Dr. Karen Effrem and Chrissy Blevio, co-founders of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition appeared in Tampa to discuss the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in our schools with concerned parents, grandparents, and educators. The event was hosted by Heritage Action for America and the Tampa 912 Project. Dr. Effrem exposed many of the myths, false narratives, and talking points people are hearing regarding Common Core.
Despite claims to the contrary, Common Core is not a state driven educational curriculum; rather it is a national program being implemented for English and math. The federal government is heavily involved in shaping curriculum guidelines. The P-20W “Cradle to Career” model includes expansion into preschool and even pre-natal supervision. Common Core advocates insist it is being driven by many of our state governors. While the National Governors Association appears to be behind the implementation of Common Core State Standards, we must understand that the NGA receives eighty percent of its funding from the federal government. Organizations like Achieve, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and the NGA are private trade organizations and conduct their affairs in closed meetings.
Much of the money behind the Common Core State Standards comes from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and federal dollars. Because of our recent and extended recession, states were desperate for federal funds. In 2010 they accepted this money without reviewing or understanding what the Common Core State Standards are. Today much of the curriculum is still being written and the tests are being drafted. These standards have never been tested. Bill Gates has admitted we will not know the outcome of a CCSS education and that our children are part of a nationwide “experiment.” The federal government is spending $360 million dollars on SBAC and PARCC test development.
The Common Core State Standards were adopted in Florida by appointed state school board members, not our elected officials. Florida legislators had no involvement in the adoption of this curriculum and have very little knowledge of the issues and are therefore unable to address the concerns of their constituents. They have been given talking points and have been sent from Tallahassee to meet with constituents through local political groups. Having attended several of these meetings in the Tampa Bay area, our representatives appear to be on fact finding missions where they are asking their constituents what the major concerns are regarding Common Core. It seems they have been directed to take this information back to Tallahassee so they can craft their talking points to satisfy their concerns and convince parents and educators how wonderful the Common Core State Standards are and how “rigorous” and “internationally benchmarked” the newly developed curricula will be for our children.
We are being told that states have some say in the curriculum they use in their schools, and while they must use at least eighty-five percent of the materials provided, fifteen percent can be modified by the state. Florida declined retaining this minimal state control and has adopted one hundred percent of the CCSS curriculum.
Not one of the Common Core State Standard architects has taught in any K – 12 classroom. Educators involved in reviewing the CCSS determined that by the end of eighth grade American students will be two years behind their international peers and even worse by graduation.
We are being told there will be no more teaching to the test. This is false, as teacher pay, tenure, and funding are all tied to test results.
Of great concern to parents is the data mining inclusion in CCSS and the privacy of their children’s information. CCSS sets up a national student database which includes over 400 points of personal information on each student, such as: bus stops and travel times, at risk students, disease, illness, parental voting information. In addition, biometric data will be collected including genetic data and iris scans.
President Obama changed the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) rules so that students can be monitored as to their psychological attitudes involving a range of non-cognitive factors. This is not only about fundamentally changing how our children are being taught, they will also be subjected and exposed to psychological and behavioral modification.
Governor Scott asked the department to hold public hearings to listen to citizens concerns on CCSS. These hearings were held in Tampa, Davie, and Tallahassee October 15th, 16th and 17th.
Common Core is not education as we have come to understand over the past hundred years or so. Common Core will teach our children WHAT to think, not HOW to think. Our children will be pigeonholed to specific jobs based on the educational and psychological profiles and data collected during their entire lives from before birth through twelfth grade. The education they will receive will prepare them to attend a community college or to go into a career right out of high school. This is what is meant by “college and career ready.” Your child will no longer be able to decide for him- or herself what career they wish to pursue. His or her path will be set early and the training will be focused on that occupation, much like we see in China, Russia, and many of the countries of Europe.
Florida’s Race to the Top coordinator Holly Edenfield stated: “Florida is not delaying implementation of the Common Core… We are opening up the standards for public review which might result in some changes to them, but significant changes are not expected.”
The meetings in Florida were merely a dog and pony show to make us think they are considering our concerns when it comes to the Common Core State Standards, when in fact, its implementation has already been decided.