Support plummets for a United Nations inspired plan to federalize education and turn students into global citizens.
By Rick Brinegar
“It seems inevitable that the more people learn
about Common Core, the less they like it.”
– Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project
Is Common Core Good for America?
A June 2014 poll, conducted by Rasmussen Reports, showed that support is dropping as more parents find out the details of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
A New York teacher complained that Common Core State Standards (CCSS) “doesn’t allow kids to be kids.” “Their expectations are insane,” she said, “Robbing kids of their innocence and preparing kindergartners for college is idiotic.” A California teacher said, “Many of my fellow teachers either do not know or are in denial about where we are headed! Unfortunately, I cannot continue to be the only ‘rebellious’ one; they will simply get rid of me.”
Common Core Syndrome
Students, in schools that have adopted Common Core standards, can expect hours of homework at night after putting in a full day of school, with complicated lessons and worksheets to prepare them for three days of state exams. Parents are reporting that their children come home and develop disturbing symptoms such as anxiety attacks, bursting into tears, vomiting, headaches and self-mutilation.
The Kindergarten through grade 3 portions of Common Core seem to be the most destructive. The standards are not age-appropriate, not even remotely lining up with the cognitive and developmental stages for children established by early childhood education experts. “These standards are not just asking a kid to swim before they can walk,” according to A.P. Dillion, posting on Da Tech Guy Blog, “they are throwing them in the deep end of the pool and marking them down when they drown.” It turns out that no early education professionals or teachers were part of the 135-person “committee” that assembled the standards.
In November 2013, Education Secretary Arne Duncan brushed aside these concerns when he addressed a group of state school superintendents in Richmond, Virginia. “It’s fascinating to me,” he said, “that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who – all of a sudden – their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were.”
The “Mommies’ Revolt”
The increasing opposition which is spreading across the states is largely provoked by parents of school children. Common Core has turned people who had been busy with family life and careers, without much time for politics, into political activists. Parents across America are emerging to fervently protest against the controversial and abusive new standards.
17 States Opt Out of Common Core
At least 17 of the original 45 states, which had voluntarily adopted the new national public school curriculum standards, have taken action to restrict or reverse the rollout of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. As recently as July 2014, North Carolina passed legislation to review and replace the Common Core standards. State Representative Edgar Starnes (R) noted that the effort to replace the Common Core “came from the parents.” There are several obviously valid reasons why so many states are questioning the value of implementing the CCSS.
“State-led”, Voluntary Standards Usurped by Federal Control
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill repealing Common Core, even though she is chairwoman of the National Governors Association, one of the private groups which hold the copyright of Common Core. Fallin said, after she signed the bill, “Common Core was created with that well-intentioned goal in mind. … It was originally designed as a state-led – not federal – initiative that each state could choose to voluntarily adopt.” “Unfortunately,” she continued, “federal overreach has tainted Common Core. President Obama and Washington bureaucrats have usurped Common Core in an attempt to influence state education standards.” Fallin’s analysis illustrates why states should not adopt untested policy changes merely to attract federal cash.
Untested but Vigorously Promoted
Common Core was vigorously promoted as “rigorous”, “high standards” that would make ALL students “college and career-ready” and “globally competitive”. However, Common Core was untested. There was no evidence for these claims. Economist Robert Lerman of the Urban Institute was skeptical of Common Core because it had never been field-tested to see how it would work in real classrooms, or how it would affect the students who were currently struggling. He also raised concerns that Common Core assumed that college and career skills are the same. “On its face, the idea is absurd,” he said, “After all, do chefs, policemen, welders, hotel managers, professional baseball players and health technicians all require college skills for their careers?”
David Coleman, Bill Gates and Private Organizations
David Coleman, currently president of the College Board, a national education company, is best known as the “architect” of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. In 2008, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officials convened a group to create a set of unified national education standards. They were attracted to Coleman’s idea of “fewer, clearer, higher”, and hired Student Achievement Partners, which Coleman had founded, to write their national education standards.
