A national effort to unify education standards across America and help American children compete more effectively with students in better-performing nations is actually a dumbing-down of America's schools, takes away local control, handcuffs good teachers and opens the door for ideological manipulation of our kids.
Common Core was developed in recent years as a means of establishing nationwide learning standards, and the vast majority of states signed on, even before the standards were spelled out. And critics of the plan say the emerging reality of Common Core is far different from what was promised.
"It was sold to the states and the federal government on a series of slogans. The slogans were that it would be state-led, that the standards would be evidence-based, internationally benchmarked, that is on par with what other high-performing countries teach and that the standards would be rigorous," said Emmett McGroarty, education director at the Preserve Innocence Project.
"All these governors of both parties and school chiefs signed on to this idea. The problem is they signed on to the idea before the standards were written and before the assessments were developed. The assessments, by the way, still haven't been developed. The ultimate product did not match up with the promise."
Common Core will also mean even more standardized tests and an increased push to teach for the test since performance rates will carry all sorts of financial and other implications. McGroarty told WND educators have had enough of the standardized tests because they are taking good, creative teachers and forcing them to focus on one thing.
"The anecdotal evidence that we've come across and we've heard is that teachers are really saddened and really feel alienated from the process," he said. "They feel like they're being made into administrators, not teachers. The passion of teaching is being squeezed out of the profession."
Despite being just two years away from its scheduled implementation, Common Core standards have only been established in math and in English language arts. But even those areas are raising red flags. McGroarty said the standards are shelving Euclidean geometry in favor of "transformational" geometry. He said students need to know Euclidean geometry to understand the transformational approach, and embracing transformational geometry in K-12 is a proven failure in every foreign nation it's been tried.
In English language arts, students will be steered away from the classics in favor of easier-to-read material, with Common Core examples including EPA papers, Federal Reserve statements and the Constitution. McGroarty and other experts believe this sort of approach in English, reading and possibly in history and government opens the door to pushing a leftist ideological agenda.
Ultimately, McGroarty sees two fatal flaws with this program, one with the ultimate goals and one with how they were pursued. He said parents and their elected representatives were largely shut out of this process, leaving it up to bureaucrats and private interest groups to chart the course forward. He said the ultimate goal might even be more alarming.
"From the get-go, the idea is that we really need to switch to a European philosophy of education, whereby people are educated for a predetermined slot in the economic machinery," he said. "This feeds into a managed economy. The administration has talked about in terms of needing to track people from cradle through the end of their careers through the educational system and the labor system."