Challenge ‘Common Core’ at Your Own Peril [Excerpts]
On September 19, 2013, in Towson, Maryland, concerned parent Robert Small was physically removed from a public forum for daring to interrupt Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance during the so-called “question-and-answer” portion of a school board meeting. Dance was only answering questions from parents previously submitted in writing. When Small stood up to tell the audience that he believed the introduction of the new Common Core curriculum would compromise education standards, he was approached by an off-duty police officer working as a security guard and forcibly removed from the auditorium. He was subsequently handcuffed, and charged with second-degree assault of a police officer. Though the charges have reportedly been dropped, the incident remains a shocking reminder of the oppressive nature of Common Core and the liberal educational establishment charged with enforcing it.
Another parent in attendance sent columnist Michelle Malkin an email corroborating that assessment, insisting the meeting was little more than a rah-rah session touting the greatness of Common Core, followed by the pre-selected questions. “They were mostly softball questions of course and you could feel everyone’s frustration that no hard-hitting questions were being asked,” the writer explained. The description of Small and the incident? “He was just a dad trying to get some information about his children’s education and ended up in jail for not sitting down and shutting up. I was there and it was absolutely chilling to watch this man silenced.”
Chilling might be an understatement. Small was held until 3 a.m. after being charged. He faced a fine of $2,500 and up to 10 years in prison for the alleged assault, as well as a fine of $2,500 and up to six months in jail for disturbing a school operation. The police report contended Small attempted to push the officer away when he was first confronted.
Common Core was created – and copyrighted — by two Washington, D.C., lobbying organizations. They received input from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), which are DC-based trade associations. Most of the creative work was implemented by ACHIEVE, Inc., a progressive non-profit group largely underwritten by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The series of educational standards was put together without any input from state legislators, teachers, local school boards or parents. The program was sold to individual states coercively, with governors promised large sums of stimulus money to sign on and enticed by waivers relieving them of the requirements demanded by No Child Left Behind or threatened with a withholding of funds for resisting.
The standards themselves are equally dubious. Cursive will no longer be taught. Euclidian geometry, emphasizing logic, will be replaced by a geometry “standard” so dubious, it was jettisoned by the Soviet Union 50 years ago. Rote memorization will be greatly reduced. Great literature will be eliminated in favor technical material, such as manuals, that enhance the computer-centric method stressed by Common Core. Moreover, an integral part of the progressive agenda with be served. Social justice will be stressed, along with redistributionist economic theories and radical environmentalism.
Yet the most disturbing aspect of the program by far is the reality that it paves the way for the acquisition of an unprecedented level of personal information by schools....The extent of the data collection is highly disturbing. On page 44 of its February 2013 report, the U.S. Department of Education displayed photographs of “four parallel streams of affective sensors.” Once the program is fully implemented, those sensors will be used to “provide constant, parallel streams of data…used with data mining techniques and self-report measures to examine frustration, motivation/flow, confidence, boredom, and fatigue” of children. In short, they will become de facto lab rats.
1. Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or parent;
2. Mental and psychological problems of the student or the student’s family;
3. Sex behavior or attitudes;
4. Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, and demeaning behavior;
5. Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;
6. Legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;
7. Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent; or
8. Income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program).
The data mining of Sensitive Information ostensibly requires written parental consent. But as Mary Black, curriculum director for Freedom Project Education explains, that requirement can be circumvented. “I think they would get around parental consent through testing,” Black said, warning that academic exams could be tailored in such a manner as to extract the relevant data without parents’ knowledge. Black further contends that even if parents are successful in keeping their children away from such invasive questions, they could be “branded” and placed in a special category a result.