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.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Sneaky Tactic Some States Are Using Now That Parents Are Standing Up Against Common Core

As fed-up parents across the nation voice their staunch opposition to federal Common Core standards, several states are trying a new approach to appease them… by just changing the name in a “rebranding” effort.
In Iowa, Common Core is now referred to as “The Iowa Core” and as “Next Generation Sunshine State Standards” in Florida. Further, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed an executive order recently to scrub the “Common Core” name from their math and reading standards. Louisiana is also reportedly considering a name change.
Common Core
Glyn Wright, executive director of the Eagle Forum, told FoxNews.com that the name isn’t the problem.
“Even under a different name, the Common Core Standards are still mediocre, at best, and continue to put American students at a significant disadvantage to their international peers,” Wright said.
There are only four states in the U.S. that haven’t adopted at least some Common Core standards.
Critics argue that Common Core, which was never voted on by Congress, promotes a one-size-fits-all approach to education and takes away control from teachers and local school systems. There have also been problems with Common Core “aligned” lessons and textbooks including liberal and progressive political messages.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee sits down for lunch before speaking at the Republican National Committee winter meeting in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014. AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Some Republicans, including Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee, have been longtime supporters of Common Core. Both agree that the name change is necessary because the term Common Core has become “toxic.”
“Rebrand it, refocus it, but don’t retreat,” Huckabee said at a recent meeting of the Council of Chief State School Officers.
Wright had this to say of the tactic: “Rebranding the Common Core does not change the fact that it is still a top-down, federally controlled approach to education that is untested and unproven. We know that Americans will not be fooled by dressing-up this failed initiative.”

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Do Common Core’s roots date back to America’s earliest socialists?

In a recent article, TheBlaze’s Fred Lucas noted a troubling aspect of the mindset driving Common Core. Lucas revealed that during an education panel at the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, Common Core proponent and former Massachusetts education Secretary Paul Reveille stated “the children belong to all of us.”
Back in 2010, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan argued that schools should have a communal function stating:
“My vision is that schools need to be community centers. Schools need to be open 12, 13, 14 hours a day six, seven days a week, 12 months out of the year, with a whole host of activities, particularly in disadvantaged communities…Where schools truly become centers of the community, great things happen.”
In doing some research on progressive education, we came across “Education: Free & Compulsory,” a 1971 book written by libertarian economist Murray Rothbard. In the book, Rothbard notes that Frances Wright and Robert Dale Owen, two of the first socialists in America, writing in the early-to-mid-1800s, outlined an education system eerily ideologically similar to that of Paul Reveille, Arne Duncan and other proponents of Common Core specifically and progressive education more broadly.
In fact, Wright and Owen start from Reveille’s premise that “the children belong to all of us,” and take this notion to its logical end that children should be taken away from their parents altogether and raised in public schools, more closely reflecting Duncan’s vision.
A screen shot of the answer key for a questionable homework assignment from Common Core for 3rd grade grammar. (Image Source: @ColletteMoran)
Screen shot of the answer key for a questionable 3rd grade grammar assignment from Common Core. (Image Source: @ColletteMoran)
Check out the remarkably prescient passage from Rothbard’s book below [emphasis ours]:
“By the 1820s, their goals of compulsion and statism were already germinating over the country, and particularly flourishing in New England, although the individualist tradition was still strong. One factor that increased the power of New England in diffusing the collectivist idea in education was the enormous migration from that area. New Englanders swarmed south and west out of New England, and carried their zeal for public schooling and for State compulsion with them.
Into this atmosphere was injected the closest that the country had seen to Plato’s idea, of full State communistic control over the children. This was the plan of two of the first socialists in America—Frances Wright and Robert Dale Owen. Owen was the son of one of the first British “Utopian” Socialists, and with Robert Owen, his father, had attempted an experiment in a voluntary-communist community in New Harmony, Indiana. Frances Wright was a Scotswoman who had also been at New Harmony, and with Owen, opened a newspaper called the Free Enquirer. Their main objective was to campaign for their compulsory education system. Wright and Owen outlined their scheme as follows:
“It is national, rational, republican education; free for all at the expense of all; conducted under the guardianship of the State, and for the honor, the happiness, the virtue, the salvation of the state.