In 2008, Coleman and Gene Wilhoit, the director of a national group of state school chiefs, persuaded Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, to fund the process of turning their idea of national education standards into reality. Since the U.S. Department of Education cannot legally influence, control or instruct curriculum in schools, and to keep Common Core from public and media scrutiny, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation stepped in to give millions to three private organizations in Washington, D.C.: the National Governors Association (NGA), the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and progressive education company, Achieve Inc. None of these groups are accountable to parents, teachers, students or taxpayers. The Gates Foundation also funded political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes.
Developed in Secret
Heartland Magazine published an article in June 2013, entitled, “Five People Wrote ‘State-Led’ Common Core,” which detailed some of the behind-the-scenes processes which were involved in the writing of the Common Core standards. Joy Pullmann, a research fellow of The Heartland Institute, reported that, although many people sat in the workgroups and various committees involved in the creation of Common Core, “All of the standards writing and discussions were sealed by confidentiality agreements, and held in private.”
Not Developed by Educators
Although David Coleman is known as the “architect” of the Common Core standards, as Breitbart posted in a July 12, 2014 article, the actual writers of the math and English Language Arts standards had never taught math, reading or English at the K-12 level. Also, according to the Breitbart article, there were no high school English and mathematics teachers, English professors, scientists, engineers, parents, state legislators, early childhood educators nor state or local school board members in the Standards Development Work Groups.
For the most part, it seems that the people who develop educational policy, such as the Common Core standards, are not necessarily teachers, administrators or representatives of each school’s community.
What to Think, Not How to Think
Mary Black, veteran teacher and one of the leaders of the Freedom Project Education home-schooling program has asserted, “My review of Common Core standards indicated that they were designed to teach students what to think and not how to think.”
Federal Overreach, a National School Board?
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) criticized the federalization of education at a Senate hearing in April 2014, when he pressured Education Secretary Arne Duncan to explain how the use of his authority to grant waivers to states from the requirements of No Child Left Behind does not amount to a “national school board”. Senator Lamar charged that Secretary Duncan’s overreach is “undermining” high state academic standards, and is taking responsibility away from states, local officials and teachers.
Full-Service Community Schools
Education Secretary Duncan’s approach to improving education illustrates the trend to replace parental responsibility for child-rearing with government programs. Secretary Duncan, who holds only a bachelor’s degree in sociology and has never actually been a teacher, has promoted the development of local school facilities as the centers of the community under a program called Full-Service Community Schools. He advocates keeping schools open from 12 to 14 hours per day, seven days per week, providing a wide variety of after-school activities, social enrichment and medical services, to maximize the use of the physical facilities so that the school becomes the center of community life. Unfortunately, it seems that our government believes that the family, as the center of community life, is a thing of the past.
No Child Left Behind Act
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 has been largely responsible for the widespread implementation of standardized testing in the United States. In general, it is based on the concept that everyone is capable of the exact same learning. The reality, however, is that everyone learns in different ways, with different personalities and abilities. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, in March 2011, that his department estimated that four out of five schools in the United States would not make their No Child Left Behind benchmarks by the law’s target year of 2014. The New York Times reported in July 2012, that the Obama administration had issued waivers to free schools in more than half the nation from the central provisions of the No Child Left Behind law. This federal program has been essentially nullified. It seems as though this attempt to federally standardize education has left everyone behind.
Race to the Top
Race to the Top, a four-year competitive grant program, announced in 2009, was intended to encourage and reward states which were “creating conditions for innovation and reform.” Apprehensive that a poorly educated workforce would make the U.S. economy less competitive, the Obama administration aggressively promoted an education program which used test score data to evaluate teachers, shut down and “reconstitute” failing schools and expand privately-run, mostly non-union, charter schools. In his first major speech on Education in 2009, President Obama said, “It’s time to prepare every child, everywhere in America, to out-compete any worker, anywhere in the world.”
