Whose Common Core?

, Deborah Lambert, Leave a comment

With the drubbing that American educational standards have taken during the past several years, it’s not surprising that parents and other interested parties have learned to keep an eagle eye on what’s going on in the field.

But according to Robert Holland in The Washington Times, “new standards for math and English called Common Core are poised to hit public schools across the nation as early as this fall, before parents have any inkling what has happened to their children’s classroom instruction.”

“Parents will not know how or why the nationally prescribed curriculum came about or how to change it if they don’t like it.” If this reads like something out of the Nancy Pelosi playbook (i.e that Congress would have to pass Obamacare before reading it), that’s not surprising.
Common Core concepts were created “behind closed doors starting in 2009 by ‘experts’ assembled by resident bureaucrats of the Washington-based Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association.”

Fast forward to 2012: 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.”

In 2010, even before a final draft had been made public, the Obama administration began pressuring states to commit to the Common Core in order to be eligible for a slice of the $4.5 billion Race to the Top fund carved out of the federal stimulus.

Common Core now is linked to mandatory national tests that are being paid for by another $350 million in Obama stimulus bucks. So there is no pretense for them being “voluntary state standards.”

“Your local schools are about to start implementing standards and assessments developed by Washington-based interest groups and pushed by the federal government. These standards have never been field-tested, and your local school board has been unable to put them to a public hearing or vote.

“The national standards provide no process for states or localities to amend them. They will require students to take four federally subsidized tests a year, all of them via computer, and the results will be a factor in evaluating local teachers.”

Would parents really trust behind-the-scenes forces to have total sway over their children’s education if they knew they would be powerless to monitor the content of lessons or the online testing?

Forty-six states are on board with the Common Core. Only Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia have chosen to stick completely to their own standards and thereby safeguard the rights of their citizens. In the compliant 46, local school systems are dutifully beginning the process of retraining their teachers to conform to the centralized system.

It’s already being touted as just another overpriced education boondoggle by experts like Phyllis Schlafly. When 90 percent of parents, taxpayers and voters learn what is going on, perhaps the “repeal and replace” battle cry won’t refer only to Obamacare.

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Deborah Lambert writes the Squeaky Chalk column for Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org.