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The major aim of the plan was that equality be implanted in the minds, the habits, the manners, and the feelings, so that eventually fortunes and conditions would be equalized. Instead of the intricate apparatus of common schools, high schools, seminaries, etc., Wright and Owen advocated that thestates simply organize a series of institutions for the “general reception” of all children living within that district. These establishments would be devoted to the complete rearing of the various age groups of children. The children would be forced to live at these places twenty-four hours a day. The parents would be allowed to visit their children from time to time. From the age of two every child would be under the care and guidance of the State.
“In these nurseries of a free nation, no inequality must be allowed to enter. Fed at a common board; clothed in a common garb…raised in the exercise of common duties…in the exercise of the same virtues, in the enjoyment of the same pleasures; in the study of the same nature; in pursuit of the same object…say! Would not such a race…work out the reform of society and perfect the free institutions of America?”
Owen was quite insistent that the system not “embrace anything less than the whole people.” The effect will be to “regenerate America in one generation. It will make but one class out of the many.”Frances Wright revealed the aim of the system starkly, calling on the people to overthrow a moneyed aristocracy and priestly hierarchy. “The present is a war of class.” Thus, we see that a new element has been introduced into the old use of compulsory education on behalf of State absolutism.
The…aim of the plan was that equality be implanted..so..fortunes and conditions would be equalized
A second goal is absolute equality and uniformity, and a compulsory school system was seen by Owen and Wright to be ideally suited to this task. First, the habits and minds and feelings of all the children must be molded into absolute equality; and then the nation will be ripe for the final step of equalization of property and incomes by means of State coercion.Why did Owen and Wright insist on seizing the children for twenty-four hours a day, from the age of two on, only releasing them when the school age was over at sixteen? As Owen declared:
“In republican schools, there must be no temptation to the growth of aristocratical prejudices. The pupils must learn to consider themselves as fellow citizens, as equals. Respect ought not to be paid to riches, or withheld from poverty. Yet, if the children from these state Schools are to go every evening, the one to his wealthy parent’s soft carpeted drawing room, and the other to its poor father’s or widowed mother’s comfortless cabin, will they return the next day as friends and equals?”
Likewise, differences in quality of clothing invoked feelings of envy on the part of the poor and disdain by the rich—which should be eliminated by forcing one uniform upon both. Throughout his plans there runs the hatred of human diversity, particularly of the higher living standards of the rich as compared to the poor. To effect his plan for thoroughgoing equalization by force, the schools
“must receive the children, not for six hours a day, but altogether must feed them, clothe them, lodge them; must direct not their studies only, but their occupations and amusements and must care for them until their education is completed.”
Rothbard notes that for those who might argue that the “Owen-Wright plan is unimportant; that it had purely crackpot significance and little influence…The contrary is true.”
He cites the former president of the progressive Teachers College at Columbia University, Lawrence A. Cremin, who wrote “The Transformation of the School: Progressivism in American Education, 1876-1957“ as “a contemporary laudatory historian of the public-school movement” who “places it [the Owen-Wright plan] first in his story, and devotes considerable space to it.”
According to Rothbard, the prominent Professor Cremin “reports that a great many newspapers reprinted Owen’s essays on the plan, and approved them.” Further, Cremin notes that the plan:
“exerted a great influence on the widely noted report of a committee of Philadelphia workers in 1829 to report on education in Pennsylvania. The report called for equality, and equal education and proper training for all. And this and similar reports “had a considerable influence in preparing the way for the progressive legislation of the middle thirties.”
Lending further credence to the lasting effect of the Owen-Wright plan, a 2013 book titled “Progressive Education” by education historian John Howlett notes “Perhaps the continuing successes of the educational aspects of Owen’s philosophy attest to their radical, progressive, and, ultimately successful, nature.”

Monday, February 10, 2014

Surprising Liberal Governor Is Taking Another Look at Common Core

Facing critics from both the left and the right, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo named a panel to try to fix the implementation of Common Core in the state.

An anti-Common Core demonstration in Jackson, Miss., Jan. 7, 2014. (AP/Rogelio V. Solis)

Cuomo’s action comes after New York State United Teachers, the largest teachers union for the Empire State, joined the chorus of critics and called for a moratorium on the standards, saying there is too great a focus on testing.

New York is one of 45 states that has adopted the K-12 standards for math and English developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Common Core is touted by the Obama administration and national teacher unions as a way to prepare kids for the future, while critics say it is tantamount to national standards because the U.S. Department of Education incentivize states to adopt the standards to get federal dollars.

Last week, nine Republican senators introduced a resolution to prevent the Department of Education from making adoption of Common Core standards a requirement to receive federal school grants. But the bulk of opposition has come from Republicans in red states.

New York is among the bluest of Democratic-leaning states in the country. Yet, Cuomo – a Democrat and supporter of the standards – is being pushed to consider changes.

“The Common Core standards are a critical part of transforming New York’s schools, and the failure to effectively implement them has led to confusion and frustration among students and their families,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I urge the members of this panel to work speedily in bringing forward a set of actionable recommendations to improve the implementation of the Common Core.”

The 11-member Common Core panel includes national experts, New York state legislators, parents, educators, business and nonprofit leaders, according to the governor’s office.

