Two Moms Against Common Core

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Common Core the "Quiet Revolution"

Our children are precious and must be protected.

In 1969 Ezra T. Benson wrote, "From the very beginning of recorded political thought, man has realized the importance of education as a tremendous potential for both good and evil.”

There is a constant battle for the hearts, minds and souls of our children.

Nelson Mandela acknowledged that Education “is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

But whose vision of the world will we as parents and citizens let stand? 

Who will determine our future?

Abraham Lincoln is attributed with stating “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”

What philosophy will prevail in America?

Secretary Arne Duncan said,

“In March of 2009, President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to “develop standards and assessments …
Virtually everyone thought the President was dreaming.
 But today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing white paper, they have actually done it.” 
This speech was given in 2010 to UNESCO the United Nations education arm. The number of 37 states has now increased to 47.

In this same speech the secretary acknowledges that America is now in the midst of a “quiet revolution” in school reform.

This is precisely why last year when ACHIEVE surveyed the voting populous 79% of them had heard nothing or not much about the Common Core. We’ve spent the last year and half doing everything in our power to change those figures. This quiet revolution is no longer silent.

There is opposition cropping up across the Nation and the momma bears are just getting started. This map shows states where there is significant push-back against these reforms.

Common core is being sold to us as simply a set of standards in math and ELA but I’m here to tell you that there was indeed a quiet revolution taking place and the standards were just one piece of a much larger education reform that the current administration touts as its “cradle-to-career” reform agenda.

If you go to White and look at the k-12 education plan you’ll see the President’s plans for reforming education. He calls this his cradle to career education reform to “fundamentally” transform education in America. Now I’m not saying education doesn’t need help but have we paid attention to who’s telling us we’re failing?

The international test most often cited is called the PISA. They’re a product of the OECD who is partnered with the United Nation whose stated goal is Universal Education for All. In 2010 they gave the United States a report where they studied 10 other countries to help America out with our education woes.

A red flag popped up when I was looking over Germany’s report. “Germany was jolted into action when PISA 2000 revealed below-average performance and large social disparities in results” As I read the report and saw that after being told they were failing the council of Foreign Ministers got together and decided they needed Common standards and common assessments to align with the standard. Robust data was needed and teacher improvement. These sound eerily similar to what we’re implementing here in America. Germany also agreed to continue with ongoing international tests to determine their countries success.

It’s not a secret that when you tie high stakes to a test it drives the curriculum. Now remind me, do we want our children to become global citizens or to retain American exceptionalism?

You may have heard that the Federal Government was not involved and that they hijacked this movement but from the very beginning of 2009 that is not the case. They highly coerced, incentivized and threatened the states to go along with their education reform.

These same reforms are in every grant and the waiver from No Child Left Behind issued by the Federal Government. There was a plan.

Secretary Duncan said, “… the Obama administration has an ambitious and unified theory of action that propels our agenda. … It can only be accomplished with a clear, coherent, and coordinated vision of reform.”

Now I can’t give President Obama all the blame.

The plan to centralize education is not new to the Obama administration. In fact, this move toward nationalized standards started long ago and moved further forward under President Bush with No Child Left Behind. It was then propelled forward through massive private money and stimulus funds.

Once the current President took office things really took off and the majority of states made commitments to the standards BEFORE they were even written because they were rushing to get Race to the Top funds. If the golden carrot wasn’t incentive enough for the states the threat of losing federal $$ to which the states have become addicted was.

We are coming up against a hard deadline in America.

How many of you are perfect? Did you realize that under President Bush’s NCLB that schools must show 100% proficiency by 2014 or they risk losing Federal money for education? The states are desperate to get out of a bad law and would do almost anything to get out from under the oppression but what most don’t realize the oppression yet to come will dwarf what was felt under No Child Left Behind. When you put all the pieces of the education reform puzzle together we lose control of education at a local level. The data collected by testing the standards and tied to the teacher’s performance acts as an enforcer to make sure the agenda moves forward.

In 2010 Secretary Duncan said “… our theory of action starts with the four assurances incorporated in last year’s economic stimulus bill, …. The four assurances got their name from the requirement that each governor in the 50 states had to provide an “assurance” they would pursue reforms in these four areas--in exchange for their share of funds from a Recovery Act program …”

Secretary Duncan is referring here to the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund which had to be approved prior to even being considered for Race to the Top money. UT received roughly $900 million dollars from the stimulus bill in education alone. Did really pay attention to what we were agreeing to?

Secretary Duncan acknowledged that “Traditionally, the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy.”

“The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role...”

Ezra Taft Benson said:
"The best way to prevent a political faction or any small group of people from capturing control of the nation's educational system is to keep it decentralized into small local units, each with its own board of education and superintendent. This may not be as efficient as one giant super educational system but it is far more safe.” 
Common Core was initiated by private interest in Washington DC without proper representation from the states. The National Governor’s Association and Council of Chief State school officers may sound like official government organizations but they are not. They are private trade organizations that are not transparent nor held accountable to the people. The Governor’s sit on boards they do not run the show there. In fact, both organizations receive money from the federal government as well as private entities. States pay dues to both the NGA and the CCSSO and then these private organizations turn around and lobby the states to push forth their agenda.

We all need to take a look at how things are run in our country and decide if we want our government run by a bunch of trade groups or if we want it to continue to be through the voice of the people. We have an ever moving trend towards circumventing the Constitution and our founding principles.

Common Core was a triumph of branding. There were over a hundred endorsing partners. I mean who wants to be accused of not wanting high learning standards for our children? Who doesn’t want their children to excel?

