Obama’s national curriculum: Rotten to the Common Core (Part 1)

April 18, 2013

Th-4By Nancy Thorner – 

In a speech to the National Governor’s Association in 2010, President Obama stated:

“I want to commend to all of you for acting collectively through the National Governors Association to develop common standards that will better position our students for success. And today, I’m announcing steps to encourage and support all states to transition to college and career-ready standards on behalf of America’s students. First, as a consideration to receiving access to Title 1 funds, we will ask all states to put in place a plan to adopt and certify standards that are college and career-ready in reading and math.”
What President Obama calls “college and career-ready standards” actually is a federally mandated education curriculum known as Common Core, a set of requirements setting out what every child should learn in grades K – 12 in math, English and other subjects. Back in 2009, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan quickly rolled out this new national curriculum, lacking any backup research, with $4.5 billion in “Race to the Top” stimulus spending.  Basically, the administration bribed cash-starved states into adopting unseen instructional standards as a condition of winning billions of dollars in grants. Even states who had lost their bids for “Race to the Top” money were required to commit to Common Core.

In 2010, Illinois became one of 46 states signing up for Common Core by accepting federal funds through the Obama’s stimulus package.

As with Obamacare, states were promised federal subsidies to get the program started.  Questions do remain, however, as to how much and for how long those federal funds will continue to flow.  Also akin to Obamacare is that testing standards for Common core had to be adopted before they were even known.  This was part of the quid pro quo for receiving the stimulus money back in 2009.  In so doing the states signed on to what amounts to an experimental learning program that has never been tried or tested as to academic achievement results.

Recently, the Illinois State Board of Education began the process of informing taxpayers of the new federally bench-marked Common Core Standards Initiative.  The High Implementation Cost for Illinois will be $733 million dollars” over the next seven years. Was an Illinois cost analysis ever conducted?  How will Illinois pay for this massive cost?  What is more, Illinois Bill HB-23457 will not allow school districts to discontinue or modify any mandated activity regarding costs to Common Core, thereby ceding the sovereign rights of Illinois. (Pioneer Institute and American Principles Project White Paper. No. 87, May 2012)

At the present time, Common Core is focused on math and language arts.  The plan is to complete the roll out on these two subjects and then redirect attention to science and history as well as health and sex education.  As far as standards being rigorous, the overall math requirement will drop so that Algebra 1 will move from 8th to 9th grade, making calculus unachievable by anyone but AP students before graduation. Accordingly,  CCSS math standards will not produce students who are ready for college level math (Calculus is required by most four year universities.).

It is quite revealing that three state governors rejected Common Core standards from the beginning.  Virginia governor Bob McDonnell recently said: “The bottom line is, we don’t need the federal government with the Common Core telling up how to run our schools in Virginia.  We’ll use our own system which is very good.  It’s empirically tested.”  Texas governor Rick Perry, never one to mince words, said, “The academic standards of Texas are not for sale.”

Then there is Nikki Haley of South Carolina who did not want to relinquish control of education to the federal government in her state.

State lawmakers in Michigan are seriously thinking about opting out of Common Core standards, believing that Common Core standards seem to lower the bar thereby limiting the ability to raise the bar.

Gov. Mike Pence has also indicated that Indiana leaders will “take a long, hard look” at Common Core.  Indiana has cited concerns over quality, cost, and loss of control.  Indiana and Michigan are just two of approximately ten their states considering legislation to withdraw from Common Core.

The intent of the Obama administration’s $4.5 billion “Race to the Top” stimulus spending back in 2009 seems obvious, it was to break the states’ monopolies on education by using federal purse strings to bribe states into handing over control of curriculum standards to the Department of Education.   Empowered by Washington education bureaucrats and backed by liberal philanthropists led by billionaire Bill Gates, there is every reason to fear a further radical makeover of your children’s school curriculum under Common Core standards that will do nothing to raise achievement standards.

Mirroring the concerns expressed by governors are moms, dads and even teachers apprehensive that the federal government is on the brink of dictating the contents to be taught in every school. And there is every reason to believe that the agenda will be progressive driven.  After all, the federal government has spent billions to move Common Core forward, and it has put billions more on the line to fully implement.

Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 10:51 AM | Permalink


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