President Obama ignored federal statutes and federal student-privacy laws while he bullied states into accepting Common Core Standards (CCS) as part of the Race to the Top initiative. For nearly 100 years, educators have focused upon changing America. The Race to the Top represents a current resource for transforming America through changing the values of our children.
The General Education Provisions Act, the Department of Education Organization Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 all include language prohibiting the federal Department of Education (DOE) from directing, supervising, or controlling curricula in any school. These statues also forbid the DOE from selecting textbooks or other instructional materials.
These laws were ignored when Common Core Standards became an integral part of the Race to the Top initiative. CCS allows the federal government to define what will be in every textbook, in every subject, in every classroom across the United States. Once the curriculum has been defined, the federal government will have the authority to create assessment tools which match those standards. Also, the 2009 Stimulus Bill created a State Fiscal Stabilization Fund which is accessible only to states that agree to develop broad State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS), an integral part of the new educational goals.
SLDS will collect data on public-school students. According to a Pioneer Institute and American Principles Project white paper, Controlling Education from the Top, all fifty states agreed to build an SLDS to become eligible for stimulus money. The DOE now has authority to collect data on students from preschool to their experiences in the workforce. According to the National Education Data Model, these records may include everything from health-care history, disciplinary records, social security numbers, and family voting status.
According to The Guide to Protecting the Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Special Publication 800-122, the DOE issued new regulations in January 2012 that allow “sharing” the information with any governmental or private agency. Each organization accessing the information will be reminded that they must be respectful of its sensitive nature, but parents need not be notified.
During a February 2010 speech at the National Governors’ Association, President Obama explained that states would have to adopt Common Core to receive federal Title I education funding. The Pioneer Institute quotes the president saying, “We’re calling for a redesigned Elementary and Secondary Education Act that better aligns the federal approach to your state-led efforts while offering you the support you need…first, as a condition of receiving access to Title I funds, we will ask all states to put in place a plan to adopt and certify standards.” This maneuver allows the standards to now be called Common Core State Standards (CCSS). This name falsely implies that the standards are state developed.
CCSS resulted from generous funding from private entities such as the Gates Foundation. Including CCSS in the Race to the Top competition and imposing it upon the states is not unusual, except this time the state legislators, educators, and parents have had no oversight in the formation of the CCSS.
Many taxpayers and educators are unaware that private institutions or educational agencies have influenced educational policy since the early 1900s. The public and educators are also unaware that most educational policy makers are not educators but are typically social and political policy people. They allow the teacher to be held mainly accountable for the failed outcomes of their policies.
Some experts, including Dr. Sandra Stotsky and ZE’Ev Wurman, focus upon student academic progress and express frustration with the “empty skill sets” and the “drastic costs” resulting from adapting Common Core State Standards for the current math and English curricula. The website and Facebook pages of Conservative Teachers of America are peppered with articles and testimonials from teachers who are frustrated with the poor standards being imposed upon their classrooms.
Teachers are not eager to be held accountable for high levels of academic progress when the curricula they are required to use often expects less from students than do past state standards. New policies often focus on a determination to eradicate conservatism—NOT to promote academic excellence.
The Aspen Institute’s A New Civic Literacy: American Education and Global Interdependence explains that the conservative nature of teachers, school boards, and taxpayers has been a stumbling block to progress in gaining American support for global interdependence. Their solution is an increase in federal control of education.
A purpose of A Guide to Motivation in Education by Ronald G. Havelock is to transform educators into change agents. The guide explains that people who resisted their suggested changes had “really bad hang-ups” and that they needed “psychiatric help when they returned from training labs” because they were involved in an “extreme right-wing group.” The guide emphasizes that most conservatives are from the country and void of the enlightenment that comes from exposure to outside influences. The book repeatedly explains how and why it is necessary to “quell the irrational doubts and fears which the extremists (conservatives)…exploit.”
To exterminate conservative interference, the Behavioral Science Teacher Education Program (B-STEP) was developed to prepare teachers for a “changing society” and to alter “their impact on the program and on student attitude.” To accomplish this, “Clinical behavioral style permeates every phase of the program. Prospective teachers are trained so that they employ it.” Therefore, once clinical behavioral methods have been used to change their goals and values, the teacher is then expected to utilize those methods with future students. The focus is to expose students to non-Western thought and values, thus “sensitizing them to their own…inherent cultural biases.” This strategy was designed to influence prospective teachers to accept alternate social, political, and economic value systems.
Federal government interference into education IS the main reason schools are continuing to fail in large numbers. The solution is to get federal dollars out of education, reallocate those dollars to the states, and reinstate local control of schools.
Karen Schroeder is the President of Advocates for Academic Freedom (AAF) which is a proponent for a return to fact-based curricula, accountability, and academic excellent in public education. Karen was appointed to the Governor’s Educational Communications Board on May 1, 2012. She provides seminars designed to inform and motivate citizens to reclaim their responsibility to become involved in the decisions made at the local and state levels of the educational system. Karen is regularly interviewed by Wisconsin radio personalities.
With a BA degree in education and a Master’s Degree in Special Education, Ms. Schroeder has taught in suburban public schools for thirty-six years. During her teaching career, she became a freelance writer to provide citizens with information revealing the impact of social and political policies on the educational system. Her works are published in the Eau Claire Journal and numerous other newspapers across Wisconsin.
As an education consultant, Ms. Schroeder provides seminars and campaign training programs to political candidates.
Among other projects, AAF donates conservative current-events materials to libraries of public schools.