The largest funder is the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. This foundation has spent millions and millions of dollars pushing their education reform ideas. To date they have poured over 175 million dollars into this initiative and last week Gates said, he hopes his education goals work but we won’t know for at least a decade. Our children ARE NOT guinea pigs.

Achieve, who is also a non-governmental agency, partnered these two trade groups to help draft the Common Core state standards.

One of these is not like the other.

On your left we have what the proper balance of government powers is supposed to look like where 3 branches of government work together but each stand independently creating a system of checks and balances. On your right you’ll see the system which brought us Common Core. The National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers acted as brokers between private interest groups, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Federal executive branch, namely the appointed Secretary of Education, and the State level executive branch including the Governors and their State Superintendents of education with little to no input from the state’s legislators. This isn’t the way America is supposed to be running.

What we've got here is private entities colluding with government to push policy. I love the capitalist market but this is not that.

Bill Gates may very well be a nice man, wouldn't know, haven't met him, but I DIDN'T elect him and neither did you. Just because he made a lot of money doesn't mean he is allowed to buy education in America. This is too much power for one individual. I didn't elect Jeb Bush either and he is also having massive influence in how our schools are running. America wasn't set up to be governed this way. Think about it...

The Homeschool legal defense reminds us that
“America rose to greatness when education was utterly decentralized and widely considered to be beyond the competence of government. One might reasonably wonder why educational planners do not consider a return to that which has proven successful in the past rather than pursue a trend of their own making. “ “The philosophy of the Common Core is not revealed in the individual standards. Many forms of education would result in the acquisition of similar individual items of knowledge and skill. The philosophy that is antithetical to many is revealed in the broad purposes and the coercive uniformity of the Common Core.” HSLDA 
So for us it doesn’t matter whether the standard’s quality is good or bad. The standards experts can have fun debating that until they’re blue in the face. We are not and will not ever be for national standards because it centralizes power whether it’s to the federal government or private entities it doesn’t matter. But in this situation we have both.

But it’s for the kids. Not true – A monopoly is being built. This monopoly not only brings in big money but it is a monopoly of thought. Where common core is deemed as the savior of the education system in America but really the results of these massive reforms is control and ultimately will help destroy America if we don’t stand up and do something about it. These reforms are creating a single pathway to higher Ed. It isn’t good enough to simply pull our kids out of school. We MUST fight this.

If we let this stand, we effectively alter the way government is run in America. Working around the representative form of government will become the new norm which effectively wipes out the voice of “We the People”. We can’t let this happen.

Professor Charles Glenn of Boston University says this about the goals of centralized education…
How can the pluralism that we claim to value, the liberty that we prize, be reconciled with a “state pedagogy” designed to serve state purposes? Is there not wisdom in John Stuart Mill's remark that “all that has been said of the importance of individuality of character, and diversity of opinions and modes of conduct, involves, as of the same unspeakable importance diversity of education. A general state education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly like one another…in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind.1 Charles Leslie Glenn, Jr., The Myth of the Common School (Oakland: ICS Press, 2002), 12. 
Ezra T. Benson wrote,
 “…In a free and open society such as ours, a well-rounded education is an essential for the preservation of freedom against the chicanery and demagoguery of aspiring tyrants who would have us ignorantly vote ourselves into bondage. On the other hand, should the educational system ever fall into the hands of the in-power political faction or into the hands of an obscure but tightly-knit group of professional social reformers, it could be used, not to educate, but to indoctrinate." 
We’re seeing examples on social media sites of this daily. I call this a positive consequence of parents waking up and paying attention to what is being taught.

However, expect to see a lot more curriculum that doesn’t match the values of your local community as the control of education leaves the local community and as Bill Gates says, “a uniform customer base” is created. Anytime you centralize power you remove the voice of the parents and citizens at the local level.

So why are we doing all of this?

What is the purpose of these reforms? Is it to make sure our children succeed or that the workforce is fully staffed?

There has been a push for quite some time to an outcome based approach to education.  Last summer Secretary Duncan shared that “ the President has established a bold goal for our nation…. And to achieve that goal he has proposed $1 billion dollars toward career academies. And to achieve this goal he’s launched a comprehensive cradle-to-career reform agenda.”

Remember the President called on the governors to help him achieve his plan?

He also asked the Governors to create a vision 2020 plan and our state of UT gladly accepted the challenge because after all it sounds great to have more children graduating from college and being prepared for their career. As a mother of 7 I want nothing but the best for my children.

This brought Prosperity 2020 to UT whose stated goal is to align the education training to the workforce demands of the marketplace. This is called central planning and it certainly NOT the America I want for my children. 

In 2011 I witnessed this first hand when sitting down with my high school son and his counselor. What mother wouldn’t want to hear that her son is brilliant and capable of the highest paying jobs in America? I certainly was proud and trusted the system and so when the counselor told me that clearly my son was not going to be a history professor and so let’s pull him out of AP world history and put him in a class that follows his career path. I gladly agreed until one day I woke up and realized what was happening to America.

When did we decide that it was okay for the government to collude with business and claim such a determining role in the education, attitudes, and career paths of our children?

We need to all wake up and then study up, speak up and stand up to save our freedom in this great country.

Let us all remember the wise words of Dallin H. Oaks.
 “I cannot speak for the welfare of children without implications for the choices being made by citizens, public officials, and workers in private organizations. … Children are highly vulnerable. They have little or no power to protect or provide for themselves and little influence on so much that is vital to their well-being. Children need others to speak for them, and they need decision makers who put their well-being ahead of selfish adult interests.” 

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