It's well-known that public schools are not graduating students as well-educated as before, that Americans score poorly on international tests, and that billions of federal dollars showered on public schools have not achieved any of the designated goals, which were to raise test scores and to eliminate the gap between higher income and lower income students. The Obama progressives want us to believe that the remedy is to turn over total control to the federal government.
That's illogical and unacceptable, but it fits right in with Obama's attitude that there is no higher power than the federal government. If Obama is reelected, he will be able to accomplish this task with help from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a graduate of Chicago politics.
So the Obama Administration has latched onto a national education curriculum called Common Core that was launched by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers in 2009. Those organizations have very official names as though they are government agencies, but they are actually private groups financed by foundations, such as Gates and various corporations.
Their plan is to induce all elementary and secondary schools to accept a comprehensive national education system that will enforce a national curriculum. National standards will be locked in by the tests students must take called assessments, which in turn are tied to teacher evaluation. The standards instruct the teachers what to teach so their pupils can pass the tests and teachers can get positive evaluations.
This process bypasses parents and state and local school boards, and will fundamentally transform education by dictating what every child will learn and not learn. Of course, the Obama crowd loves this because a takeover of the education system could be as consequential as the takeover of banks "too big to fail," or of General Motors, or of the health care industry with Obamacare.
No Child Left Behind was a step in this direction, but it allowed the states to set their own standards. Common Core, on the other hand, requires all states to adopt the same federally endorsed standards.
This will be achieved by carrot-and-stick methodology. The carrot is the offer of federal money, such as Race to the Top money granted if, and only if, the states first adopt the Common Core standards. The stick is the threat to withhold federal funds from states that don't obey.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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