Fred did a great job reporting exactly what Secretary Duncan said, without adding his own commentary. That’s what a good journalist does.
I, Pat Gray, however, am not a journalist. I definitely add commentary. Oh, and truth. Because Secretary Duncan flat out lied to Fred, and to you.
If you were to accept everything Secretary Duncan said at face value, you could easily say, "wow, this Common Core state standard thing sounds GREAT!” That’s why I don’t recommend that you take everything he said, or what any Common Core advocate says, at face value.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan, speaks to the Associated Press during an interview in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. Duncan says it's tough to prepare students for college when they're more worried about being killed than making it to graduation. Credit: AP
Let’s start with Duncan’s claim that Common Core state education standards are not federal-level coercion, adding, as he put it, “as some Republicans in Congress have characterized them.”
That’s Duncan’s attempt to make this sound like a purely partisan issue. It isn’t. There are plenty of Republicans who are very much in favor of Common Core. Some are names you know well, like Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. Republicans can be just as wrong as Democrats sometimes, I think we’ve seen that.
As for Duncan’s claim that these standards are not federal-level coercion?
Well, let’s see; the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, (also known as the Stimulus Package) dangled federal funds like carrots in front of all 50 states to get them to adopt the standards. The fact is, the Stimulus Bill authorized $362 million in funding “to consortia of states to develop assessments and measure student achievement against standards.”
Does that sound like anyone was “coerced?” It sure does to me.
In this Jan. 16, 2013 file photo, concerned grandparent Sue Lile, of Carmel, Ind., shows her opposition to Common Core standards during a rally at the State House rotunda in Indianapolis. Some states are pushing back against the new set of uniform benchmarks for reading, writing and math that replace a hodgepodge of of goals that had varied wildly from state to state and are being widely implemented this school year in most states. (AP/The Star, Frank Espich)
If the states adopted Common Core, they got the money. If not, they didn’t. If you prefer the word “bribed” to the word “coerced," that’s fair. Forty-six states caved in, quickly adopting the standards to receive the money. One, Indiana, has since come to their senses.
But the federal government was absolutely involved, and absolutely “coercing” the states. All of this, was in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars that the very liberal Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has funneled into the program.
TheBlaze article continued:
Duncan spoke Sunday at the gathering of the National Governors Association. Afterward TheBlaze asked him about a resolution proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham and co-sponsored by eight other Republican senators. The resolution opposes tying federal education dollars with adoption of Common Core standards, which the resolution says could create a de facto “national curriculum.”
“I’m not familiar with that, but that’s simply not true,” Duncan told TheBlaze.
Oh, OK, Duncan isn’t familiar with it, but “it’s simply not true.”
Well then, I guess that settles it. Except that, it doesn’t. Not by a long shot.
While I’m somewhat confused by Lindsey Graham jumping into this fray on the right side, I’ll take it, even though just last September, in response to a constituent’s question about Common Core, Graham asked, “what’s Common Core?” He’d never heard of it. Last September. As in 2013. As in five months ago.
Can you even remember how old you were way back then? Still, he told the woman he’d look into it, and maybe he did, and decided he didn’t like it. Good. Again, I’ll take it, even from him.
Amy Lawson, a fifth-grade teacher at Silver Lake Elementary School in Middletown, Del., helps student Melody Fritz with an English language arts lesson Oct. 1, 2013. Silver Lake has begun implementing the national Common Core State Standards for academics. Remembering the plot of a short story is no longer good enough in Lawson’s fifth-grade classroom. Now, students are being asked to think more critically -- what, for example, might a character say in an email to a friend. "It’s hard. But you can handle this," Lawson tells them. Welcome to a classroom using the Common Core State Standards, one of the most politicized and misunderstood changes in education for students and their teachers in grades kindergarten through high school. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)
But back to Duncan.
Even though he states emphatically that the idea that Common Core will create a de facto “national curriculum” is simply not true, I hope you’ll forgive me for being a tad skeptical. Now when I say I’m a “tad” skeptical, what I mean is, he’s lying. Period.
This is what Bill Gates, Common Core’s biggest benefactor, said about the curriculum at the National Conference of State Legislators: “When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well.”
That is some rare honesty from a Common Core supporter. Gates actually has a habit of sharing what Common Core is really all about. He’s been pretty honest about the data mining opportunities involved as well, from which, he stands to greatly benefit.
For example, Gates explained [emphasis added]:
“…identifying common standards is not enough. We’ll know we’ve succeeded when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to these standards. To create just these kinds of tests—next-generation assessments aligned to the common core. When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well—and that will unleash powerful market forces in the service of better teaching.”
Wait, what? That will “unleash powerful market forces?” You mean, powerful market forces like, maybe, Microsoft?
