The implementation of National Common Core Standards in North Carolina is a train wreck in progress. This will give control of NC state schools K-12 over to the federal government. It will burden teachers with additional administrative requirements taking away from instructional time, it will take local control away from administrators, school boards and state legislatures. National CCS should not be confused with the North Carolina Common Core State Standards.
Expert Highlights Dangers in Common Core
Posted on May 17, 2013 by Luebke
Last fall public schools in North Carolina along with
44 other states began implementing Common Core Standards. The standards -
developed by academic experts and private trade associations with the financial
backing of several large foundations - have
unleashed a brushfire of criticism, fueled
in part by the controversial
ideas behind Common Core, parental anger over the lack of input and
dissatisfaction over how the standards are implemented in our schools.
To help our readers learn more about
Common Core, we've asked Jane Robbins, a Senior Fellow with the American
Principles Project and someone actively involved in the national fight to stop
Common Core, to share with us her thoughts about Common Core Standards and what
these changes mean for students and parents in North Carolina. What follows is
a transcript of Jane's responses to our questions.
Tell me why North Carolina parents should
be concerned about Common Core.
Common Core is an attempt by private interests in
Washington, DC, aided by the federal government, to standardize English
language arts (ELA) and math education (and ultimately, education in other
subjects as well) throughout the nation. By adopting Common Core, North
Carolina has agreed to cede control over its ELA and math standards to entities
outside the state. Not only does this scheme obliterate parental control over
the education of their children, but it imposes
mediocre standards based on questionable philosophies, constitutes a huge
unfunded mandate on the state and on local districts, and requires sharing
students' personal data with the federal government.
Specifically, how will Common Core impact
a child's education?
In ELA, the child will be exposed to significantly less
classic literature - the books and stories that instill a love of reading - and
significantly more nonfiction "informational texts." The idea is not
to educate him as a full citizen, but to train him for a future static job. In
math, the child won't learn the standard algorithm (the normal computational
model) for addition and subtraction until grade 4, for multiplication until
grade 5, and for division until grade 6. Until then, the child will be taught
what we used to call "fuzzy math" - alternative offbeat ways to solve
math problems. He probably won't take algebra I until grade 9 (meaning he's
unlikely to reach calculus in high school, as expected by selective
universities), and will be "taught" geometry according to an experimental
method never used successfully in K-12 anywhere in the world.
Aren't Common Core standards supposed to
be better than existing school standards?
That's the claim, but it simply isn't true. Even the
Fordham Institute, which has been paid a lot of money by Common
Core-financier, the Gates Foundation to promote the standards, admitted that
many states had better standards and others had standards
at least as good. The Common Core website itself no longer claims that the
standards are "internationally benchmarked," and the Common Core
Validation Committee was never given any information on international
benchmarking. And one of the drafters of the math standards admitted in 2010
that when Common Core proponents talk about "college-readiness,"
they're aiming for a nonselective community college, not a four-year
How are teachers impacted under Common
Seasoned teachers are likely to be unhappy with the
educational "Innovations" described above. And once the SMARTER
Balanced national test is implemented in 2014-15, teachers will have to teach
to this test because their performance
evaluations will be tied to the test scores. The national test will be
completely online, which means schools without sufficient technology will have
to rotate their students through computer labs. (SMARTER Balanced suggests a
12-week testing window). This means students who are tested in the first week
will have significantly less instruction under their belts than students who
are tested later- but all teachers' evaluations will be tied to the scores.
Is it true that local
districts will be able to choose their own
curriculum under Common Core? If all
curricula will ultimately be tied to the standards, does that really matter?
The point of standards is to drive curricula. While
local districts still have some choice over curricula, they are already seeing
that their choices are narrowing, because all curricula must be aligned with
Common Core. And the federal government is funding the two consortia that are developing
the national tests and that have admitted they are creating curriculum models.
Two former U.S. Department of Education
officials concluded in a comprehensive report that, ultimately, the Common Core
scheme will result in a national curriculum - in violation of three federal
Tell us more
about the student database and what parents need to know.