In March 2014, the Obama administration touted that “Race to the Top” had helped states improve teaching and learning, and expand programs that help prepare students for higher education and the workforce. Education Week countered, however, that the report contains “very little hard data and ignores a number of ‘Race to the Top’ hiccups, including delays in tying teacher evaluation to student outcomes.” “The report,” continued Education Week, “is thin on data and heavy on anecdotes about interesting strategies employed by ‘Race to the Top’ winners.” Rep. John Kline (R-MN), the chairman of the House Education Committee, criticized the White House report, saying, “The administration’s latest PR stunt doesn’t prove ‘Race to the Top’ is working, it proves the administration is clumsily trying to take credit for the extraordinary education reform movement happening in our nation’s schools.”
Common Core Database Off-limits to Parents
“Race to the Top” grants are awarded to states on the condition that the states agree to implement the Common Core standards and comply with “Four Assurances”, one of which is “building data systems that measure student growth and success.”
Common Core’s authors believe that the collection of student data is essential to the success of the standards. States which have implemented Common Core have committed to expand their data collection. The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act was altered by the Department of Education in 2013 to provide that any government, or private entity, that the department claims is evaluating an education program may have access to students’ personal information without notifying the parents. The Gates Foundation helped inBloom build a massive $100 million student-tracking database in 2012.
A “Cogs in the Machine” report reveals the education establishment is working toward its longtime goal of collecting data on every child, beginning with preschool or earlier, “to track the child throughout his academic and professional career.” These systems will compile massive amounts of personal information, including health-care histories, income information, religious affiliations, voting status and even blood types and homework completion.
Detailed information about the students is shared with private companies and the federal government, but not with the children’s parents. One Colorado parent said, “Now CDE [Colorado Department of Education] tells us that we can’t see the data or who it has been shared with? It seems crazy to me that complete strangers and vendors can have access to my children’s data, but I cannot.”
“Obamacore” Federal Overreach
Because of the way education policy is generally decided, Common Core was instituted in many states without a single vote taken by any elected lawmaker. When local Tea Party groups began protesting what they viewed as the latest intrusion by an overreaching federal government, Common Core became known to its detractors as “Obamacore”.
Indoctrination Over Education
An excerpt from the CCSS curriculum, an exercise in forming possessive nouns, illustrates Common Core’s attempt to brainwash children to mindlessly follow the will of the government:
“2) The people of a nation do not always agree. 3) The choices of a president affect everyone. 4) He makes sure the laws of the country are fair. 5) The commands of government officials must be obeyed by all. 6) The wants of the individual are less important than the well-being of the nation.”
Preparing for the Global Community
Most of the nation, with the exception of Texas, Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska and Virginia, voluntarily opted into Common Core when it was first presented in June 2010, and excitedly awaited their federal funds. How did this happen?
The roots of the concept can be traced back to the influence of Robert Muller, former Assistant Secretary-General and the “Prophet of Hope” of the United Nations. In 1984, the link between Common Core and the United Nations became apparent when UNESCO published a document entitled “UNESCO and Common Core – From the Grandfather of Common Core, Robert Muller, founder of the ‘World Core Curriculum’.”
World Core Curriculum
Robert Muller spent nearly 40 years creating his “World Core Curriculum”. Muller’s curriculum was first implemented at Robert Muller School in Arlington, Texas in 1979, anticipating that the school would be the progenitor of similar schools throughout the world. The curriculum has in its origins a “one-world” government and spirituality that includes a one-world religion, one-world education system and a one-world government.
In “A Letter to All Educators in the World,” he wrote, “In the middle of my life I discovered that the only true, objective education I had received was from the United Nations where the earth, humanity, our place in time and the worth of the human being were the overriding concerns…So at the request of educators I wrote the World Core Curriculum, the product of the United Nations, the meta-organism of human and planetary evolution….”
