Grassroots opposition is increasing across the country to new educational standards.
The K-12 learning standards Common Core has been touted as more robust and rigorous. Parents are being told their children will be better able to use critical-thinking and higher-order thinking skills, and will be better prepared for college and careers.
But just how did 46 states, including California, come to adopt standards that hadn’t been fully written at the time governors agreed to sign on?
In President Obama’s stimulus plan, the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), nearly twice the annual budget of the U.S. Department of Education — about $100 billion — was allocated to improve the nation’s public schools. Education Secretary Arne Duncan took $4.35 billion from this grant for Race to the Top, a federal competitive-grant program.
Forty- six states applied in the hopes of receiving millions in grant money and waivers to get out of the rigorous requirements of No Child Left Behind. States were also faced with the threat that if they did not sign on to Common Core, they might lose their Title 1 money that helps with the funding of poverty-stricken children. California schools could not survive without Title 1 funds.
If the standards are so wonderful, why has it taken two years for parents to hear something about them? Could it be the standards are not as wonderful as we are being told? Prof. Sandra Stotsky of the Common Core validation committee wrote that English standards of Common Core actually “weaken the basis of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework.”
Stanford Prof. James Milgram, also of the validation committee, concluded that math standards “are actually two or more years behind international expectations by eighth grade, and only fall further behind as they talk about grades eight to 12.” He also wrote that Common Core math doesn’t fully cover the material in a solid geometry or second-year algebra course.
Most parents are not aware the Department of Education and President Obama, by executive order in December 2011, amended the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to exceed the agency’s statutory authority, thus allowing them to collect invasive data on our children without parental consent. If you read over the bill introducing the federal mandates of Common Core, you will find numerous references to the design and implementation of a State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS). Under Common Core, schools are required to collect and record up to 400 data points on children from prekindergarten to workforce.
In accepting the standards, California has agreed to collect massive amounts of data on our children, including DNA, family religious and political affiliation, family income, homework records, bus-stop times and locations, etc. This information will live on a SLDS, and the data collected must be reported to the federal government. You have to ask yourself why do they need all of this data, and what are they planning to do with it?
Since California was not a top recipient of Race to the Top grant money, much of the cost of Common Core is going to fall on taxpayers. EdSource, a respected Northern California-based education/research organization, estimates it will cost California $2.1 billion to change to the new national standards.
If we do not stop the implementation of Common Core by the 2014-15 school year, Californians will have willingly given up all local and state control of our educational system to the federal government. Private, parochial and home schools are not immune to Common Core, as the PSAT, ACT, SAT and GED tests are all being aligned with the new standards.