By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D.
The heavy hand of the federal government seems to be everywhere in America today.
Federal troops with heavy artillery swooped down upon Nevada because rancher Cliven Bundy refused to pay the federal government to graze his cattle on public land. People turned out en masse to protest and to protect Bundy from the government SWAT teams. Judge Andrew Napolitano pointed out on Fox News that the root of the problem stems from the fact that, under the U.S. Constitution, the federal government has no right to own public land within a state and thus no right to force Bundy off public land.
Well, neither do the feds have any legal right to be involved in education because that is left to the states under the 10th Amendment. But through “…. a long train of abuses and usurpations” the federal government has now nationalized public education through Common Core and taken over the parental right to educate one’s offspring.
Opposition to Common Core and the state standardized tests is also bringing out protesters en masse against government overreach. Angry parents, students, and teachers across the nation are refusing to allow their children take the Common Core aligned standardized tests.
There has been retaliation by public school administrators toward the students and their parents who have refused to take the tests.
Recently in New York an eighth-grade student was suspended because she informed her classmates that they could opt out of the Common Core exams. Her angry parents have removed her from that school.
In Marietta, Georgia, parents informed the school that their three children would not be taking the Common Core aligned standardized tests partly because of the data mining that is tied to the tests.
An on-site policeman refused to allow the children to enter the school on the day of the exams, telling them that they were trespassing. The parents were also advised that the children would be denied access to the school on test makeup days.
In New York more than 33,000 children opted out of the standardized tests. Some administrators were less than charitable toward those who used civil disobedience to register their protests. In some schools, students opting out were instructed to sit quietly at their desks for hours staring at the others. They were not even permitted to bring books or other materials to stay occupied. The “sit and stare” policy, intended as punishment, further angered parents.
In one New York school district, children who did not take the tests were denied ice cream.
Parents are refusing to allow their children to take the Common Core tests because they are very concerned about the data collection and student privacy that is being violated. Data being collected through the tests includes hobbies, psychological evaluations, medical records, religious affiliation, political affiliation, family income, family relationships, behavioral problems, disciplinary history, career goals, addresses, and even bus stop times and locations.
Although data collection is a major concern for parents, an even more important question begs to be answered.
Why is the government using such a heavy hand to force each child to take the tests – tests that bear little resemblance to what the student learned in class?
Because the real purpose of the tests is to ensure national control over curriculum. Under totalitarian governments, state-controlled education is an important tool of control so the ideology can be disseminated and loyalty to the state enhanced.
With national control, the government can teach the child not how to think but what to think. As Vladimir Lenin famously said, “Give me four years to teach the children … and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”
Common Core tests are designed to indoctrinate students and to control how they think.
With Common Core, teachers must use the progressive teaching method instead of the successful, centuries-old traditional method. Process rather than facts is the order of the day.
For example, if a student says the answer to 3 x 4 is 11 but can explain by using the crazy progressive reasoning how he arrived at that incorrect answer, then 11 is “correct.” Using the traditional method of multiplying is unacceptable, and the student’s correct answer is marked as “incorrect.”
Therefore, if a teacher refuses to teach math using Common Core Progressivism, instead teaching “old-fashioned math,” the student will fail the Common Core aligned tests.
Vital to the equation is that teacher evaluations are tied to student test scores. Since America is moving in parallel to the way Hitler took over education in Europe, we will see older, traditional type teachers being fired or retired and replaced with younger, indoctrinated teachers willing to teach whatever statism mandates.
In a nutshell, this is the formula the U.S. government is using to control what our children think.
Now, herein lies the crux of the problem. If students opt out of Common Core tests, then the government cannot control what they are being taught.
So the liberals must press forward.
As Harry Reid said when federal troops pulled back during the Bundy ranch crisis, “Well, it’s not over.” Even though some states are pulling out of Common Core and thousands of students are opting out of the tests, the fight by liberals to indoctrinate our children is far from over.
With even some Republican establishment leaders advising to rebrand and rename Common Core and plow full steam ahead, we can bet that the heavy hand of government is not going away … unless citizens stop it.
Dr. Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D., is a curriculum specialist, writer, speaker and commentator on education and cultural public policy.