The panel could have benefited from more teacher and parent representation, said Richard Iannuzzi, president of the New York State United Teachers, who added that the panel must “work swiftly to respond to parents, teachers and school leaders who are committed to high standards and accountability but are frustrated and angry.”

“The state’s over-reliance on standardized testing and data — and rush to test students before teachers had a chance to deliver instruction, and before all the appropriate curriculum materials were provided — undermines whatever potential new standards may have to improve student achievement,” Iannuzzi said.

“A moratorium on the high-stakes consequences for students and teachers from standardized testing will provide time needed for the board of regents, state Education Department and school districts to make the necessary course corrections and provide additional support to students and educators to get us back to teaching and learning, and not testing and more testing.”

Republican state Assemblyman Al Graf has reportedly been the leading opponent in the legislature against Common Core standards. He submitted a bill to withdraw the state from both Common Core and the Race to the Top federal grant program, Capitol New York reported.

Meanwhile, even a Democratic supporter of Common Core, state Sen. David Valesky told the Syracuse Post-Standard he supports blocking the standards.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

GOP Sens. Blast Obama ‘Coercion’ of Schools Through Common Core

Nine Republican senators on Wednesday joined the outcry against Common Core State Standards for education introducing a Senate resolution insisting that federal grants should be tied to adopting what critics believe are de facto national standards.
GOP Sens. Blast Obama Coercion of Schools Through Common Core
Karima Hawkins of Jackson, foreground, holds a sign against Common Core, the State Standards Initiative that established a single set of educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics, at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. (AP/Rogelio V. Solis)
“The Obama administration has effectively bribed and coerced states into adopting Common Core,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a statement Wednesday. “Blanket education standards should not be a prerequisite for federal funding. In order to have a competitive application for some federal grants and flexibility waivers, states have to adopt Common Core. This is simply not the way the Obama administration should be handling education policy. Our resolution affirms that education belongs in the hands of our parents, local officials and states.”
Graham’s South Carolina colleague, Sen. Tim Scott, joined as a co-sponsor to the resolution, as did Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, and Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
TheBlaze first reported last week that Graham was seeking co-sponsors for the draft resolution.
Common Core are education standards for greades K-12 in math and English that were adopted by 45 states and Washington, D.C. The standards were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. It has the backing of the Obama administration’s Education Department and national teacher unions.
Critics including parent groups, private school organizations and lawmakers are concerned that Common Core amounts to a de facto national curriculum through incentives of $3.4 billion in Race to the Top grants from the Department of Education.
“Common Core is another example of Washington trying to control all aspects of Americans’ lives, including the education of our children,” Cruz said in a statement supporting the resolution. “We should not allow the federal government to dictate what our children learn; rather, parents, through their teachers, local schools and state systems, should be able to direct the education of their children.”
Among organizations concerned about the standards are the American Association of Christian Schools and Home School Legal Defense Association.
“HSLDA applauds Sen. Graham for this powerful resolution pushing back against the notion that Washington, D.C. should use taxpayer dollars to pressure states into adopting specific education policy,” said J. Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. “Parents, teachers and local school districts, not education bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., should be in charge of the critical decisions of what, when and how children learn. The success of homeschooling shows that greater freedom and less top-down control helps lead to academic success.”
The resolution states that education belongs in the hands of states, local governments and parents and that the federal government should not coerce states into adopting uniform standards. More to the point, the resolution states that future applications for federal grants or waivers should not be tied to the adoption of Common Core. It states that linking federal grants to common education will increase federal control over education.
“Educational decisions are best made by parents and teachers – not bureaucrats in Washington,” Scott said. “While Common Core started out as a state-led initiative, the federal government unfortunately decided to use carrots and sticks to coerce states into adopting national standards and assessments. That is simply the wrong choice for our kids.”
Lee added that that states could lose control of their guidelines.
“Common Core has become polluted with federal guidelines and mandates that interfere with the ability of parents, teachers and principals to deliver the education our children deserve,” Lee said. “Rather than increasing coercion, we should be demanding that further interference by the U.S. Department of Education with respect to state decisions on academic content standards be eliminated.”

