Everything You Wanted to Ask About Common Core, and More
North Carolina's Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest has written a set of over 200 questions challenging the state superintendent of public schools to explain in detail the adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards -- before the State Board of Education's scheduled August 7-8 meeting.
Lt. Gov. Forest's bold approach to finding the underlying cause of the CCSS in his state no doubt will be answered with attacks, as speaking truth to power rarely results in transparency on the latter's part. By questioning authority, the Lt. Gov. is showing us how to resist the tyranny of the minority.
Dr. June Atkinson, NC Superintendent of Public Instruction, in a June 12 letter defending CCSS, has already begun a counterattack on why "a pause in the implementation of the Common Core" would be detrimental. She implies that the entire educational structure would fall apart and that such an action would lead "to not teach students how to read, write, speak, listen, and learn math such as adding, multiplying, dividing, subtracting, etc." To which Forest in #26 returns with "North Carolina did not use the CCSS standards until this past school year. Do you believe that we have not been teaching our students to read, write, speak, listen, and learn math for the past several decades?"
Then, this past Friday, the Department of Public Instruction returned another volley at the Lt. Gov. On his Facebook Forest writes, "DPI asked that I supply 10,000 pieces of paper so that they could answer my questions." He sent them the requested reams. DPI could be pulling all-nighters.
It doesn't appear that anyone checked out the ramifications of the CCSS before the state adopted them in 2010. The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers released the standards on June 2, 2010, and North Carolina's SBE adopted them two days later. There was no legislative debate and no real public debate (there was a two-month window for public comments, but who knew?).
In his inquiry, Lt. Gov. Forest broaches the topic of international standards under the section entitled "Development of Standards" when he asks, "Who created the international standards to which the CCSS is benchmarked?" Maybe he knows the answer already, but he wants to see if the chief of schools knows it.
CCSS has been in the works officially at least since 2005, when the document Benchmarking for Success became the blueprint for comparing U.S. standards to international benchmarks. Achieve Inc., the same nonprofit that helped the National Governors Association create the CCSS, wrote this report because states' "policymakers lack a critical tool for moving forward -- international benchmarking."
In a chilling quote from a globalist who is head of "Indicators and Analysis Division at the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development's Directorate for Education," we read the ideology behind the rhetoric:
It is only through such benchmarking that countries can understand relative strengths and weaknesses of their education system and identify best practices and ways forward. The world is indifferent to tradition and past reputations, unforgiving of frailty and ignorant of custom or practice. Success will go to those individuals and countries which are swift to adapt, slow to complain, and open to change.
So tradition, custom, and practice must be thrown into the trash bin. The report is rife with language more appropriate to a socialist state than a republic. The opening statement in the report claims, "We are living in a world without borders." Really? Tell that to China and Finland, the two countries to whom education reformers constantly compare the U.S. Then the report goes on to offer five "Actions" which turn out to be exactly what we are experiencing today.
You can also read about the necessity of federal involvement and a blueprint of Race to the Top:
The federal government can play an enabling role as states engage in the critical but challenging work of international benchmarking. First, federal policymakers should offer funds to help underwrite the cost. As states reach important milestones on the way toward building internationally competitive education systems, the federal government should offer a range of tiered incentives to make the next stage of the journey easier, including increased flexibility in the use of federal funds and in meeting federal educational requirements and providing more resources to implement world-class educational best practices. Over the long term, the federal government will need to update laws to align national education policies with lessons learned from state benchmarking efforts and from federally funded research.
Here's proof that all those reformers pushing the CCSS, including both Democrats and Republicans -- thank you, Jeb Bush -- are lying when they say that the standards are state-based, state-led, and voluntary. According to Benchmarking for Success, the federal government plays an integral role in developing policies and laws that cause states to buckle under federal authority.
The federal government's intrusion into states' rights gives rise to the question of collection of student data in order to equalize learning outcomes. Detailed data on students would be necessary to an overreaching government to make all states uniform so that the U.S. as a whole can be compared to other countries. And so it is with CCSS. The Lt. Gov. brings up the question of data-mining and its implications on students' private information. He cites a speech given by the architect of the Common Core, David Coleman, at a Harvard forum, where "he specifically spells out how the College Board is partnering with the Obama campaign to data mine education databases[.]"
I had discovered this speech while researching Coleman for a blog post for American Thinker, and I transcribed most of Coleman's words because they were so revelatory. When I first found the video, there were only 7 views on YouTube. After clipping out three minutes, which show Coleman's deceptive practice of slipping CCSS under the radar into governors' laps and his remarks about Obama's data campaign, the video got wider viewership, and the lieutenant governor's office must have picked it up. I am happy I could play a part in getting essential information to someone who could use it.
Lt. Gov. Forest lays bare the trouble with the Common Core Standards in his lengthy questionnaire to the superintendent. We will have to wait and see if Dr. Atkinson sees the wisdom in reassessing the SBE's decision to adopt the standards, but from the initial snarky response of needing thousands of pieces of paper to print their answers on, it doesn't look promising. Lt. Gov. Forest should keep the pressure on and keep the citizens of North Carolina informed no matter the outcome.
Dan Forest's letter is a breath of fresh air. In fact, I would suggest that every state that has a problem with the Common Core use his set of questions as a benchmark and send it on to each of its chief state school officers.
Read more on David Coleman and Common Core at Potter Williams Report.