Common Core not the answer
To the editor: I am writing in response to an article from Aug. 27 titled, "Common Core, common good." Charles M. Blow wrote the piece and did a pretty fair job at making Common Core look like the "right thing to do," but I believe he left much unsaid about the issue.
My first concern is that this new education standard won't make U.S. kids any smarter. The Common Core (CC) strategy is to raise middle-scoring students a point or two but do nothing to motivate or help the smarter kids or the less-smarter kids. Professor Sandra Stotsky, a member of the CC validation committee, refused to approve the standards finally published and explained: "Common Core has carefully disguised its road to equally low outcomes for all demographic groups, and many state boards of education may quickly follow up their unexamined adoption of Common Core's K-12 standards â¦ by lowering their high school graduation requirements in the name of alignment."
Taking that a step further, a report by the UCLA-based National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing concluded that "educators will align curriculum and teaching to what is tested, and what is not assessed largely will be ignored." Bill Gates, the largest individual financial contributor to Common Core, told the National Conference of State Legislators, "We'll know we've succeeded when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to these standards." Really? How does "teaching the test" make our kids smarter?
Gates constantly teams up with anti-free market types like the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) to produce "educational programs" in his software packages, misdirecting unsuspecting children with political propaganda. In 2002 he gave the NWF $600,000 worth of software to help these environmental radicals run their programs to block the drilling of American oil. Apparently Gates doesn't understand that he needs oil to create power to run computers. Most recently, his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated $3 million to eight universities to reinvent the flush toilet. Environmentalists call that device "one of the world's most destructive habits" - hardly a person or foundation that I as a parent would want directing the educational path of my children.
Upon doing other research, I found that the new science standards, "Next Generation Science Standards," were examined by nine scientists and mathematicians for content, rigor and clarity, after which the Fordham Institute gave them a grade of "C." They criticized the "ceiling on the content and skills that will be measured at each grade," the excluding of content that more advanced students can learn, the failure "to include essential math content that is critical to science learning" in physics and chemistry, and the "confusing" wording of the standards. The institute studied the science standards and concluded they are inferior to existing standards in 12 states, superior in only 16 states, and the standards of 22 states are too close to call. Blow stated: "High performance education is not only valuable to our sense of self, but essential to our future prosperity." I agree, but we do not find such things in Common Core.
My second concern with Common Core is that it means federal control of school curriculum. Federal control will replace all curriculum decisions by state and local school boards, state legislatures, parents, and even Congress because President Obama bypassed Congress by using $4 billion of stimulus money to promote Common Core. This may not be concerning to many since we have already handed over many of our liberties to the government, but we must realize that it's not only public schools that must obey the fed's dictates. Common Core will control the curriculum of charter schools, private schools, religious schools, Catholic schools and yes, even homeschooling,
How will this be done? The control mechanism is the tests themselves. Kids must pass the tests in order to get a high school diploma, admittance to college or a GED. If they haven't studied a curriculum based on Common Core, they won't score well on the tests.
I quote Phyllis Schlafly (American constitutional lawyer, author, and founder of the Eagle Forum.): "Don't be under any illusion that Common Core will make kids smarter. The Common Core academic level is lower than what many states use now, and the math standards are so inferior that the only real mathematician on the validation committee refused to sign off on the math standards. He said the CC standards are two years behind international expectations by the eighth grade, and fall further behind in grades 8 to 12. The CC math standards downgrade the years when algebra and geometry are to be taught."
One more concern that I have with Common Core is that it means government agencies will gather and store all sorts of private information on every school child into a longitudinal database from birth through all levels of schooling, plus giving government the right to share and exchange this nosy information with other government and private agencies, thus negating the federal law that now prohibits that. This type of surveillance and control of individuals is the mark of a totalitarian government.
Is this really what we as parents, teachers and Americans want? We have become a surveillance society, i.e, drones, NSA, cameras everywhere. And that surveillance is spreading to our public schools.
To recap, the standards of Common Core are not as high as we have been led to believe. The reader can find out exactly what Common Core curriculum is about by doing some research. In just a few minutes I found a video on youtube (Indoctrination in Common Core ELA texts), which shows clearly at the first-grade level what the texts are all about. Look it up; you will be upset. Granted the video shows Common Core aligned texts for Utah, but do not think the same things will not be taught in Pennsylvania.