, particularly in the area of highly debatable global warming alarmism, which is falsely assumed as reality in these standards. The standards also promote a simplified understanding of science and are still incoherent despite revisions…. They ignore central scientific concepts and push a progressive teaching style that has been proven to erode student learning…”

Yet textbook companies are rewriting science to align to the false assumptions of common core, so even those states who wisely rejected the common core or who aim to do so, will likely end up with common core textbooks anyway.

Here’s a letter I wrote to my local and state school boards and superintendents today.

Dear Superintendent and School Boards,
Our homeschooling group attended the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City yesterday. What a wonderful museum.  The Mummy exhibit was fascinating, the hands-on digital learning activities were great, the craft workshop and prosthetics exhibits and art were absolutely engaging for visitors of all ages.
But in the multi-room exhibit entitled “Human Rights Exhibit,” visitors were shown not only ecology art, but vocabulary words in the context of the claim that human behavior is killing plant and animal life –and will likely kill off the human race.  There were paintings of futuristic apartment projects teetering dangerously close to the ocean, on islands and cliffs.  The captions stated that because of the FACT of global warming and oceanic flooding, people will be living like this.
I use this as an example of the unscientific assumptions and lies being taught all around us, which are also loading the common core-aligned science standards and science textbooks coming our way.
Let’s not turn a blind eye to the ongoing politically-based rewrite of actual science.  Let’s stand independent of this.  Let’s actually teach the kids hard science based on settled facts as we did in all the wise years up till now.
For a detailed list of news articles and science reviews of Common Core science standards and textbooks, please read this.
http://heartland.org/policy-documents/research-commentary-common-core-science-standards
We have Martell Menlove’s word that Utah will never adopt Common Core science and social studies standards.  But with the majority of textbook companies belonging to the monopoly of the insanely unrepresentative system of Common Core, we as a state have to go out of our way to find true science for our kids.  Let’s do it.
Thanks for listening.
Christel Swasey
Utah Teacher
Heber City
——————————————————-
Green Insanity in the Schools Update:
Update from Illinois:  http://www.christianconservativeresistance.blogspot.com/2013/04/how-i-was-banned-from-my-childrens.html
You have to read this woman’s blog.  First, she and her husband protested the Disney-like green propaganda film that was shown to the elementary school children to “teach” them that humans are destroying the earth. Then she was banned from volunteering in the school.  Then she was reinstated.  Sigh.
——

National Twitter Rally TODAY: 9pm EST 7pm MST to #StopCommonCore   2 comments

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).

#Stopcommoncore           http://tinyurl.com/bs94qmb

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

The Nonsensical and ‘Lovey-Dovey’ National Governors’ Association   4 comments

Dear Christine Kearl,

It seems in the Governor’s best interest and in the best interest of Utahns for him to drop out of the National Governor’s Association (NGA).

This nonprofit, unelected group creates the illusion that Governors have a legitimate federal presence on a national stage, when Constitutionally, they do not. Our elected D.C. representatives are to govern national issues. Governors are to govern inside of states.

Texas Governor Perry does not feel that NGA membership is a smart use of taxpayer funds; Maine’s Governor LePage said,

“I get no value out of those meetings. They are too politically correct and everybody is lovey-dovey and no decisions are ever made.”

Please share this Heartland Institute article on the subject with the Governor as I can’t find a direct email address for him.

Utah’s Governor’s NGA membership is particularly problematic because the NGA/CCSSO 1) uses taxpayer dollars to pay Governors’ dues, 2) writes national educational standards behind closed doors, 3) allows no amendment process for those illegitimate national education standards, 4) allows for no voter representation, since the whole NGA governance setup is an unwanted step-sister to the American system of actual representation by proper channels; and 5) NGA is a federal contractor.

http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/04/24/state-led-common-core-pushed-federally-funded-nonprofit

Please, let’s get out of this entangling alliance.