The Father of Global Education
Robert Muller has been called “the father of global education.” He sees the United Nations as a God-sent instrument for world peace and “a true turning point in our planet’s and human evolution.” Muller said, in 2006, “Within 15 years we will have a proper government and administration of planet earth and of humanity.” At the Global Citizenship 2000 Youth Congress, he said, “You must remember the Earth. I would even say that the word ‘global education’ and the word ‘global citizens’…I’m almost tempted to change the words and to replace them by ‘Earth education’ and by ‘Earth citizen’…we are children of the Sun and we are children of the Earth.”
As we compare these themes with the stated goals of UNESCO, Agenda 21, the Earth Charter and Outcome Based Education standards, we can discern the central philosophy and world view which form the historical basis for today’s Common Core State Standards.
The Philosophical Bias of Common Core
Uniformity is at the heart of Common Core’s stated goals. All children, in all states, will learn the same content, in the same manner, so that the children may become useful workers. Common Core omits the goal of the pursuit of truth. The dominant philosophy of modern education is that there are neither absolute truths nor absolute values. Common Core also reveals a bias that supports the idea that all that is new is naturally superior to that which comes from prior generations of human knowledge.
Progressive educator John Dewey, believed that a standardized curriculum would prevent any student from feeling superior to others, and foresaw a workforce full of people of “politically and socially correct attitudes” who would submit to directives without question. “You cannot make socialists out of individualists,” he said, “Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society.”
In an article entitled “Common Core Goes Global,” Mary Jo Anderson explains how Common Core texts discourage patriotism:
“Common Core exemplars and aligned texts are designed to cause disorientation for the American child by de-emphasizing national cultural identity. At home he learned to be proud of his country, to respect the flag and the Constitution, but under CCSS the child will find few positive images of America…Children of this age naturally want to love family and friends, discover a sense of belonging and develop an identity. Common Core avoids “cultural bias” by discouraging the development of a patriotic attachment to the nation state.”
CCSS “Global” Mission Statement
The Common Core State Standards Mission Statement contains language that clearly reveals its globalist, one-world government origins: “…with American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the new global economy.”
United Nations Education Goals
In harmony with Common Core’s philosophical bias, some textbooks and curricula for our public schools have already been written by the UNESCO and the International Baccalaureate program, and are currently in many school districts in America. The stated education goals of the United Nations are contained in Agenda 21, chapter 25: “Ensure access for all youth to all types of education…ensure that education …incorporates the concepts of environmental awareness and sustainable development throughout the curricula…”
The Constitution as a Living Document
A Common Core lesson plan promotes the idea that the Constitution is a “living document”, which may be interpreted differently from what was intended by the founders. The plan recommends that students investigate an area of debate which presumes the need to re-interpret or amend the Constitution, such as “gun control, balancing the federal budget, gay marriage, or even the legality of selling alcohol.”
Globalist Expert Says American Children are Mentally Ill
The mindset of those who promote the globalization of education is vividly illustrated in remarks made by Dr. Chester Pierce, Harvard psychiatrist, during a 1973 International Education Seminar. “Every child in America who enters school at the age of five is mentally ill,” he said, “because he comes to school with an allegiance to our institutions, toward the preservation of this form of government that we have. Patriotism, nationalism, and sovereignty, all proves that children are sick because a truly well individual is one who has rejected all of those things, and is truly the international child of the future.”
Does Common Core Improve Education?
There is no evidence to support the claim that Common Core improves education. There are no studies showing that Common Core improves college readiness. It is ludicrous to call Common Core “state-led”, when unelected workgroups and committees operated behind closed doors to develop and copyright the standards, while completely bypassing voters, teachers and legislators.
Common Core fits right in as a pretext for big-government expansion and the elimination of personal privacy. There is no transparency, accountability or parental autonomy in any of its elements. It is not about excellence. It is all about control and more control.
Common Core is rapidly losing support. It is an experiment which is part of a century-long attempt to use the educational system to mold students into consumers, worker drones and global citizens who will be submissive to the federal government, and who will ultimately become obedient to the One-World Government prophesied in the Bible.