What I have learned about the Common Core


I have been reading Amy Skalicky’s Common Core and the Truth- A Parent’s journey into the Heart of the Core”. Finally I have read, what I suspected all along from my own experiences in the 1940s, both here and in the Netherlands, that the whole movement toward the Standards started with Dewey’s progressivism. Later the influence of the Agenda 21 of the UN and its influence on Bill Gates becomes very obvious.

But what I wrote earlier this year still holds. Here it is once more.

Just what is the Common Core? That question was addressed at a meeting of the CT Board of Education on March 12, ’14. All citizens were invited to come and state their views. There were more than 600 Testimonies. Of the 35 testimonies I have had time to read so far, 26 were adamantly against the Common Core, and 13 of these were from teachers. To see all the testimonies go to http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/CommDocTmy.asp?comm_code=ED&date3/12/2014, put in bill no. 5078 or 5331in the top line and at the bottom click on public hearing. Click on almost any of the testimonies to read arguments against the Common Core, much more eloquent than my attempt.
The CCSS was written by un-elected, non-educators of the National Governors Association Council for best Practices, the Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Chris Minnich, and Achieve. The chief architects were Jason Zimba for math and David Coleman for English. David Coleman also is the head of Pearson, a publisher of the nation’s textbooks and the writer of what was called the SAT. He is now writing tests aligned with the teaching of the Common Core, such as the SBAC and PARCC. He stands to make good money publishing the new books and tests!!

A validation committee was appointed to sign off on the Standards. This committee was sworn to secrecy about their proceedings. Sandra Stotsky, who, together with input from teachers and parents, set up an excellent curriculum in Massachusetts, resigned from the Validation Committee, refusing to sign off on the Common Core. So did Dr.James Millgram, the only mathematician on the committee.

The whole kit and caboodle was then foisted on the States, accepted by the governors and commissioners of education with the promise of waivers from No Child left Behind and funds from Race to the Top. No vote was ever taken. Now we, as parents, no longer have a say in our children’s education, not do their teachers, nor do their Boards of Education. All power rests in un-named people in Washington. The Standards in not the curriculum, but the teaching is now to the new tests, which demand new books. The way math is taught now is extremely confusing to the children. The statements in English are wrong, and extremely political, f.i. “Government officials must be obeyed by all” and “He (the President) makes sure the laws are fair.” We obey our laws, and our courts determine the fairness of them. We have a division of powers: the legislative, the executive and the judicial! Only parts of novels are now read, much of the reading is of tendentious government brochures.
We have laws that make it illegal for the Federal Government to have any say in education. Our privacy laws are spelled out in FERPA ( the Family Rights and Privacy Act) They have simply been ignored . The children must now take very intrusive tests, wanting to know such things as family income, religion and political views. They are now all to be done on computers, are sent to Washington and can be viewed by all. Future employers will be able to refer to them. P20 is a data base called “Preschool through 20 Workforce Information Network” where all this information will be stored, to be viewed by future employers.
Bill Gates gave most of the money needed for the development of the Common Core, and he now asks for every child to have an iPad, and all tests to be done on computers, to be collected in one great data-base.
Johanna J. L. Engel


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