Christel Swasey

Heber, Utah

Indiana Department of Education: “It’s Not Easy To Get Rid of Common Core”   Leave a comment

An article in today’s Heartland Institute, by Joy Pullman, quotes Indiana’s State Superintendent and the Department spokesman saying that Indiana must re-evaluate the Common Core Standards and that “It’s not easy to get rid of Common Core.”

 http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/02/05/bipartisan-leaders-rethink-indianas-common-core-participation

Bipartisan Leaders Rethink Indiana’s Common Core Participation 

by Joy Pullman

A bill to withdraw Indiana from Common Core national education standards is morphing into a bipartisan bid to have the state reconsider with more public input.

When 46 states signed the initiative in 2010, few held public hearings. Kentucky even agreed to adopt the requirements for what K-12 kids should know in English and math before they were published. Even now, nearly three years later, legislators, teachers, parents, and the general public routinely report in interviews and opinion polls they’ve never heard of the Core.

Lack of public input is a central concern of state Sen. Scott Schneider (R-Indianapolis), Senate Bill 193’s original author. During a January 16 hearing on the bill, however, he publicly noted testimony from Indiana Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Vice President Derek Redelman. Redelman worried that by overriding a state board of education vote to adopt the Core, the legislature was thwarting established procedure.

A Senate Education Committee vote on SB 193 was scheduled for Jan. 23, but has been moved back several times and now is slated for Feb. 13. The delays reflect a pending amendment to the bill “to make it more acceptable to a greater number of members on the committee,” said Education Committee Chairman Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn).

Once senators pin down the amendment, the bill will likely put the Common Core on hold in Indiana, Kruse said. That means it would stay in place for kindergarten and first grade, where the state has already phased it in. Between the bill becoming law and the end of 2013, it would have the state department of education hold one public hearing in each of Indiana’s nine congressional districts. The bill would also require the governor’s budget office to analyze the Core’s costs to the state over the next five years. After that, the bill may require the Education Roundtable, a board under the governor’s purview, and state board of education to publicly reconsider their 2010 decision.

“More people are aware of [Common Core] now than the first time around,” Kruse told School Reform News. “So even though groups may try to approve it again, we’ll have more people involved in the decision.”

Despite these accommodations to ICC concerns, the chamber has issued email blasts to members, asking them to pit their state senators against SB 193.

“Common Core is under assault from a contingent of out-of-state special interests, tea party activists and conservative Republican legislators,” reads one email from ICC President Kevin Brinegar.

Since 2007, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Common Core’s underwriter stationed in Washington state, gave the ICC’s parent organization $3.8 million to “engage the business community” to support national standards. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce then disseminated this money and advocacy to its state and local members, according to public tax documents.

Newly elected state Superintendent Glenda Ritz, a Democrat and former teachers union president, has signaled her support for SB 193 based on concerns she’s heard from teachers, administrators, and parents around the state, said Indiana Department of Education spokesman David Galvin.

“Indiana had exceptional standards before Common Core,” Ritz said in a statement. “The Indiana Department of Education, and its board, must re-evaluate Common Core Standards to determine what parts we will accept or reject and determine which of our current Indiana standards should be retained.”

Ritz also plans to withdraw Indiana from Common Core tests because she is against high-stakes testing, Galvin said, and is investigating whether she can decide that herself or if that move requires approval from the governor or board of education.

The idea is to make an Indiana standard, to take the best of these programs and make our own,” Galvin said. Ritz agrees with conservative critics that the Core constitutes “removal of local control. That’s something the superintendent wants to reinstall,” he said.

Ditching the Core may cost the state federal education money, he noted, because its federal No Child Left Behind waiver requires involvement.

“It’s not easy to get rid of Common Core,” he said.

— — —

Heartland Institute: Why Are Tax-Funded Common Core Meetings Closed To the Public?   Leave a comment

This article was posted today by Heartland Institute:  http://news.heartland.org/print/133949

Tax-Sponsored Common Core Meetings Closed to Public

January 3, 2013

Though 46 states will spend an estimated $5 to $12 billion [2] to implement a new set of national education standards called the Common Core, public officials are arranging these standards in hundreds of closed-door meetings.

 

Meetings between members of the Council of Chief State School Officers to write and discuss these standards and corresponding tests are closed to the public, though taxpayers pay for state officials to attend these meetings and to be CCSSO members.

 

“[T]he Council of Chief State School Officers holds over one hundred meetings per year,” its meeting webpage states [3]. “CCSSO meetings are closed to the public and attendance is by invitation only unless otherwise denoted” (emphasis original).

