By Peter Lee
Recently Governor Mike Huckabee, a respected personality in many religious and political circles, went public as an advocate of the Common Core State Standards initiative. If you are unfamiliar with this initiative then you are not unlike over 88% of the American population. This program once fully implemented will force our nation’s education system to conform to a single standard of performance. Even with that broad agenda, parents, teachers or State Legislators were not called upon to vote for the program’s adoption. To ensure Common Core compliance, our teachers, children and young adults will be extensively monitored, identified, digitized, photographed, tracked, recorded, psychoanalyzed, and marketed. Continuous high-stakes testing will measure not only the child performance but that of the teachers, school, county and each state.
If all of the creepy Orwellian data mining of America’s future generations were not enough, Common Core poses an even greater threat to the nation the end of local control over our schools. In his recent comments, Governor Huckabee rejected this argument with the following statement: “…States and local school districts will determine how they want to teach kids, what curriculum to use, and which textbooks to use.”
His statement is absolutely true. It is just as true as the fact that people “choose” to drive on the correct side of the road. There are severe consequences for choosing differently.
Let me explain the false choices that Common Core (CC) provides:
Local choice of textbooks –
The vast majority of the development of CC came from the education marketplace. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest funder of CC outside of your state and federal tax dollars. Bill Gates told the National Conference of State Legislators that the national standards, merit-pay, high-stakes testing, and common curriculum will unlock “powerful market forces”. A huge portion of the education marketplace is the textbook publishers. The major publishers have been working on Common Core for over five years. They stand to make huge profits from your child’s education for the initial implementation of CC and for each subsequent/inevitable revision of the standards because school systems will be forced to purchase new products from them each time. A state or county may choose to find a smaller company that is not aligned with the CC standards. With a smaller volume of books purchased they would pay more for the books for their students. How could they justify the additional expense to the taxpayers? How could they justify purchasing books that were not aligned to the national tests their students are required to take? The large companies would undoubtedly price out any strong competition until they were weakened, purchased, or forced to close. What is the choice? Buy our CC books or suffer the consequences.
A choice of curriculum:
CC is a complete journey through the education system from Pre-K to College. The planned, aggressive, high-stakes testing in every core subject will cast a long shadow over our FCAT. The data collected on American children will follow them beyond their CC compliant college entrance exams. These tests don’t only measure students. They become measurements of the teacher, school, county and state. Funding, raises, and even whether or not a teacher will keep his/her job are all impacted. With these high stakes if the science tests, for example, focus on renewable energy as a replacement for fossil fuels, a teacher’s curriculum is obligated to provide the same focus. If an environmental agenda, such as saving the spotted owl or saving the rainforest, is inserted into the word problems of a CC math textbook, teachers won’t have the ability to destroy school property or hide students’ eyes before they read it. If the civics tests ask questions about the UN Bill of Rights then a teacher can either choose to teach it or ensure his/her students will fail those questions. What is the choice? Lose your job, lose funding, or teach Common Core.
A choice of “how” to teach:
In order to ensure students are learning the information designated on the high-stakes tests, more and more classrooms are scripted. Classes are paced so that all of the test material is covered prior to exam days. This is done across Florida school systems today due to the high-stakes FCAT exam. On the same day students in the same classes across the county learn the same things. If the students in one class need more time, too bad, we must move on. If students in a different class are ready to move on, too bad, we need to stay on schedule. Some classes are literally scripted where the teacher is instructed what to say throughout the day to ensure adherence to the textbook company “program”. Teachers are evaluated throughout the year to ensure they are teaching with “fidelity to the program” and following the administration’s view of proper school education. What is the choice? Follow the plan or find another occupation.
The goals of the Common Core Standards initiative is literally to ensure that every student receives the same standard of education. In a standardized system, choices are removed so that the same outcome is received. History teaches us that tyrants need to control the education system in order to use it to turn generations away from “self evident” truths. A measure of brainwashing is needed to cause people to resist the natural laws involved with the concepts of life, liberty, privacy, property, and prosperity. We do not suggest that Mike Huckabee or any other current promoter of CC is a tyrant. However the centralized nature, the federal involvement and the intrusive data gathering make CC a customized tool for a future tyrant to utilize with ease. Our founding fathers developed a nation which placed limits on the capabilities of government. They did not fear that George Washington would become a tyrant. They knew that power corrupts and future tyrants would seize upon whatever power it was afforded. For today’s promoters, Common Core provides a powerful tool to guide education throughout the country. For tomorrow’s tyrants it does the same. This is the reason I urge you to join the fight to stop Common Core. A power that is not given cannot be abused.
Director – East Side Tea Party