Both the 2009 Stimulus bill and the Race to the Top program required states to build
massive student databases. It is
recommended that these databases ultimately track over 400 data points,
including health-care history, disciplinary history, etc. Any of this data that
will be given to the Smarter Balanced consortium as part of the national test
will be sent to the U.S. Department of Education. U.S. DOE can then share the
data with literally any entity it wants
to - public or private - because of regulations it has issued gutting federal student-privacy law.
North Carolinians should also be concerned about a new
initiative called inBloom, which is a pilot program designed to standardize student data and make it
available to commercial vendors creating education products. North Carolina is
one of the nine states involved in the in Bloom pilot.
How did all this
Private interests in Washington, funded largely by the Gates Foundation,
decided in 2007 to try again (as progressive education reformers have in the
past) to nationalize standards and
curriculum. Thus began the development of Common Core. When the stimulus bill
passed in 2009, the U.S. Department of Education used the money it was given to
create the Race to the Top program. To be competitive for Race to the Top
grants, a state had to agree to adopt Common Core and the aligned national
tests. The commitments were due before the standards were released, and without
the opportunity for involvement by state legislatures. So most states that
adopted Common Core did so for a chance
at federal money, and without legislators' and citizens' knowing anything about
In your view who's behind the development
of Common Core Standards and what are they trying to accomplish?
The standards were created primarily by a nonprofit
called Achieve, Inc. in Washington, DC, and released under the auspices of two
DC-based trade associations (the National Governors Association and the Council
of Chief State Schoo! Officers, neither of which had a grant of legislative
authority from their members to create national standards). Funding and support
came from the Gates Foundation, as well as from other foundations including the
Hunt Institute for Educational leadership and Policy and Jeb Bush's Foundation
for Excellence in Education. The common denominator seems to be a belief that
very smart elites in Washington are better able to direct our children's
education than we are. As for what they are trying to accomplish, two points:
first, Bill Gates seems to favor a "Common Core operating system"
that can be imposed on every school, everywhere, to increase efficiency: and
second, the initiative seems directed at workforce development, not true
What have you learned from traveling
around the country working with parents and groups who are fighting Common
That Goliath should be very, very concerned about
David! Parents and other concerned citizens have stood up to the lavishly
funded special interests and have demanded a return of their constitutional
right to control their children' 5 education.
Common Core is not inevitable, and patriots can still prevail if they refuse to give in. I've also learned
that the forces behind Common Core are wedded to certain buzzwords and talking
points that have absolutely no evidence to support them - "rigorous,"
"college- and career-ready," etc. and that the promoters frequently
resort to outright deception to get what they want. The ends justify the means,
How do you respond to concerns that
withdrawal from Common Core will threaten Race to the Top funding or the No
Child left Behind waiver?
Regarding Race to the Top, several points: 1) nothing
in the grant requires paying back the money if
Common Core is discarded; 2) even if repayment were demanded, it should be only a fraction of the money
actually paid out (since the commitments to Common Core and the SMARTER
Balanced tests were only a fraction of the Race to the Top commitment); 3) even
if full repayment were required, this
would be much cheaper than continuing to implement the Common Core unfunded
mandate; and 4} it is highly unlikely,
from a political standpoint, that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan would
require repayment, since he has claimed for two years that nothing about this
program is a federal mandate - if he
now imposes a huge penalty for North Carolina's exercise of independence, he
will be proving the point of the Common Core critics. Regarding the No Child
Left Behind waiver, there is a way within the waiver application itself that
allows a state to use standards other than Common Core. If North Carolina has
its alternative standards certified by its major institutions of higher
education, it can still qualify for the waiver (assuming it wishes to do so -
the waiver simply exchanges one set of federal shackles for another).
Do you have any final advice on how
parents can be actively involved in fighting Common Core Standards in North
Yes. Educate yourselves and your friends by visiting truthinamericaneducation.com
and stopcommoncore.com. Talk to your local school officials and school
board members. Call your state legislators, your state school board members,
and your Governor, and demand that they take action to restore North Carolina
control over North Carolina education.
(For North Carolina, also visit stopcommoncorenc.org.)