By C.E. White
This week, President Obama will be sworn into office as the 45th President of the United States of America. As a history teacher, I was elated to learn he would be placing his hand on two Bibles, one belonging to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the other belonging to President Abraham Lincoln, when he takes the oath of office to lead our great nation. Dr. King and President Lincoln helped define civil rights for America…historical heroes who transformed the idea of justice and equality.
As jubilant as I am that President Obama is symbolically using the bibles of two of the greatest Americans in our nation’s history, I am saddened that this administration seems to have forgotten what Dr. King and President Lincoln promoted regarding education.
In Dr. King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” he stated “the goal of America is freedom.” As a teacher, it is such an honor to teach America’s children about freedom and patriotism. However, over the past few years, I began to learn about a new education reform initiative called Common Core Standards. A few years ago, when I first heard of Common Core, I began doing my own research. My students represent the future of the United States of America, and what they learn is of utmost importance to me. I care about their future, and the future of our country.
My research of Common Core Standards kept me awake at night, because what I discovered was so shocking. I discovered that Common Core Standards is about so much more than educational standards. I wanted so badly to believe these changes would be good for our children. How can “common” standards be a bad thing? After all, isn’t it nice to have students learning the same exceptional standards from Alabama to Alaska, from Minnesota to Massachusetts?
As a teacher, I began to spend nights, weekends, summers, even Christmas Day researching Common Core, because these reforms were so massive and were happening so quickly, it was hard to keep up with how American education was being transformed. I quickly began to realize that the American education system under Common Core goes against everything great Americans like Dr. King and President Lincoln ever taught. The very freedoms we celebrate and hold dear are in question when I think of what Common Core means for the United States.
One of my favorite writings about education from Dr. King is a paper entitled “The Purpose of Education.” In it, he wrote “To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.”
When I sit in faculty meetings about Common Core, I hear “curriculum specialists” tell me that Common Core is here to stay and I must “embrace change.” I am forced to drink the kool-aid. These specialists don’t tell us to search for facts about Common Core on our own, they simply tell us what the people paid to promote Common Core want us to know. Didn’t Dr. King want us to separate facts from fiction? Why are we only given information from sources paid to say Common Core is a good thing? Isn’t that the exact same type of propaganda Dr. King discussed in his writings about education? Shouldn’t we discuss why thousands of Americans are calling for a repeal of the standards?
I am told that I must embrace Common Core and I infer that resisting the changes associated with Common Core will label me “resistant to change.” As a teacher, I definitely believe our classrooms are changing with the times and I am not afraid of change. Teachers across America are hearing similar stories about how they should “feel” about Common Core. This is a brainwashing bully tactic. It reminds me of my 8th graders’ lesson on bullying, when I teach them to have an opinion of their own. Just because “everyone’s doing it,” doesn’t make it right. In regards to Common Core, I am not afraid of change. I am just not going to sell-out my students’ education so that Pearson, the Gates Foundation, David Coleman, Sir Michael Barber, Marc Tucker and others can experiment on our children.
I agree with Dr. King, which is why I am so saddened at how propaganda from an elite few is literally changing the face of America’s future with nothing more than a grand experiment called Common Core Standards. Our children deserve more. Our teachers deserve more. Our country deserves more. Education reform is the civil rights issue of our generation, and sadly, parents, teachers, and students have been left out of the process.
President Lincoln once said “the philosophy of the classroom today, will be the philosophy of government tomorrow.” With Common Core, new standardized tests have inundated classrooms with problems of their own. Teachers find themselves “teaching to the test” more and more. These tests violate our states’ rights. I wonder if parents realized that all states aren’t created equal in Common Core tests? Shouldn’t all states, under “common” standards for everyone have everyone’s equal input on how students are tested?
What about privacy under Common Core? Why didn’t local boards of education tell parents about the changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act? Do parents realize their child’s data, including biometric data such as fingerprints and retinal scans, is being placed in a state longitudinal data system and shared with others?
If our philosophy of the classroom is to violate states’ rights, use children and teachers as guinea pigs, and hide from parents the fact that their child’s data is no longer private, it can only be inferred that the philosophy of government tomorrow will do the same. What is America becoming?
