Every person in America has a vital interest in stopping Common Core, a top-down, one-size-fits-all government takeover of our education system. Instead of teaching critical thinking and problem solving, Common Core stresses the lowest common denominator, punishes achievement, and forces all students to conform to government standards.

Friday, August 23, 2013


Author and historian David Barton guest hosted the Glenn Beck Program on TheBlaze TV Friday, dedicating the hour to the controversial education guidelines known as “Common Core.”
“You’ve heard about it, and over the coming months it’ll be in the news even more as new parts of it continue to unfold,” Barton began. “Common Core is something that is not going away, even though it sure needs to… Today we are going to cover some of the new problems that have emerged since we covered this topic three months ago.”
The hour spanned issues from the lowering of academic standards to alarming data mining techniques.
Regarding the lowering of standards, Barton illustrated the issue with a primary document, pointing to a number of questions 4th grade students had to answer in 1985.
“Easy stuff,” he said.
Could you have answered the following questions in 4th grade?  Could today’s children?
David Barton Discusses Common Core on the Glenn Beck Program
(Photo via TheBlaze TV)
Common Core poses “serious problems for the future of the Republic” for several reasons, Barton asserted, just one of which is that children may no longer be taught cursive handwriting.  Since almost all of America’s founding documents are written in cursive, he said, that means they will be dependent on their teachers and textbooks to tell them what exactly was said.
“This is one of the fundamental problems with progressives – it doesn’t matter how well something is already working, or how long it’s been working well — they’re always wanting change,” Barton said. “They’re always wanting to move forward or lean forward, and they want to leave the old things behind. Progressives are all about progress, after all. They want to implement the new, even if the old works well, and the new doesn’t.”
Watch more from the segment, below:


Thursday, August 22, 2013


Editor’s note: The following story contains graphic language. Discretion is advised.
Common Core, the controversial set of education standards being pushed by many state governors and education leaders, is coming under fire for its selection of a book that’s on the suggested reading list for 11th graders (i.e. 16- and 17-year-olds). The book — a past selection of Oprah’s Book Club — has graphic sex scenes and descriptions that are likely to make you blush.
Toni Morrison's book
Morrison’s first novel
The work in question comes from Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison. Listed on a Common Core reading list linked on the website, “The Bluest Eye” carries this description from the curriculum’s preferred bookseller: An Eleven-Year-Old African-American Girl In Ohio, In The Early 1940s, Prays For Her Eyes To Turn Blue So That She Will Be Beautiful.
That description sounds tame and appears to be a solid lesson about the problems of desiring beauty over anything else. And if you read the Common Core website, here’s an excerpt from the 11th grade exemplar text:
One winter Pauline discovered she was pregnant. When she told Cholly, he surprised her by being pleased. He began to drink less and come home more often. They eased back into a relationship more like the early days of their marriage, when he asked if she were tired or wanted him to bring her something from the store. In this state of ease, Pauline stopped doing day work and returned to her own housekeeping. But the loneliness in those two rooms had not gone away. When the winter sun hit the peeling green paint of the kitchen chairs, when the smoked hocks were boiling in the pot, when all she could hear was the truck delivering furniture downstairs, she thought about back home, about how she had been all alone most of the time then too, but that this lonesomeness was different. Then she stopped staring at the green chairs, at the delivery truck; she went to the movies instead. There in the dark her memory was refreshed, and she succumbed to her earlier dreams. Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another—physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion. In equating physical beauty with virtue, she stripped her mind, bound it, and collected self-contempt by the heap. She forgot lust and simple caring for. She regarded love as possessive mating, and romance as the goal of the spirit. It would be for her a well-spring from which she would draw the most destructive emotions, deceiving the lover and seeking to imprison the beloved, curtailing freedom in every way.
Keep in mind, that is an excerpt, selected by Common Core. And when they publish these online, they are accompanied by this statement: (emphasis added)
When excerpts appear, they serve only as stand-ins for the full text. The Standards require that students engage with appropriately complex literary and informational works; such complexity is best found in whole texts rather than passages from such texts.
Again, when you read the selected passage, a couple of things stand out — Morrison’s powerful command of the written word cannot be denied and the story appears to teach that over-the-top devotion to physical beauty is “one of the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought.” But the snippet posted above is just the excerpt presented online for teachers and interested parents to peruse and doesn’t mention what else is between the pages.
What else is in there? Simply: The the entire book has numerous questionable sexual sections that may not be appropriate for minors.
Macey France, a writer for the online site Politichicks, actually combed the entire text of “The Bluest Eye” and catalogued some of the more offensive and questionable parts. And they are graphic:
Pages 84-85:  “He must enter her surreptitiously, lifting the hem of her nightgown only to her navel. He must rest his weight on his elbows when they make love, to avoid hurting her breasts…When she senses some spasm about to grip him, she will make rapid movements with her hips, press her fingernails into his back, suck in her breath, and pretend she is having an orgasm. She might wonder again, for the six hundredth time, what it would be like to have that feeling while her husband’s penis is inside her.”
Pages 130-131:  “Then he will lean his head down and bite my t** . . . I want him to put his hand between my legs, I want him to open them for me. . . I stretch my legs open, and he is on top of me…He would die rather than take his thing out of me. Of me. I take my fingers out of his and put my hands on his behind…”
Pages 148-149:  “With a violence born of total helplessness, he pulled her dress up, lowered his trousers and underwear. ‘I said get on wid it. An’make it good, n*****, Come on c***. Faster. You ain’t doing nothing for her.’ He almost wished he could do it—hard, long, and painfully, he hated her so much.”
Pages 162-163:  “A bolt of desire ran down his genitals…and softening the lips of his anus. . . . He wanted to f*** her—tenderly. But the tenderness would not hold. The tightness of her vagina was more than he could bear. His soul seemed to slip down his guts and fly out into her, and the gigantic thrust he made into her then provoked the only sound she made. Removing himself from her was so painful to him he cut it short and snatched his genitals out of the dry harbor of her vagina. She appeared to have fainted.”
Page 174:  “He further limited his interests to little girls. They were usually manageable . . . His sexuality was anything but lewd; his patronage of little girls smacked of innocence and was associated in his mind with cleanliness.” And later, this same pedophile notes, “I work only through the Lord. He sometimes uses me to help people.”
Page 181:  “The little girls are the only things I’ll miss. Do you know that when I touched their sturdy little t*** and bit them—just a little—I felt I was being friendly?—If I’d been hurting them, would they have come back? . . . they’d eat ice cream with their legs open while I played with them. It was like a party.”
Those six graphic excerpts cover incest, rape and pedophilia. In her research on the book in question, Macey France also exposes some pretty shocking support for those topics, from the author herself:
In fact, the author of the book, Morrison, says that she wanted the reader to feel as though they are a “co-conspirator” with the rapist. She took pains to make sure she never portrayed the actions as wrong in order to show how everyone has their own problems. She even goes as far as to describe the pedophilia, rape and incest “friendly,” “innocent,” and “tender.” It’s no wonder that this book is in the top 10 list of most contested books in the country.
The presence of the book on Common Core’s list, combined with Morrison’s descriptions of incest, rape, and pedophilia as “friendly,” “innocent,” and “tender” have sparked outrage in some communities. Parents in one Colorado school district are petitioning for the removal of “developmentally inappropriate and graphical content from the instructional reading list.” They are not asking for the book to be banned or even removed from the library, just taken off the suggested reading list.
Colorado school petition
Image: Change.org
Ms. France also cites a 2011 Harris poll on the banning of books and limiting of certain types of books in school libraries.  In that poll, Harris showed:
  • 83% say children should be able to get The Holy Bible
  • 76% support access to books that discuss evolution from school libraries
  • 62% say books with explicit language should not be available to children in school libraries.
With an overwhelming majority of parents supporting restricting – but not banning – young student’s access to books with explicit or questionable content, should Common Core pull this book from it’s list of exemplars? We invite you to participate in our Blaze Poll and comment below.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Student test scores on New York state exams plummeted this year following the state’s adoption of the Common Core national standards.

