This week's award for Biggest Common Core Jerk goes to Missouri GOP state legislator Mike Lair. Parents, teachers and administrators who object to the government education "standards" racket -- which usurps local control, impedes academic achievement and undermines family privacy -- have politicians on the defensive. The only thing these Fed Ed flacks and hacks can respond with is cowardly condescension.
Lair, chairman of Missouri's House Appropriations Committee on Education, inserted an $8 budget line item to mock Common Core critics as tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorists. Lair's item reads: "For two rolls of high-density aluminum to create headgear designed to deflect drone and/or black helicopter mind reading and control technology."
Common Core jerkitude is a bipartisan disease. Lair's ridicule of grave parental concerns about Common Core data mining follows in the footsteps of Democratic U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan (who derided opponents as "white suburban moms") and GOP former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (who derided opponents' motives as "purely political"). It's all a snitty, snotty smokescreen that will backfire as more families from all parts of the political spectrum discover the truth about Common Core's invasive nature.
Assessing Common Core is inextricably tied to the big business of data collection and data mining. States that took the Race to the Top bribes in exchange for adopting Common Core must now comply with the edutech requirements of two private testing conglomerates, the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers or the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Common Core states also agreed to expand existing statewide longitudinal database systems that contain sensitive student data from pre-kindergarten through postsecondary education.
Will Estrada and Katie Tipton of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association conclude that "it will become increasingly difficult to protect the personal information of homeschool and private school students as these databases grow." In addition to stimulus and Race to the Top enticements, both the Education and Labor Departments have funded several other initiatives to build and make various interoperable student and teacher databases.
"Before our eyes," Estrada and Tipton warn, "a 'national database' is being created in which every public school student's personal information and academic history will be stored." It's no laughing matter.