Yep. Gates will be using the data gathered from our kids to develop products he will then sell to us and our children. Does his reasoning for investing a quarter of billion dollars or more on this project begin to make a little more sense?
(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Gates added, “For the first time, there will be a large uniform base of customers eager to buy products that can help every kid learn and every teacher get better.”
Oh, and every CEO of Microsoft get even richer. I don’t have any problem with Gates getting richer, unless he’s doing it by using our children at school. No thank you.
We, along with Michelle Malkin and others, have explained the sinister data mining that the Department of Education outlined in a February 2013 report. The report contemplated plans to use techniques such as “functional magnetic resonance imaging” and “using cameras to judge facial expressions, an electronic seat that judges posture, a pressure-sensitive computer mouse and a biometric wrap on kids’ wrists.”
What were they planning to gain from all of that? In addition to the Microsoft product development possibilities Gates is excited about, the DOE was interested in “recognizing bias in sources,” “flexibility,” “cultural awareness and competence,” “appreciation for diversity,” “empathy,” “perspective taking, trust (and) service orientation.”
They will know your family’s politics. What could go wrong with the government having access to that information? They will know if you “appreciate” diversity. They will recognize your bias, and your children’s bias. Are you “aware” culturally? Are you culturally “competent?” I don’t know, but we’re going to find out.
In this Feb. 20, 2013, file photo fifth-grader Daniel Slotten reads for comprehension during an exam that reflects new literacy standards for the Common Core initiative at a Westview Elementary School class in Apple Valley, Minn. Some states are pushing back against the new set of uniform benchmarks for reading, writing and math that replace a hodgepodge of of goals that had varied wildly from state to state and are being widely implemented this school year in most states. (AP Photo/The St. Paul Pioneer Press, John Doman, File)
If you’re not creeped out enough yet, you may also want to consider that this is also about the career placement of your kids. If your child shows aptitude in janitorial service, why waste society’s time and resources on allowing them to pursue anything else?
Lest you believe that this Common Core “hysteria” is a problem created by and for radical, extremist, hateful, right-wing nut-jobs, let me share just a portion of an article from The Washington Post.
The author was invited to sit in on a Common Core teacher evaluation session described by award-winning Principal Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York as something out of Star Wars. The teachers were being “calibrated” to the “Master Coder” and were being trained to avoid “bias words” like “expressive," “monotone” and “challenging.” Burris shared her frustration with all of this, along with others in the class, writing:
Bias, bias everywhere. “Will my skill improve? Will I be scored on the teaching evidence I include?” you could hear the frustration in the questioner’s voice.
“As long as we get the right number with the Master Coder, that is all that matters. The ultimate goal is you want to be calibrated” was the reply. I prayed a Wookie would enter the room and save us.
I was starting to feel sorry for the calibrated presenter. n an attempt to make sense out of nonsense, she blurted, “Think of it this way. In first grade we teach kids how to fill in the bubbles…today we are learning to fill in the bubbles.” I prayed Darth Vader would enter the room and end it all.
What an amazing bunch of seriously mindless nonsense! And we learned about it from The Washington Post, as it was happening in New York City; with educators who are struggling to make sense out of this ridiculous system.
Imagine the frustration of the kids in places like Arkansas, who are being asked to solve a simple math problem like, 90 divided by 18, in just 108 easy steps. That’s right, 108 steps. They’re not allowed to just divide 90 by 18 and come up with 5, like we did. Why? Well, Common Core advocates will no doubt say they want your kids to think differently.
(Photo: AP/Brendan Hoffman)
The real reason? They don’t want you, the parent, to be able to help your kids with their homework anymore. They want to make our kids totally dependent upon the teachers, the school and the government. This is quintessential, fundamental, progressivism. Glenn’s favorite President, Woodrow Wilson said: “The purpose of a university should be to make a son as unlike his father as possible.”
It seems they’ve “progressed” beyond universities to our elementary schools over the last 100 years.
This is a big reason my wife and I have started a school here in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area, despite being only a couple years away from not having any of our own children in it. Our youngest is now 14, and my wife was starting to make plans to do other things with her time very soon. But educating the next generation is just too important. We cannot lose our children to progressive indoctrination. We have to do something, we have to stand.
Arne Duncan says Common Core is state-driven, but it isn’t. Common Core supporters say it’s rigorous and college ready, when in reality, it’s untried, untested and unproven.
In fact, so much of what I’ve seen so far is a flat-out mess. They want you to believe that the only opposition to this nightmare is from right-wing conspiracy kooks. We say, check into it for yourself. Do your own homework. It won’t take you 108 steps of Common Core math to find the answers. Secretary Duncan expects you to take everything he says at face value, he’s depending on it. We, are depending on the opposite.
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