According to the New York Times, in New York City, 26 percent of students in third through eighth grade passed the state English exam, and only 30 percent passed the math test, compared to 47 percent and 60 percent, respectively, last year.
The Times indicates that city and state officials were expecting the significant drop in scores. Nevertheless, educators and parents reportedly expressed shock when the test results were released.
Chrystina Russell, principal of Global Technology Preparatory in East Harlem, said she was unsure what to say to parents. At her middle school, seven percent of students were rated proficient in English and 10 percent in math on the new tests, while, last year, the proportion passing were 33 percent and 46 percent, respectively.
“Now we’re going to come out and tell everybody that they’ve accomplished nothing this year and we’ve been pedaling backward?” Russell said. “It’s depressing.”
Students in other areas of New York State also showed a decline in test scores. This year, 31 percent of students passed the new exams in both reading and math, compared with 55 percent in reading and 65 percent in math last year.
The Times reports that the exam results show large achievement gaps between black and Hispanic students and white students. In math, 15 percent of black students and 19 percent of Hispanic students passed the test, while 50 percent of white students and 61 percent of Asian students passed.
In response to the grim news of the test results, the Times reports:
Despite the drop in scores, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appeared on Wednesday at a news conference just as he had in years when results were rosier. He rejected criticisms of the tests, calling the results “very good news” and chiding the news media for focusing on the decline. He said black and Hispanic students, who make up two-thirds of the student population, had made progress that was not reflected in the scores.
“We have to make sure that we give our kids constantly the opportunity to move towards the major leagues,” Mr. Bloomberg said.
The results have prompted some critics to claim that the tests are simply too difficult and that they set unrealistic goals.
According to the Times, Diane Ravitch, an education historian, said, “We’re now demanding that most students are A students, and that’s ridiculous. It will feed into a sense that the tests are not even legitimate measures.”
The Obama administration has been highly supportive of Common Core and its alleged “rigorous academic standards” that it believes will raise the bar for students to be better prepared for college and career readiness. The Obama Department of Education has used its “Race to the Top” competitive grant program to lure states to adopt the K-12 Common Core standards. In addition, the Obama administration has suggested that adoption of the Common Core standards could be a qualification for states hoping to obtain future Title I funding for their low-income schools.
However, conservative organizations such as The Heritage Foundation and the Heartland Institute have objected to the federal overreach into education, arguing that, whether states opt out of Common Core or not, the standards are already being used to write the table of contents for textbooks in math and English, a situation that creates pressure for states to adopt the standards.
In addition, the GED and college entrance exams, such as the SAT and ACT, are now being revised to align with the Common Core standards, once again adding pressure to states that choose not to adopt them.
Indiana is the latest state to withdraw from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), its national Common Core testing coalition. In July, Georgia and Oklahoma also withdrew from the tests. PARCC now has only 17 state participants in its coalition, and, thus, may be in jeopardy since it requires 15 state members in order to keep its federal grants that provide all of its operating funds. The other national testing coalition, Smarter Balanced, has 24 participants.