 

CCSSO and the National Governor’s Association are two nonprofits that coordinated state involvement and adoption of the Core. It outlines what states will expect K-12 children to know in math and English/language arts in each grade. Nearly all states adopted them in 2010 within five months of their release, and plan to fully implement them, along with matching tests currently in development, by 2014-2015.

 

“What was behind those policies, what was considered, the different elements that went into them, the ideas that went into them—it’s a black box,” said Bill Allison, editorial director at the Sunlight Foundation, a public transparency watchdog. “The public do have the right to know the laws that are going to affect them and their families, especially when they’re paying for them.”

 

Millions From States State membership in each related CCSSO committee costs $16,000 each year, and states can and do participate in several committees. Lead state Indiana, for example, participates in the math and social studies committees, where 23 and 10 states, respectively, are members, said Indiana Department of Education spokesman Adam Baker. On its latest financial statement, the CCSSO reported $2,187,626 in revenue from membership dues for all activities in 2011.

 

Multiply just one membership fee by 46 participating states for a minimum of $736,000 in tax dollars the CCSSO receives each year for an initiative reshaping nearly every textbook, replacing nearly all state tests, overhauling teacher training nationwide, providing the basis to measure teachers, and creating nationwide data repositories for student grades, behavior, attendance, and more.

 

Despite this monumental impact and tax sponsorship, CCSSO activities are largely hidden to taxpayers because it is a nongovernmental nonprofit. This means its meetings and paperwork are not subject to open records laws that let the public find what their money is funding.

 

Frustrated Parents Indiana resident Heather Crossin, whose children attend schools implementing the Core, attempted to attend an October 2012 CCSSO meeting in her Indianapolis hometown. Crossin called Michele Parks, a CCSSO meeting planner, to see if she could attend. No, Parks said. Crossin asked to see a list of people on the Social Studies standards writing team: “I was told that was not available for public release,” Crossin said.

 

Ten weeks entailing dozens of emails and phone calls to at least six CCSSO spokesmen and personnel for access to the Indianapolis meeting or any others at last yielded an email to School Reform News from spokeswoman Kate Dando in December: “our meetings/sessions at our meetings are open to press really on a case by case basis,” she wrote.

 

Some reporters have attended some CCSSO meetings, usually on background, she said, which means they cannot directly quote what they hear. Why?

 

“It’s going to be reported that X state said this about their progress,” Carrie Heath Phillips, CCSSO’s Common Core director, told SRN. “When they have those conversations, we keep that protected, but it depends on the meeting and topic.”

 

Federal Tax Sponsorship CCSSO receives tax money from more than state dues. It receives millions from the U.S. Department of Education.

“Approximately 13% and 33% of the Council’s revenue and 25% and 34% of accounts receivable were provided by U.S. Department of Education grants or contracts for fiscal years 2011 and 2010, respectively,” the nonprofit’s 2010-2011 financial statement reads.

 

Applying the 2011 percentage to that year’s revenues yields an estimated $3,450,930 in CCSSO revenue from the federal government, just in that year. In 2011, $558,000 came from the 2009 stimulus bill for CCSSO’s involvement with one of two networks creating new tests to fit the standards.

 

In 2010, the U.S. DOE granted those two networks $330 million in stimulus funds. This action, more than any other, led conservative supporters of the Common Core to complain of federal interference in education, a constitutionally protected state function.

 

‘Outsourcing a Core State Function’ CCSSO and NGA are member organizations where states pay dues to belong, like the left-vilified American Legislative Exchange Council, said Emmett McGroarty, director of the American Principles Project’s child rights initiative.

 

NGA would not release member dues information to APP, he said. CCSSO did give basic information about membership costs, but not about what specific states paid them.

 

States have historically created education standards in public meetings, with related documents also a matter of public record, Allison noted.

 

“The state is outsourcing a core state function to an outside organization that is then outsourcing to other organizations, and you can’t have the parental and legislator input you normally should,” Allison said. “Education is the future and I do think people have the right to know who is writing the curriculum.”

