April 16, 2013
by Tad Cronn
All across the United States, schools are falling in line with a federally backed “progressive” curriculum that critics fear will only produce generations of know-nothings and ensure America’s education system continues to fail its students.
The Common Core curriculum, which has been adopted by 46 states, according to the Washington Post, is long on teaching Progressive values and short on teaching accepted facts. The standards are expected to be implemented by 2014, although some schools have already begun using them.
While in its curriculum descriptions Common Core sounds like it includes all the educational necessities, experts who’ve examined the actual lessons say that the program “teaches to the test” rather than pushing students to achieve individually, and its lessons rely heavily upon liberal interpretations of history, current events and other topics.
The Common Core plan also has produced some recent outrages when lessons became public knowledge, such as the class which was assigned to pretend their teacher was a Nazi SS commandant and write a persuasive paper on why Jews are evil.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) has been a top project of the Obama Administration since the Man Who Would Be King came into office. Put together with the cooperation of the National Governors Association (NGA), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and a nonprofit group called Student Achievement Partners, Common Core has been adopted by states that are hungry for education dollars.
President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan both lied publicly about the Common Core curriculum being developed by the states and adopted voluntarily when in fact adoption of the curriculum was tied to granting of federal “Race to the Top” dollars. Even though the Department of Education is prohibited by law from prescribing curriculum, it has used the $4.3 billion in grants as a carrot and implied in its 2009 Blueprint for Education Reform that the curriculum in the future will be a requirement for states that want Title 1 funding for poor schools. Former Texas State Commissioner of Education Robert Scott has said he was urged to adopt the Common Core program before the standards had even been written.
“Lead architect” David Coleman is at the center of the controversy. While he’s not the only Dr. Frankenstein responsible for this monster, Coleman is certainly the man in charge and representative of the attitude that went into Common Core.
Coleman is a Rhodes Scholar progressive with a reputation for peppering his presentations about Common Core with curse words. Or as the Atlantic calls him, “an utterly romantic believer in the power of the traditional liberal arts.”
Many teachers are skeptical about his qualifications. California 2007 State Teacher of the Year Alan Lawrence Sitomer wrote on his blog, “(Coleman) has zero K–12 teaching experience. Should we really be learning how to cook from a person who’s never been in the kitchen?”
They may have no choice. Not only has Coleman’s plan been adopted by almost every state, seemingly under cover of night, but he is taking over as head of the College Board, so his standards may soon become the standards of state colleges and universities, as well.
“I’m scared of rewarding bull***t,” Coleman said while discussing current educational curricula at a Delaware education conference in October. “I don’t think it’s costless at all.”
In April 2011, he told an audience at the New York Department of Education, in criticizing the sorts of work students are often assigned, “As you grow up in this world you realize people really don’t give a s**t about what you feel or what you think.”
Although Coleman sells the program as encouraging students to think about literature, science and other subjects, the baseline philosophy of Common Core, according to critics, isn’t to create students with a solid understanding of what might be considered “core knowledge,” but to create students who are designed and ready to be community activists. You can guess which causes they are intended to be activists for.
Critics say the curriculum is obsessed with race, gender, class and sexuality as the primary shapers of history, culture and politics.
In the case of the Nazi writing assignment, an English teacher at Albany High School in New York had students read Nazi propaganda before handing out the assignment, which the school superintendent, Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, said was an example of the “sophisticated” persuasive writing expected under Common Core standards.
“You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!” the assignment read in part. “… Review in your notebooks the definitions for logos, ethos, and pathos. Choose which argument style will be most effective in making your point. Please remember, your life (here in Nazi Germany in the 30′s) may depend on it!”
Vanden Wyngaard said she didn’t believe there was any “malice” or “intent” to be insensitive in the assignment.
One-third of the students, to their credit, refused to complete the assignment.
That something like the Nazi assignment would pop up in connection to Common Core may not surprise some people.
Any way you slice it, Common Core represents nationalization of education. While local governments still retain control over things like reading lists, the program comes with its own series of tests, and Coleman has a goal to rewrite the SAT to match Common Core standards. Once the program is established in any location, minor points like who is in charge can change.
Some critics have connected Common Core with Agenda 21, the United Nations’ blueprint to reshape the globe by exerting international control over national and local governments. By virtue of being a Rhodes scholar, Coleman is in an exclusive club that includes some of the world’s most famous liberals, such as President Clinton. The Rhodes Scholarships were originally set up with the help of the Rothschild Bank.
Adding to the mix contributors like the Gates Foundation and GE does little to discourage thoughts along conspiracy lines, particularly when Coleman starts going on about students competing in the global economy.
High-sounding intentions aside, the ultimate result of Common Core seems likely to be liberal indoctrination and the creation of an easily manipulated, reactionary populace. That may very well be exactly as intended.