In researching Common Core I was stunned to discover that George Lucas (yes, Star Wars!) has an educational foundation called Edutopia. The progressives can’t seem to help themselves. They are drawn like moths to a candle to the idea of Utopia. In Children: The Pawns of Utopia, and Hegel: Romancing the State I’ve written on their predilection for creating their own paradise—the problem is that they tend to be not too pleased with those who object to their plans.
What is Common Core? The bottom line is that it is “an initiative funded by special interests and the federal government with the goal of nationalizing education.” At the moment 46 out of 50 states have signed up for it, lured by the promises of conditional waivers for No Child Left Behind and money. Alaska, Texas, Virginia and Nebraska are the states who have said no to Common Core.
Not surprisingly, Governor Sarah Palin was the first to express wisdom in caution, “If this initiative produces useful results, Alaska will remain free to incorporate them…high expectations are not always created by new, mandated federal standards written on paper. They are created in the home, the community and the classroom,” and Governor Rick Perry was second, “I will not commit Texas taxpayers to unfunded federal obligations or to the adoption of unproven, cost-prohibitive national standards and tests.”
Common Core has sparked grass roots outrage, and some state legislatures are working to rid themselves of the federal grip. Here’s more background on it from Stop Common Core:
The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) is the effort that created and is attempting to impose on states a set of national K-12 standards (Common Core). Common Core was developed primarily by a nonprofit called Achieve, Inc., in Washington, D.C., under the auspices of the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The Standards cover mathematics and English language arts (although they also claim to cover “literacy” in other subjects such as science, history/social studies, and technical subjects).
Last August Deborah Lambert wrote, “Nearly 80 percent of voters know “nothing” or “not much” about Common Core State Standards. Another 14 percent said they knew “some,” and just 7 percent claimed to know “a lot.”” How did the DOE get this far under the radar with Common Core, aka ObamaCore? In Honey, When Did the Feds Take over the Kids’ School? Neal McCluskey points out the Obama administration began hitting us with so many policies we didn’t realize what Arne Duncan and the Department of Education were doing. As I’ve said before, education falls in the boring category for many people, yet it is how progressives work for the future. McCluskey says that the groundwork for Common Core was laid with No Child Left Behind with its resulting push for uniform state standards. He continues:
Unfortunately, there is another, much more disturbing reason that national standards have been flying under the radar: Stealth is essential for its proponents to succeed.
The last national standards push was in the 1990s, and it disintegrated almost the moment proposed federal standards were released. Everyone, it seemed, was paying attention, and every diverse American found something in the very detailed standards to hate.
Avoiding a similar fate explains why the CCSSI furnished only mathematics and language arts standards, and why the latter identify almost no specific works students must read….
The second key to keeping things hush-hush has been to deceive the public about what — and who — is driving the standards. Contrary to proponents’ incessant refrain, standardization has been neither “state led” nor “voluntary,” and it’s the heavy hand of the super-unpopular federal government that’s shoving everything along….
Finally, to keep the public from grasping what’s happening, standardizers have rushed adoption of the Common Core standards. They were released on June 2 , and Race to the Top required adoption just two months later.
With only minor exceptions, the General Education Provisions Act, the Department of Education Organization Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), ban the Department from directing, supervising, or controlling elementary and secondary school curriculum, programs of instruction, and instructional materials.
“The Department has designed a system of discretionary grants and conditional waivers that effectively herds states into accepting specific standards and assessments favored by the Department,” said Robert S. Eitel, who co-authored the report with Kent D. Talbert. [ See The Road to a National Curriculum: The Legal Aspects of the Common Core Standards, Race to the Top, and Conditional Waivers].
Don’t think that Common Core means higher educational standards. They are not even systematically organized or clear. What Experts Realize About Common Core Standards: 2012 has quotes and opinions on its standards from educators and think tanks including two members of the Common Core validation committee.
Dr. James Milgram, Professor of Math at Stanford University, emeritus, had such serious reservations about the fuzzy math of Common Core (Obama’s educational movement) that Milgram refused to sign off on the standards’ adequacy– as an official member of the Common Core Validation Committee….
Dr. Sandra Stotsky [Endowed Chair in Teacher Quality at the University of Arkansas], another Validation Committee member, felt the same way about the Common Core English standards….
Dr. Sandra Stotsky and Dr. James Milgram not only refused to sign off on the standards, but have gone on to testify with a warning voice to state legislatures and school boards about the inadequacy of the standards.
If you’re a parent I recommend spending some time at Truth in American Education. If you homeschool, you’re not off the hook. Did you know that new Saxon Math editions will be oriented to Common Core? In December 2012 the Home School Legal Defense Association released Common Core State Standards Initiative: Too Close to a National Curriculum. And even if you don’t have any children, this program will impact all Americans.
I’ll be posting more links to Common Core news and information in another post.
Posts on Common Core are currently listed in the right side bar. They are permanently listed in the Common Core subpage that’s found under Family→Children→Education in the heading.
UPDATE: If you’re interested in the connection between Common Core and Race to the Top, go here and look at the third point here. I will come back to RTTT.
Apple Core modified from Apple Stark by Roberta F. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.