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A Brief Overview on Common Core, What's the Big Deal?

Common Core is a nation-wide initiative being promoted by the U.S. Dept. of Education. Because our Constitution does not provide for education to be directed from the federal level, but rather from the state and local level, the federal government cannot require or mandate adoption of a national program. But, like so many federal programs that have no legal or constitutional power, control is sought by seducing states with funding or, in this particular case, merely the chance to get funding. Of course, there was no opportunity for states to inspect the curriculum they and, worse, by the very act of applying for eligibility, states were agreeing to adopt Common Core and its requirements whether or not they ended up receiving a dime. Race to the Top was the enrollment program that attract states and lock them into Common Core. It was funded as a line item buried in the 2009 federal stimulus package.

Michigan's State Board of Education entered Michigan to Race to the Top but then qualified (like most states) for no financial award whatsoever, and yet is now expected to carry out the mandates of Common Core - a privately developed program funded largely by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The program, supported and shopped out by the U. S. Dept. of Education as being an initiative of state governors (in order to give the impression it was state-led), promises to be an ongoing source of revenue for the few select private interests involved--a cash cow just in the testing development and processing alone. Indeed, the arrangement is a public-private partnership at the highest level without any bidding whatsoever. Common Core effectively provides control of education from the federal level by unelected bureaucrats.

Worse, are three aspects of the program that have many citizens concerned.

Lower Standards
For one, numerous education experts who have reviewed the curriculum warn that it is actually lowering established educational standards in many states and districts. In other words, while the worst districts may benefit from the new standards, those who have adopted standards under which students are doing best will be forced to lower them. Rather than giving students the opportunity to excel and compete in a global market against nations with higher academic achievement and standards, in the name of standardization, many districts in the United States will be reducing their academic rigor.

If that is not bad enough, as districts are slowly integrating the Common Core curriculum, the intention of top-down control of what is being taught is being revealed as being largely about propagandizing students under the guise of academics. It has long been said that 'if you can control the youth, you can control the future' and, indeed, for decades progressives have sought to control the educational sector of our nation. The domination of leftist ideologies is well recognized at the collegiate level and, with Common Core, it is being infused to not only the K-12 level of public education, but will reach into private and homeschooliing as well. How? The required tests to advance to higher levels of education are the mechanism by which to ensure that the proper 'teaching' of approved facts, skills, values and beliefs is taking place in the classroom. It's a well-orchestrated catch-22.

Data Mining
Worse yet, is the federal government and private sector using education to leverage personal information on students and their families and parents that has always been regarded as private. Of course, those intent on acquiring information on such private information have ready and seemingly harmless explanations for wanting it, but none can justify doing retinal ID scans and students being asked to report on such things as their family income, spiritual and political beliefs. Unbelievably, Common Core proponents claim this data will help them create curriculum to reinforce these values. A review of the values promoted through Common Core approved materials shows the data will almost certainly be used to identify those whose beliefs do not align with Common Core's progressive agenda so that they can be targeted for modification and progress toward this end can be tracked. Huge data centers to amass and track the data on students and their families that Common Core calls for under the guise of education. 

These concerns are just the beginning. As states are waking up to the reality of Common Core and many are feeling manipulated, they have brought the fight to their state legislatures demanding that Common Core recieve the full and proper review that didn't take place given the method by which it was advanced. Efforts are being made to stop implementation and state funding. The cost and time required to implement the curriculum has many districts in a stranglehold, meanwhile educators on the ground are grappling with its requirements, finding serious issues with its real-world application based on their real-world experience. To continue down this path without diligent evaluation is foolish.

We should not be deterred from such diligence by claims of how much time or money has been invested. If we're getting a lemon, the sooner we stop throwing good time and money after bad, the better.

Common Core calls into question the interests of government and private companies and how well they truly represent the best interests of parents, our communities, our nation, and most importantly, our youth. Education is not a means of making money and cultivating power. Good education teaches students how to think, not what to think. It is vital to the future of our country that our youth are truly challenged and fully educated--a system more interested in turning out kids who are free-thinking individuals.

The links below provide much more information about Common Core. Please take time to become educated and to communicate with your state senator and representative as soon as possible.

Resource Bank 2013: Putting the Brakes on Common Core