Monday, February 3, 2014


In yet another reason to worry about Common Core, a proponent of the education standards said that “the children belong to all of us.”
The liberal think tank Center for American Progress held a forum on the English and math standards on Friday that have been adopted by 45 states and Washington, D.C., CNSNews.comreported.
Another Reason to Be Worried About Common Core: The Children Belong to All of Us
Education Secretary Arne Duncan, left, speaks with student Stephanie Gil after roundtable discussion with local students, parents and educators at the Benito Juarez Community Academy in Chicago, Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. (AP/Kamil Krzaczynski)
A panelist and former Massachusetts education secretary Paul Reville dismissed opposition to Common Core.
“To be sure, there’s always a small voice – and I think these voices get amplified in the midst of these arguments – of people who were never in favor of standards in the first place and never wanted to have any kind of testing or accountability and those voices get amplified,” Reville said, according to CNSNews.com. “But those are a tiny minority.”
He continued arguing against leaving standards entirely at the local level.
“Why should some towns and cities and states have no standards or low standards and others have extremely high standards when the children belong to all of us and would move [to different states in their educational lives]?” Reville said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) this week is expected to introduce a Senate resolution critical of the Common Core state standards, and objecting to the use of $4.3 billion in Department of Education “Race to the Top” grants to promote its adoption.
During the Center for American Progress panel Friday, Reville said states have voluntarily adopted the standards because it made sense for them.
“So, it’s less about where it came from and more about, ‘OK, now we settled on this as a set of targets, what are the strategies we need to implement, to be successful at it?’ Because educators and students want to be successful,” Reville said.
The Center for American Progress was founded by John Podesta, current counsel to President Barack and former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton.

Common Core education standards were adopted by 45 states for English and math for kindergarten through 12th grade. Though not formally a set of national standards, many critics believe it has become de facto standards through an Obama administration’s carrot and stick approach. Common Core is supported by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The standards have even prompted opposition on the left, as the as the New York State United Teachers, the state’s public school teacher union, announced formal oppositions to the standards.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Though former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told his Fox News Channel audience in early December he was no longer supporting the Common Core standards for which he had avidly campaigned, his message to one of the groups that created the standards was different.

According to The Washington Post, at a recent meeting of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), one of the organizations that created the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Huckabee urged state education officials to get rid of the “Common Core” name because it has become “toxic.”
As the Post indicates, however, Huckabee still intends to support the standards.
“Rebrand it, refocus it, but don’t retreat,” Huckabee reportedly told CCSSO members.
As Breitbart News reported in December, Huckabee, who is considered to be a Republican presidential hopeful in 2016, opened one of his shows by telling his audience that people have been posting on his Facebook page that they will never watch his show again because he supports the Common Core standards. Others, he said, have told him they could not trust him because of his support of the standards, and some said he needed to learn the truth about Common Core.
“I don’t support what Common Core has become in many states or school districts,” Huckabee said. “Look, I’m dead set against the federal government creating a uniform curriculum for any subject. I oppose the collection of personal data on students that would identify them and then track them, and certainly any effort to give that personal information to the federal government.”
“I am steadfast in my belief that parents – parents – should ultimately decide the best venue for their children’s education, whether it’s public schools, private schools, religious schools, or home schools,” Huckabee added.
Merely changing the name of the “Common Core” standards, in fact, is becoming the new trend across the country.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has used an executive order to purge the name “Common Core” from the standards and refer to them, instead, as Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards: "The Executive Order requires that executive agencies refer to the standards, adopted in 2010, as Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards, and encourages citizens and education stakeholders to do the same."
Similarly, in Iowa, the Common Core standards are now called The Iowa Core, and inFlorida, the push is on to delete the words “Common Core” from official education documents and replace them with Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.
The superficial changes are indicative of several things.
First, the Common Core creators, the political class, and the Obama administration have clearly been placed on the defensive by parents, teachers, and American citizens in general – though not all of these groups are fighting Common Core for the same reasons.
For example, while many parents are concerned their children’s education will be dumbed down for the sake of the federal government’s desire to promote economic social justice and redistribution, teachers’ unions are focused on the fact that their angry members face teacher performance ratings that will be tied to students’ test scores on the Common Core-aligned assessments. Note that both the National Education Association (NEA) and Randi Weingarten's American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have not rejected the Common Core standards at all – only their “implementation” as it has occurred.
As veteran educator and author Marion Brady wrote at the Post about the fact that Americans across the political spectrum are opposed to the Common Core:
Three cheers for those on the political right. Three more for those on the left. May the chaos in Washington and state capitols over education policy help the public realize that, in matters educational, the leaders of business and industry and the politicians who listen to them are blind bulls in china shops.
Compared to most of the complex realities facing humankind, what’s happening to the reality visible out my window is small potatoes. But making sense of it (and all other realities) requires a particular kind of thinking—a kind of thinking that makes civilized life possible. However, the Common Core Standards don’t promote that kind of thinking. That means it won’t get taught, which means it won’t get tested, which means we’re not really educating, which means too much to even try to summarize.
Second, a superficial tweaking of the “Common Core” name demonstrates that the political elite and corporatists funding the standards believe Americans can still be easily misled.
“Political power must be exercised, but parents, grandparents, and thoughtful, caring citizens are the only ones with enough clout to exercise it effectively,” Brady writes. “They need to recognize poor policy when they see it, organize, and act appropriately.”