The Truth About Common Core

All students will be required to pass the tests devised by these radicals—even those in private schools or home-schooled.

By Mary Grabar l October 16, 2012

Linda Darling-Hammond

I just heard another Republican politico, a state senator here in Georgia, at a meeting, claim that Common Core is not a federalized education curriculum, but a “state-led” education reform initiative.

He could have been reading from a press release sent by the Obama Department of Education.

In reality, Common Core was attached to millions of dollars in stimulus funds that were dangled by the feds before the states in a contest called “Race to the Top” during the 2009 economic crisis. The attached Common Core standards were not even written when states signed up. Writing the standards and attached tests are education “experts” whose philosophies align with Weatherman/terrorist-turned-education professor Bill Ayers. Ayers’ close colleague, Linda Darling-Hammond, was head of the education transition team during the 2008 campaign. Now she is overseeing the development of national tests.

This initiative was waiting in the wings, already lined up by Hillary Clinton before Bill Clinton even took office (thanks to the largesse of the Gates Foundation and others). The Gates Foundation has poured tens of millions of dollars into education efforts here in Georgia (as they have in other states). But we are simply to believe the talking point that proponents of Common Core have put out about this being an effort to raise and align standards, so children going from state to state can be assured of keeping up with their peers in other states.

I took the opportunity at this meeting to hand out copies of my report for Accuracy in Media, Terrorist Professor Bill Ayers and Obama’s Federal School Curriculum. Many of the people in the room were concerned about education and probably did not know that the misleadingly named Common Core offers disguised opportunities to advance an anti-American agenda through literature, and even math; and it dumbs down standards.

Few people have actually looked at the Common Core compliant curriculum materials being developed and sold. Typical are adaptations of popular adult nonfiction books like Fast Food Nation, the socialist tract,Nickel and Dimed, and books about teen idol Justin Bieber. These are the “informational texts” that will take the place of literary works, as time allocated for traditional literature is reduced to 50 percent and then to 30 percent in high school. Professors are selling “Common Core-compliant” books, like Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies, that advances the old lie from the Soviet disinformation campaign that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was a homosexual who organized a paranoia campaign about communism to Americans.

Few people understand the changes in testing promoted by Darling-Hammond. In the August 2009Harvard Educational Review, she wrote that in place of objective tests new tests would measure “deep understanding”—whatever that means. She advocated advancing beyond “the narrow views of the last eight years” by “developing creativity, critical thinking skills, and the capacity to innovate.” New assessments would use “multiple measures of learning and performance.”

She described her plans again in an April 28, 2010, Education Week article titled “Developing an Internationally Comparable Balanced Assessment System.” She claimed that the new assessment system is “designed to go beyond recall of facts and show students’ abilities to evaluate evidence, problem solve and understand context.” Education Week appears to be a regular education journal, but in reality is supported by the Gates Foundation to promote Common Core. Her close colleague, Bill Ayers, throughout his writings, also likens the testing for “facts” to a factory or prison system, and agrees with Darling-Hammond’s emphasis on criteria like “student growth along multiple dimensions.” Such buzzwords thinly disguise an agenda of replacing the objective measurement of knowledge and skills with teachers’ subjective appraisals of students’ attitudes and behavior as global citizens.

What Common Core will in effect do is allow the infusion of “social justice” objectives and a leveling of all students—the goals of Ayers and Darling-Hammond all along, as their writings and speeches indicate. The new national tests will naturally inspire a curriculum that adheres to such standards. All students will be required to pass the tests devised by these radicals—even those in private schools or home-schooled. This move will in effect eliminate the options of private or home-schooling.

Along with the leveling of academic outcomes will be the leveling through the tax base, so that school districts will share funding through regions. Local governments will be replaced by federally appointed bureaucrats who will impose regional tax-sharing.

As part of the deal, states have promised to keep track of all students. They promised to submit these records to the feds. Because they will be able to monitor every student and keep files on students state-by-state, the federal government will, in essence, have a national data base. The Gates Foundation is spending millions to develop programs for such record-keeping.

Is this all paranoia about the Bill Ayers influence? Is this a “conspiracy theory” as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has claimed?

Well, consider that Obama and Ayers worked closely together on education initiatives for at least seven years as board members of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Ayers used that opportunity to infuse social justice programs into inner-city Chicago schools, while shortchanging students of the skills and knowledge they needed. Like all of Ayers’ theories, the results do not measure out in real scholastic improvements but in increased radicalization. It’s the same with Darling-Hammond, whose own experimental school failed to improve academic outcomes.

Consider also that Ayers was a keynote speaker at a conference with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter, along with a representative from Achieve, Inc., who made a presentation on Common Core. Achieve is the Washington, D.C., contractor that is acting essentially as the project manager for the nationalized education curriculum.

Pure coincidence? As Stanley Kurtz points out, the Obama administration has denied any involvement with Ayers, even claiming that his name on released White House visitor roles belonged to another person with the same name.

But this fact, along with Ayers’ and Obama’s history together, a look at the writings about education, and sample lesson plans, indicates that Common Core is about anything but raising standards or a state-led effort.

Read my Accuracy in Media report here.

Mary Grabar, Ph.D., teaches English at Emory University in the Program in American Democracy and Citizenship. She recently founded the Dissident Prof Education Project, Inc., an education reform initiative that offers information and resources for students, parents, and citizens. The motto, “Resisting the Re-Education of America,” arose in part from her perspective as a very young immigrant from the former Communist Yugoslavia (Slovenia specifically). She writes extensively and is also a published poet and fiction writer.