 

Joy Pullmann is a research fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing editor of School Reform News

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Core? Not American Parents.   2 comments

Great editorial from Heartland in Chicago, reposted:

http://heartland.org/editorial/2012/09/04/common-core-rollout-draws-parental-opposition-nationwide

Common Core Rollout Draws Parental Opposition Nationwide

By Robert Holland

As schools open this fall, battle lines are forming over the rollout of Common Core (CC) national standards, the specifics of which have only recently started coming to public attention.

On paper, the fight would appear to be a mismatch.

You have on the pro-CC side:

  • The Obama-led U.S. Department of Education, the agency with the fastest-growing discretionary spending in the federal government (now approaching $70 billion) and a matching itch to dictate.
  • Achieve, the corporate-led outfit that started marshaling big-business clout behind national standards in 1996, during the Clinton years.
  • Inside-the-Beltway organizations such as the Best Practices Center of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, which sponsored the handpicked Common Core writers.
  • Not least, Microsoft magnate Bill Gates, whose foundation has pumped tens of millions of dollars over the past decade into educationist organizations, including the teachers unions, that back the Common Core agenda. Gates has gone even further by subsidizing think tanks on both sides of the education-reform divide in clear hopes of winning favor for the Common Core, which is to be linked with national tests administered online.

And on the anti-CC side of the battle, you have:

  • Moms, everyday moms.

There are some dads, too, but moms are leading the anti-Common Core charge in a growing number of states. And by no means are they all conservatives.

Never underestimate the power of moms. Common Core opponents recently celebrated a possible harbinger of victories to come when the Utah Board of Education voted 12-3 to back out of the state’s membership in a federally funded consortium that is drafting a national test that will be linked with the Common Core.

In a similar reversal, Indiana schools Superintendent Tony Bennett, who had previously crowed about the state’s being in step with Washington on Common Core, reversed course and unleashed strong criticism of the Obama administration at a recent Tea Party gathering. “This administration,” said Bennett, “has an insatiable appetite for federal overreach. The federal government’s involvement in these standards is wrong.”

Interviews with activist moms in Utah, Indiana, and Georgia–just three of several hotbeds of opposition–indicated they all abhor the federal power grab, and they have other concerns in common. These include: the way parents have been kept in the dark about radical changes in their kids’ instruction, the heavy involvement of special-interest groups that are unaccountable to the public, and the mediocre quality of the national English and math standards.

Some subject-matter specialists have pegged the reading level of CC high-school English at the 7th grade, with a drastic de-emphasis of classic literature in favor of workforce-oriented material. And they say the definition of “college-readiness” in CC math corresponds with a nonselective community college, not a university.

In Indiana, Heather Crossin and Erin Tuttle are among the Hoosier parents who got an early warning last fall when their children brought home math worksheets and books they recognized as being of the “fuzzy” genre. Parental complaints resulted in a salesman for the text (Pearson’s enVision Math) coming to inform the parents “how lucky they were” to be getting one of the nation’s first Common Core-aligned textbooks.

Fired up, the two moms did their research and eventually began speaking to dozens of grassroots groups.

“We have found that most Hoosiers, including most legislators, have never heard of the Common Core until just recently,” Crossin said. “The majority of the teachers we have spoken to are just now being asked to transition to the Common Core, and they say they don’t like it. They cite the lack of clarity and quality.”

   In Utah, Alisa Ellis is actively involved in the public schools six of her seven children attend. She says she “did not hear about this new direction until a year after we had adopted the standards.” As more parents learn for the first time what’s happening, “Our numbers keep growing. We have over 2,000 signatures on a petition, plus a dozen or so organizations that have signed.”

A parent-activist in Georgia, Sherena Arrington, is not optimistic the battle will be won soon, given that “taxpayers have yet to understand that their rights to representation in the educational policies of this state are being stolen from them.”

In many respects, the current moms-versus-monolith battle resembles that of the 1990s, when forces aligned with the federal Goals 2000 movement sought to force a national School-to-Work curriculum on all schools. Moms slowed down the juggernaut then. Don’t bet against them stopping it this time.


Robert Holland (rholland@heartland.org) is a senior fellow for education policy at The Heartland Institute, and author of Not With My Child, You Don’t (1995), a book about the parents’ revolt against nationalized K-12 education.

%d bloggers like this: