Last week, I explained what the Common Core State Standards are and how, despite the federal government's saying it's staying out of the classroom standards business, there is much evidence to show that the feds are intricately linked to them.
The first way I demonstrated that was by pointing out that the feds have spent $350 million of taxpayer money, funding and giving grants and waivers to muscle and bribe states and local school districts to accept CCSS. And all of that was done without a single act of Congress, meaning the federal government -- including the White House -- dumped protocol again to dodge accountability.
With their monetary tentacles reaching over state lines and into classrooms, their second step is to inject their progressive agenda into curricula taught in elementary, middle and high schools. And that is easily accomplished because their educative minions pervade academic arenas and CCSS curricula creators.
Common Core advocates pride themselves in saying that the standards don't set curricula, that they only set goals (or what they call "benchmarks") that educators utilize to help their students reach the academic stars. They say states and local school districts, administrators and educators will fashion curricula.
In fact, the Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee, a group under the California County of Superintendents Educational Services Association, issued a form titled "Frequently Asked Questions (About) Common Core Standards," in which it is categorically stated: "The Standards don't dictate the details of academic curriculum."
Even Education Secretary Arne Duncan regurgitated the vision of Common Core this way: "Tight on goals but loose on means -- that's our theory of change. It's the exact opposite of how No Child Left Behind was structured." (There's that plural fed-ownership language again, "that's our theory of change.")
"Tight on goals but loose on means" -- sounds like a good plan, right?
Here's the problem. You've heard the version of the golden rule, "He who has the gold makes the rules." Here's the academic version: "He who sets the standards controls the curricula and even the educators." Despite how CCSS defenders say that dictating standards doesn't lead to determining the content taught in classrooms, that's exactly what it does. Proof of the link is found in the fact that when Common Core standards are completely implemented in 2015, at least 85 percent of states' curricula will be based upon them. Get it?!
Of course, in public, advocates, including Duncan, state categorically -- loud and proud -- that the feds are completely hands-off when it comes to CCSS curricula. Duncan told one group of journalists back in June: "The federal government didn't write them, didn't approve them and doesn't mandate them. And we never will. Anyone who says otherwise is either misinformed or willfully misleading."
Mr. Duncan, I don't know what political pipe dream you live in, but to say that the federal government "never will" write or influence any portion of any national educational standards or curricula when it has the Department of Education overseeing the whole ball of wax is about as unrealistic as saying that the feds "never will" get involved in the health care business. Sure, local districts and states can create and control their curricula, just as we citizens can keep our medical plans if we like them! That's all federal fantasy, not based upon historical facts of the feds' overreaching, influencing and controlling anything and everything that is national.
Duncan and President Barack Obama don't need to have a meeting in the Oval Office to draft modes in which to shape and influence academic curricula. They only have to post their leftist minions in positions of influence throughout the academic world; those people will do their dirty work for them. And it's already happened!
In fact, concerned parents and educators across the country just had their curricula fears grow legs when CCSS English lessons for elementary classrooms were discovered with partisan political statements in them. These are the types of covert moves that experts and citizens have warned about and hoped never would become a reality.
Fox News reported recently: "Teaching materials aligned with the controversial national educational standards ask fifth-graders to edit such sentences as '(The president) makes sure the laws of the country are fair,' 'The wants of an individual are less important than the well-being of the nation' and 'the commands of government officials must be obeyed by all.'"
What?! Do those statements sound like the principles upon which our republic was founded or socialist dogma and indoctrination?
The statements are in a worksheet titled "Hold the Flag High," in which students are instructed about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War and assigned to make sentences describing a U.S. president's duties "less wordy by replacing the underlined words with a possessive noun phrase."
And remember that Common Core standards have been applied to only two subjects, mathematics and English language arts. Consider what secular progressive agenda awaits when other standards, such as those for social sciences, roll out. And yes, 45 states already have swallowed the entire CCSS pill, without ever looking at or considering CCSS benchmarks for all the remaining school subjects.
Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin cited University of Arkansas professor Sandra Stotsky, who said months before this revelation that federal partisan politics invaded CCSS curricula: "An English curriculum overloaded with advocacy journalism or with 'informational' articles chosen for their topical and/or political nature should raise serious concerns among parents, school leaders, and policymakers. Common Core's standards not only present a serious threat to state and local education authority, but also put academic quality at risk. Pushing fatally flawed education standards into America's schools is not the way to improve education for America's students."
And while the protests, debates and storms rage about CCSS, the children of America remain the sacrificial guinea pigs in this political, crippled and inept system that we call public education.
Next week, I will give you the third piece of evidence for the feds' collaborations and entanglements within CCSS -- namely that the feds are creating a national database to store your kids' private information obtained through a technological project within CCSS.