Utter the phrase "Common Core," and you'll see parents across the country hit the "red alert" button.
Witness the progressive education scheme in action. America’s education system is being fundamentally transformed. Instead of fostering a generation of thinkers, today’s children are being indoctrinated with leftist philosophy while their privacy is being compromised by huge data-mining systems with private interests. If fully implemented, Common Core will serve as progressives’ greatest weapon against American freedom.
For the May cover story for TheBlaze magazine, assistant editor Sharon Ambrose digs into the history of the Common Core education plan that threatens America's kids, freedom and future. Why is it important? What will it take to beat back the federal school curriculum? Sharon lays it all out.
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Below is an excerpt from the opening section of the May 2014 cover story, "Core Values" The full story is available ONLY in the newest issue of TheBlaze Magazine.
Standing at the podium, George S. Counts had his audience enraptured. The University of Chicago professor argued that in order for progressive education to be truly progressive it needed to “come to grips with life in all of its stark reality” and “fashion a compelling and challenging vision of human destiny and become less frightened than it is today at the bogies of imposition and indoctrination.” He argued for a change in America’s social order through the classroom curriculum.
When Counts concluded his speech, the room was silent. Then there was some quiet chatter that grew into excited discussion and support among the participants. The crowd had fully embraced his unflinching philosophy. His presentation was so well received that most of the remaining plans of the 1932 Progressive Education Association meeting was suspended so that the delegates could reflect on this bold direction for progressive education. As Counts’ fame grew, he was emboldened and published papers saying that “there is the fallacy that man is born free” and “there is the fallacy that the child is good by nature.”
American progressives have long recognized the power of the American educational system—now they have made a huge power grab with the establishment of the Common Core standards. Through a series of closed-door meetings that created top-down policy changes, this new curriculum was quietly injected into America’s classrooms following President Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill. States were awarded with $4.35 billion worth of “Race to the Top” grants if they adopted certain standards and requirements developed by the U.S. Department of Education. Today, parents, teachers and grassroots organizations throughout the country are shining the light on the dangers of Common Core.
But progressives from government and Big Business are doubling down. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that he found it “fascinating” that some of the opposition to Common Core has come from “white suburban moms who—all of a sudden—their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were.” Seventy-two CEOs hailing from corporations that usually like to stay out of the political fray, including Harley-Davidson, General Mills and Xerox, placed a full-page ad in the New York Times claiming that the curriculum will meet the “business community’s expectations.” Which leads to the question: Why is Common Core so important to progressives? Is Common Core really about helping America’s kids succeed, or is it more about keeping progressives in power?
The true value of Common Core becomes apparent when considering what progressives from today and the past have said about their vision of the education system and of the United States.
The fundamental theme of Common Core’s English language arts (ELA) standards is a focus on non-fiction “informational texts.” The ELA standards were fashioned so that elementary students read no more than 50 percent classic literature and high school students may read only 30 percent classic literature. The other 70 percent is comprised of informational texts. Items on the Common Core-recommended reading list include historical documents, insulation installation manuals, presidential executive orders, environmental programming and even Federal Reserve documents.
The curriculum advocates a “close reading” of a text in which students are asked to analyze what they’ve read strictly from the available text without a whiff of historical context. One Common Core manual provides this explanation for teachers giving a lesson on the Gettysburg Address: “This close reading approach forces students to rely exclusively on the text instead of privileging background knowledge, and levels the playing field for all students as they seek to comprehend Lincoln’s address.”
Color teachers doubtful.
English teacher Jeremiah Chaffee posted his experience with the lesson plan at the Washington Post. He felt that the lesson is “too scripted,” does not trust the students to “direct any of their own learning” and “presents a narrow and shallow view of teaching and learning.”
“This gives students a text they have never seen and asks them to read it with no preliminary introduction. This mimics the conditions of a standardized test,” Chaffee wrote. “Asking questions about, for example, the causes of the Civil War, are also forbidden. Why? These questions go ‘outside the text,’ a cardinal sin in Common Core-land.”
One Washington state English teacher who asked to remain anonymous told TheBlaze, “When I read the new Common Core reading requirements, I told our department chair, ‘This is ridiculous—they’re cutting out the classics. And I’m not doing it.’”
Close reading discourages students from including their own views and experiences. It also narrows the scope on major historical events. Will the Constitution have any impact without understanding the years of oppression the colonists endured? Will Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream Speech” be lost without a sound knowledge of racial segregation? Perhaps more concerning is that this method teaches students to accept the information that they are given without question. If students are told that they are reading a non-fiction document from the EPA, how likely would that same student question the validity of man-made global warming? Being spoon-fed “non-fiction” government documents means that a generation …
Want more? Get the full report on Common Core and much more in TheBlaze Magazine.
We've got the full history of Common Core, a "Common Core 101" lesson, actual examples of curriculum nonsense, who the major players are, who's funding the scheme and what it all means in the May issue of TheBlaze magazine—which you can get for FREE.
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