Common Core or Common Sense
By Randy Klein:
Because the education and futures of our young people are so important, I was pleased to attend and participate in a forum on the “Common Core” curriculum standards sponsored by the Milford School District on March 19 at Mulberry Elementary School. The scene contrasted Board members, the Superintendent, and teacher-leaders strongly endorsing Common Core with parents and community members opposing or highly-skeptical.
What is Common Core? It is a set of copyrighted, privately-owned educational standards that were adopted sight-unseen by 46 states in order either to receive federal “Race to the Top” (RttT) funds or to be able to waive RttT provisions. Common Core was written and promoted through funds provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and others. Its stated purpose is to assure student college and career readiness.
Because Common Core has been described as “education without representation,” (the adoption process by-passed state legislatures), currently over 100 bills before state legislatures are attempting to slow, stop, or reverse the final adoption of Common Core. The Ohio effort is being led by local mothers Heidi Huber and Thea Shoemake, founders of Ohioans Against Common Core, who are criss-crossing Ohio presenting what they believe are dangers to our children by a centralized, national curriculum over which parents and local school boards will have little influence.
Common sense would lead one to believe that a school district staffed by hundreds of highly-paid Masters degree-level teachers and administrators would be able to design and implement a curriculum for student success that encourages community input without top-down edicts from Washington, DC special-interests. However, Common Core allows little deviation from its curriculum (only up to 15%) by local school officials.
Clearly federal government involvement in Common Core (and in all education) is unconstitutional, violating the federalism concept of the Constitution commanded by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments in the Bill of Rights. Furthermore, the federal statute known as General Educational Provisions Act (20 U.S. Code Section 1232a–Prohibition against Federal control of education) makes federal involvement illegal.
Parents also oppose the exhaustive data-mining, records-keeping, constant testing and assessments being imposed by Common Core on children, especially since it employs materials that are seen as developmentally-inappropriate or insensitive. Such data, coveted by government, business, and industry, can follow the child through life. Centralized textbooks may also be subject to politically-correct points-of-view.
Simply put, the purpose of Common Core is not a liberal education which sees personal development and knowledge as its own reward leading to a fully-developed, individual and unique human being. Rather, it is a school-to-work scheme (relying on centralized planning akin to Stalin’s “Five Year Plans” and Mao’s “Great Leap Forward”) seeking to produce worker bees, consumers, taxpayers, and soldiers for a collectivized global economy.
A classical, liberal education holds that man is essentially a spiritual being subject to physical needs and wants, and the purpose of education is to mature a student’s ability to think and reason to meet those needs while controlling his appetites, i.e. to be civilized.
Common Core sees man only as a material being with no real will of his own, and that he must be molded and shaped, not primarily for his own good, but according to a utopian concept of the good of society imposed by elites who “know better.” I fear that Common Core is Marxist to the core and will fail as do all such schemes. I ask the Milford Schools and the State of Ohio to reject it.
Mr. Klein is an Ohio citizen, who has been active in local, state & national politics for many years. We very much appreciate the opportunity to share his article with our readers.