Take education back from the feds“Common Core: conservative to the core” is one of many articles Chester E. Finn Jr., has penned encouraging conservatives to embrace Common Core State Standards. Unfortunately, Finn never discloses that his “conservative” Thomas B. Fordham Institute has accepted nearly a million dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop supportive materials for Common Core Standards.
By: Karen Schroeder, Superior Telegram
“Common Core: conservative to the core” is one of many articles Chester E. Finn Jr., has penned encouraging conservatives to embrace Common Core State Standards. Unfortunately, Finn never discloses that his “conservative” Thomas B. Fordham Institute has accepted nearly a million dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop supportive materials for Common Core Standards. Finn’s conflict of interest renders his assessment of Common Core self-serving and lacking credibility.
Advocates for Academic Freedom is funded solely by private donations. Representing taxpayers from every political party, religion and socio-economic group, AAF has one goal: To demand truth and quality in all aspects of education. Our assessment of Common Core Standards conflicts with that of Chester Finn.
The standards are not new, not rigorous or innovative, not fiscally responsible, not state created; they undermine accountability and traditional American values.
The Gates Foundation, David Coleman from the College Board, the International Baccalaureate Organization, the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and a myriad of others wrote Common Core Standards — not the states.
Common Core represents another: “We have to pass it so we can find out what is in it” policy. During a February 2010 Governors’ Luncheon, President Obama told governors to adopt the standards to receive federal Title I funds. Since the standards had not even been written, the federal government added the word “state” to the title so the public would think the normal process of teacher and public involvement had been employed. We the people are growing tired of these insulting shell games imposed by governmental agencies.
Teachers and taxpayers should be outraged that any set of standards would require a retraining of teachers to assure implementation. Why should a teacher need to have special training to implement Common Core? The reason is that Common Core Standards do not emphasize student acquisition of knowledge and development of skills. They demand that students develop a belief system and attitudes needed to create a population with a “world philosophy.”
Americans are being forced to spend $16 billion on a plan shaped by the same policies of Benjamin Bloom that have been failing our children since the 1960s. Dozens of standards that are far more rigorous than Common Core Standards are free and available on the internet. States have always had access to them. When one compares TIMSS math standards for fourth graders to those of Common Core for the same grade level, it becomes painfully obvious that Common Core are not the rigorous standards promised.
CCSS is peppered with standards like this one for nine-year olds in fourth grade: “Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.” Most teachers would ask themselves: What is a viable argument appropriate for a nine-year-old child? What happens when a non-conformist refuses to critique a classmate or friend? What remediation will be provided? Will that remediation help the creative child learn to use nonconformity in a productive manner? How will this standard be assessed or tested for mastery?
Most math skills required under TIMSS at fourth grade can be found under the Common Core standards for fifth grade. Standards that are superior to Common Core focus on knowledge acquisition and skill development — not conformity, values or beliefs.
Finn states that Common Core Standards “written correctly, they do not dictate any particular curriculum of pedagogy.”
Then why has the federal government provided funding to publishers to align their textbooks to Common Core Standards and testing consortiums to align all tests, ACT, SAT and accreditation.
Local control of schools includes a role in determining the curriculum taught. That is the American tradition that makes America a Constitutional Republic. When federal and state governments collude to impose standards upon the public, their Departments of Education are acting in a dictatorial manner. America’s strength has always come from its people — not from its government.
It is time for taxpayers to get on the agenda for the next local school board meeting to demand rejection of Common Core Standards and implementation of any one of the other excellent sets of standards available for free. It is time that citizens organize to stop the federal funding and the federal manipulation of the American educational system. Advocates for Academic Freedom works to build a grassroots movement to eliminate federal funding of education, to reallocate those federal educational dollars to the states and to reinstate local control of schools. You may sign a petition on line at http://advocatesforacademicfreedom.org/petition.asp#.UdFzEuMo6po
Karen Schroeder is president of Advocates for Academic Freedom, a member of the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board, an experienced public school teacher, and an educational consultant. She testified at the joint hearings on Common Core held on May 22 before the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly Committees on Education. She can be reached at 715-234-5072 email@example.com.