As I watched President Obama place his hand on the bibles of Dr. King and President Lincoln, the history teacher in me was overjoyed to watch such a patriotic moment in U.S. history. And yet, I was crushed at the realization that if we do not stop Common Core and preserve the United States educational system, the philosophy of our government tomorrow will not be the America we know and love.
I am Janice VanCleave, sciece author and retired Texas science teacher. Everything you are saying about Common Core describes the CSCOPE curriculum that the Texas superintendents were instrumental in placing in 80% of Texas School Districts. These same superintendents are not bowing down at the feet of Linda Darling-Hammond who will speak at the national admin. conference in Feb. 2013. These disloyal superintendents belong to a group called TASA. They have been working against the state education system since 2006. So Texas has been using using Common Core under the guise that it is a curriculum aligned with the Texas state standards. How did this happen? People have trusted their state education agencies—Do not do this again ever—-
People have trusted that the school board members are doing everything with the objective of providing the best education for students—This is a lie in Texas because unknown to the public, school board members have required training that now teaches these members that their loyality is only to the superintendent who they hire. WOW! Sounds like the Bible verses about cutting down a tree, makiing an idol from the wood, and then bowing down to worship the idol. Board memeber who do not align with superintendents are harrassed and everything possible is done to have them replaced. As to the superintendents, why would they be so disloyal to their community as well as to the state? The biggest problem is that generally, a superintendent doesn’t belong to the community. We now have superintendents who move around with the objective of implementing CSCOPE curriculum. Why? This curriculum like common core is rotten to the core. In science, the facts are either totally wrong or parts are missing that makes it impossible to “connect the dots” for any comprehensive understanding.
I understand that the term RIGOR is part of common core—Has anyone figured out how to teach rigor? Or to recognize that a lesson has or doesn’t have rigor?
Teachers in Texas are being vilinized —if a teacher objects, complains or even reports errors -he or she is labeled as not being coorporative.
I am retired and was planning to kick back and play and have fun with science by creating a science website–which I did. Then I decided that I would volunteer to tutor local elementary kids in science and math. This is when my retirement took a new turn. The interim superintendent refused to allow me to have access to the CSCOPE lessons. The reason being that CSCOPE is copyrighted. DUH! So are the books that I have published and so are all the books in any library. That was 14 months ago and I now have a group of people that is growing daily working to have this sorry CSCOPE curriculum thrown out of our schools. We have an open meeting with the senate education committe, some of the group have spoken with the Lt. Governor, others are presenting programs to make the public aware that their superintendents and school board members have ulterior motives for purchasing CSCOPE and they need to clean out CSCOPE and all the people responsible for implementing it in their schools.
I wish you well with any efforts to cleanse your school of common core. It like CSCOPE is designed to dumb down American children. With anti-American lessons–and history lessons that do not teach children to honor our forefathers or to understand the Constitution etc….. Our children will have no loyaltites to our country–If you are not familiar with Agenda 21, read about it and your will find that this world government theme runs through common core as it does with CSCOPE.
For more information about CSCOPE, see http://www.TxCscopeReview.com
Welcome to President Obama’s communist America. We are not educating our children we are training them to be workers. President Obama and all the others that deem themselves better than the rest of us will EDUCATE their children and their children will chose a career path of their desire. Our children will be trained like monkeys and will be told what job they will hold, how much they can earn, where and how they can live, what to eat, how many pairs of shoes they can own, how much water they can drink, how much energy they can use. America better wake up. This administration has been telling us for over 4 years but many refuse to listen. Obama is here to fundamentally change America. Our Governors were forced to take Common Core site unseen with threats of losing Title 1 money if they refused. Well it will be up to the Teachers and parents to ban together and stand up and against this plan. If ALL teachers REFUSE to teach this propaganda what are they going to do…….fire all the teachers. I don’t think so. And if Common Core survives and moves forward in a few years there will be no need for educated teachers room monitors will suffice. So you will end up unemployed or underemployed eventually. So stand up now. This is in your hands. Legislators will have to listen if enough teachers and parents start fighting back. Teachers………TELL PARENTS what is happening to their children. Once you do a strong team will evolve. FIGHT BACK AND DO IT NOW. In two years it will be too late. Think of the damage that can be done in 2 years. Lets not forget Bill Gates and others will make a fortune off of this program. Educating your children is the furthest thing from their mind.