(Editor’s note: This is Part 2 in a series on the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Read Part 1 here.)
Last week in Part 1, I explained what the Common Core State Standards, or CCSS, are and how, despite the federal government saying it’s staying out of the classroom standard business, there is much evidence to show that the feds are intricately linked to it.
The first way I demonstrated that in Part 1 was by pointing out that the feds have spent $350 million of taxpayers’ money, funding and giving give grants and waivers to muscle and bribe states and local school districts to accept CCSS. And all of that was done without a single act of Congress, meaning yours truly – the executive branch, including the White House – dumped protocol again to dodge accountability.
With their monetary tentacles reaching over state lines and into classrooms, their second step is to inject their progressive agenda into curricula taught in elementary, middle and high schools. And that is easily accomplished because their educative minions pervade academic arenas and CCSS curricula creators.
Common Core advocates pride themselves in saying that the standards don’t set curriculum but only goals (or what they call “benchmarks”) that educators utilize to help their students reach the academic stars. They say states, local school districts, administrators and educators will fashion curricula.
In fact, the Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee, a group under the California County of Superintendents Educational Services Association, issued a form titled “Frequent Asked Questions [about] Common Core Standards,” in which it is categorically stated: “The Standards don’t dictate the details of academic curriculum.”
Even Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education Arne Duncan regurgitated the vision of Common Core this way: “Tight on goals, but loose on means – that’s our theory of change. It’s the exact opposite of how No Child Left Behind was structured.” (There’s that plural fed-ownership language again, “that’s our theory of change.”)
“Tight on goals, but loose on means,” sounds like a good plan, right?
Here’s the problem. You’ve heard the version of the Golden Rule, “He who has the gold makes the rules.” Here’s the academic version: “He who one sets the standards controls the curricula and even the educators.” Despite how CCSS defenders say that dictating standards doesn’t lead to determining the content taught in classrooms, that’s exactly what it does. Proof of the link is found in the fact that when CCSS are completely implemented in 2015, at least 85 percent of their state curricula will be based upon the Standards. Get it?!
Of course in public, advocates like Arne Duncan state categorically – loud and proud – that the feds are completely hands-off when it comes to CCSS curricula. As he told one group of journalists back in June, “The federal government didn’t write them, didn’t approve them, and doesn’t mandate them. And we never will. Anyone who says otherwise is either misinformed or willfully misleading.”
Mr. Duncan, I don’t know what political pipe dream you live in, but to say that the federal government “never will” write or influence any portion of any national education standards or curricula when it has the U.S. Dept. of Education overseeing the whole ball of wax is about as unrealistic as saying that the feds “never will” get involved in the health-care business. Sure, local districts and states can create and control their curricula, just like we citizens can keep our medical plans if we like them! That’s all federal fantasy, based not upon historical facts of the feds’ overreaching, influencing and controlling anything and everything that is national.
Arne Duncan and President Obama don’t need to have a meeting in the Oval Office to draft modes to shape and influence academic curriculum. They only have to post their leftist minions in positions of influence throughout the academic world and CCSS curricula creation who will do their dirty work for them. And it’s already happened!
In fact, concerned parents and educators across the country just had their curricula fears grow legs when CCSS English lessons for elementary classrooms were discovered with partisan political statements in them. These are the types of covert curriculum moves that experts and citizens have warned about and hoped would never become a reality.
Fox News reported just more than a week ago, “Teaching materials aligned with the controversial national educational standards ask fifth-graders to edit such sentences as ‘(The president) makes sure the laws of the country are fair,’ ‘The wants of an individual are less important than the well-being of the nation’ and ‘the commands of government officials must be obeyed by all.'”
What?! Do those statements sound like the principles upon which our republic was founded or socialist dogma and indoctrination?
The statements were found in a worksheet titled “Hold the Flag High,” in which students are instructed about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War and assigned to create sentences “less wordy by replacing the underlined words with a possessive noun phrase” from among a half-dozen sentences describing a U.S. president’s duties.
And remember: CCSS have only created and initiated two subjects: Mathematics and English Language Arts. Consider what secular progressive agenda awaits when other subject standards like social sciences roll out. And, yes, 45 states have already swallowed the entire CCSS pill (the complete Scope and Sequence) without ever looking at or considering CCSS benchmarks for all the remaining school subjects.
Michelle Malkin cited University of Arkansas professor Sandra Stotsky, who said months before this revelation that federal partisan politics invaded CCSS curriculum: “An English curriculum overloaded with advocacy journalism or with ‘informational’ articles chosen for their topical and/or political nature should raise serious concerns among parents, school leaders, and policymakers. Common Core’s standards not only present a serious threat to state and local education authority, but also put academic quality at risk. Pushing fatally flawed education standards into America’s schools is not the way to improve education for America’s students.”
No wonder that in nearly every state, backlash over CCSS implementation and its curriculum chaos has ensued from the confusion of the initiative. In an article titled “States seek to calm districts’ Common-Core jitters,” Education Week reported last week, “State education leaders are moving to calm political tempests over the Common Core State Standards by adopting or reaffirming policies aimed at asserting local control over data, curriculum, and materials.”
And those academic tempests and disdain are also growing among parents across the land, who are keeping their children home from school on Monday of this week in what’s being called the “National Common Core Protest Day.”
And while the protests, debates and storms rage about CCSS, the children of America remain the sacrificial guinea pigs in this political, crippled and inept system that we call public education.
I am personally challenging state and federal representatives to get on board to stop this Common Core insanity. I will be researching each politician to see who is and who is not supporting CCSS and, before this column series is complete, I will be publishing their names in my articles, and they reach millions. I’m sure my readers will find my list of names helpful the next time they walk into the voting booth!
Stop Common Core right now!
(In Part 3 next week, I will give you the third evidence for the feds’ collaborations and entanglements within CCSS: Namely, that the feds are creating a national database to store your kids’ private information obtained through a technological project within CCSS.)