Saturday, March 17, 2012
I'm an independent thinker
I am not sure where I should start. I have so many stories to tell and have had a hard time narrowing down the many thoughts flowing through my mind.
As I mentioned in my last post, this fight against Common Core has consumed my life and I have worried that people misunderstand my intentions. I love learning!! I always have! Growing up I did well in school and, for the most part, enjoyed it. I wasn't the very top of my class but I was pretty darn close and did well enough in school to leave my high school at 17 without graduating and start college at BYU. Some have argued that I missed the fun of a senior year. I can't argue either way because I wasn't there but I LOVED college!!! For me it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I was able to graduate with my bachelors at 20 and still did things in college like: take as many religion classes as I could (which I LOVED!), spend a semester studying in Nauvoo, and a summer abroad studying in Jerusalem. My point is I know I am an intelligent person. No, I am not trying to say I'm smarter than you. But I know that I am able to take information presented to me, process it, and come up with my own conclusions.
The administrators in our state school board and state government are telling local school districts that there are some myths being circulated around the state. It bothers me that, as I fight against the Common Core, people think that I'm just listening to and regurgitating the talking points of some "Right-wing nuts" because that is entirely false. Yes there are conservative organizations across the country that are digging deep to expose what is going on in the American educational system. Since first learning about common core, I have been reading day and night to learn as much as I can on both sides of the issue. Have you?
Last spring, after I was handed a pamphlet on Utah's adoption of Common Core, I started asking questions. I have been really shocked at the information I'm finding. It is so much worse than my original worry. It is a concerted effort to move the United States further down a path toward Socialism. I know there is some good to implementing Common Core. I believe that. I believe that raising our standards is not only good but necessary. I can see the benefit of having all of the states on the same page. I'm just not sold that adopting this core with these strings is good for our state or our nation.
I've been talking to parents, teachers, administrators and board members because I feel that it benefits everyone to get both sides to any story. All year, as I meet with teachers for SEP’s, I've been casually asking questions to get their reaction to these changes. Some love it but there are many that don't. Over the past several weeks, I've talked with higher officials and they all tell me the same story. They even hand me papers that say the same thing. What's really scary to me is the verbiage they use is the same as statements made by the social reformers who's money it is backing this national movement toward a Common Core. I often thank them for bringing up the fact that they want my children to be able to compete in a "global economy". It fuels my fire because if you really look at what the progressives say, it falls right in line with their plans to take over the education system in America. With the exception of one administrator who was so far to the other side of the political spectrum that she had no qualms about the path this might lead America down, the rest of the officials I’ve spoken with quickly realize that I've done far more research than they have. They simply can't answer my questions.
Do I believe that our state school board wrote Utah's standards? Yes, I will let them claim that. However, I also believe they did so with the guidance of the CCSSO who presented them with a guide as to how to write the standards. Let me ask you this, “If each state that joined the group really wrote the new standards all on their own how are they all going to have the same standards?”
My uncle, a principal from California, said it this way, "States who receive federal monies for education must adopt the Common Core Standards. If the state adopts the standards, then all schools are required to use them. The state may add additional standards."
As I stated before, raising our standards and sharing common standards across states is not my real concern. My concern is that the Bill Gates foundation has poured not just a few millions but $27 million into our education system. This is after he did this:
2004: Microsoft (Bill Gates) contracts with UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to fulfill part of UNESCO’S Millennium Campaign Goals—universal education and educating for a global economy. A “master curriculum” for teacher training in information technologies based standards, guidelines, benchmarks, and assessment techniques is to be developed. (link)
(UNESCO / Gates Foundation Agreement)
I also have a problem with Bill Gates giving Mark Tucker (NCEE) $1.5 million in 2009 when Tucker says, "The goal is “to remold the entire American system” into “a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same systems for everyone,” coordinated by “a system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels” where curriculum and “job matching” will be handled by counselors “accessing the integrated computer-based program.” (link)
The administrators I've talked to keep telling me "we're failing - our students need to be prepared for a global economy." The papers I got when I met with the State School board say the same thing. Based on what I am finding out about the people who are pouring money into education in America leads me to believe that this is not the direction in which America should be heading. So I'm going to fight this with all I've got.
We have and will continue to be told that all of this stuff is just a myth. But there is mounting evidence to back it all up. One of my cousins put it well when he stated that all the information I'm getting from the State (to contradict what I am finding) is just “words on paper with no concrete foundation.” I know I'm only one person but I do have a voice so I am determined to open my mouth and speak.
As I’ve emailed back and forth with family members, my uncle (the principal from California) sent me a message in support of Common Core. We spoke later by phone so I could explain to him that I'm not against the concept of raising our standards and working with other states. He couldn't believe that Utah is trying to claim that this is not a Federal program. He said that it is very apparent that this (common core) is driven by the Federal government among others. As examples, “You can get out if NCLB but only if you adopt CC.” Or “Oh we have lots of money for you with Race to the Top but by the way you better sign up for CC.” To put it simply, it's a joke that our state officials think the citizenry of Utah are that incompetent. The sad thing is that most people are buying it. In truth, most people I talk with don't even know what Common Core is...
My friend (a former educator herself) and I have been trying to inform as many people as we can about our concerns with adopting the common core. Our issue is not with raising standards, although I do not think they are all perfectly written. I also want to make it very clear that my fight is not with teachers.
I have much deeper concerns.