Common Core or Hardcore: Nowhere Else to Go
The intended consequences of the education reform movement have finally shaken out due to the debate over Common Core. We're left with nationalized standards via either the Common Core or hardcore progressivism.
We get two "choices" in leadership: the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) crowd, headed by Obama/Duncan/Rhee/Gates/RINOs or the Dewey-driven traditionally progressive public schools crowd headed by Bill Ayers and Diane Ravitch, education professor at New York University.
But wait. Didn't Mary Grabar of Accuracy in Media point out Bill Ayers' connection to Common Core? How can Ayers be on team Obama but at the same time in the Ravitch camp? In a statement of support for Ayers a couple days after the 2012 elections, Ravitch forgives the terrorist for his activities "in the 1960s" because he speaks truth to power in 2012 when writing an open letter calling on Obama to "rethink his policies."
What a tangled web. The only feasible hypothesis is that the left plays both sides against the middle. Unsuspecting or complicit conservatives get caught up in the quagmire -- and end up with no choices.
Diane Ravitch has contributed to the confusion on a grand scale. Reading through her biography, you might think she exemplifies nonpartisanship, but take a closer look, and you see that her loyalty lands consistently on the side of progressivism.
Ravitch has come out against the CCSS, but she is a proponent of voluntary national standards. Since the Obama administration claims that the CCSS are voluntary even though they are a big part of Race to the Top grants, why has Ravitch actively denounced them? Is she against the standards or against the bribery?
And to make the water murkier, Ravitch was on board in creating curriculum mapping for teachers who needed to learn the CCSS. She co-directed the nonprofit Common Core, which, according to IRS tax documents, started in 2008. She remained on their board through September 2010. This organization states on its website that it "is not affiliated with the Common Core State Standards," yet its members worked side-by-side with the architect of the CCSS, David Coleman.
In yet another head-spinning scenario, Ravitch publicly renounced Bill Gates's style of education reform a couple months after she ended her stint with Common Core, calling him out as a corporate reformer who's not interested in really helping the children (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation heavily subsidizes Common Core). If she was a consultant on the mapping project, was she paid with funds from Gates?
If this kind of back-and-forth isn't enough to rattle your brain, just look at Ravitch's opinion of Bush's No Child Left Behind; first she's for it, then she's against it. In 2005, she stated that it's "paying off for younger students, who are reading and solving mathematics problems better than their parents' generation." Then, in 2010, around the same time she published a bestseller criticizing the corporate model of education reform, she said, "But I've looked at the evidence and I've concluded they [NCLB policies]'re wrong."
NCLB acted as a precursor to Race to the Top competitive grants, which tied Common Core to receiving funding. Thus, three years ago, governors and school boards were unilaterally adopting Common Core without legislative debate or feedback from the real stakeholders -- families with children in the system. Guess the standards had to be adopted so we could know what was in them.
Several states have now begun the process of stopping the implementation of Common Core because people are waking up to the standards' limited capacity to deliver a better education. But even if states can opt out of Common Core, how will the schools in those states avoid aligning their course materials to reflect the standards when David Coleman, the president of College Board, has been rewriting the PSATs and the SATs to match the CCSS?
We now know that many of the CCSS are worded with the idea that everything is relative. This connects to and describes Bill Ayers's philosophy based on the Marxist Paulo Freire's "critical pedagogy," which demands that we question everything within a politically class-conscious framework and hold no beliefs as absolute.
There is no true reform in the Marxist-sounding CCSS, and the biggest losers in all of this are the children. The left has us over a barrel. Repealing CCSS is as impossible as repealing ObamaCare. Each state can change its policies, but the bureaucratic and moneyed interests make the task almost insurmountable.
If you think the revolution taking place in schools was driven by a sincere desire to increase academic standing in the global community, then you are woefully misinformed. No, the end product of all this switching sides has handed the American population an education network which serves one intention: Marxist indoctrination on a national scale.
Read more Ann Kane at Potter Williams Report.