Cathie Auxier is not an educator. She does not have children in school. But she is a concerned citizen who, finding out about the Common Core Curricula, fears for the future. She shared her thoughts last night at our Midtown Republican Club meeting.
At first glance, the idea that there will be standards for all students across the country sounds like a good thing. We want all our young people to have the skills to become intelligent, innovative thinkers who will be assets to society. Whether Common Core can and will do that – and at what cost – is subject to disagreement.
Auxier started looking into this and asked two questions: Who is pushing these efforts and where does the money come from?
She found the answer to the first question leads to two groups, Achieve.org and Students First. The movement started with Achieve in 1996 and was pushed through National Education Summits and the National Governors Association. The 2009 stimulus bill started the Race to the Top program, initiating the Common Core. When states decided to take the money, as Bredesen did in Tennessee, they then became captives to the federal government and whatever standards they want.
Many educators argue that these standards diminish learning. For instance, English teachers would be spending 50% of the time on nonfiction and informational texts such as U.S. political documents, court decisions and scientific and technical manuals. The classics are dropped to make room for the government propaganda. Established methods of teaching math have been thrown out in favor of new ones that delay subjects such as algebra and calculus for most students.
In addition, radical and former terrorist Bill Ayers is directing how certain tests are framed, with money flowing in from other leftist groups such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GE, IBM, Carnegie and the Joyce Foundation which previously listed Barack Obama and Valerie Jarrett on its board.
Auxier worries about the connection between these firms, many of whom are Silicon Valley corporations, and the plan to data mine students. Common Core requires students be monitored with wristbands for blood pressure and heart rate during testing, iris scanning and facial observation. They also video record teachers and base evaluations on them. Common Core also asks intrusive questions of students such as their parents’ voting records, religious affiliation and health records.
Auxier finds that in the hundreds of pages detailing contributions by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that money is given to groups like Stand for Children, which has an office in Memphis. “It’s not for education, but for social services,” she says. “Things like Headstart are not under the Department of Education, but Health and Human Services. It hasn’t been successful in 30 years and it has nothing to do with education. The Gates Foundation will be putting money to these groups to put pressure here locally on officials to raise the city sales tax.”
If you think you can avoid the program by sending children to private or parochial schools, Auxier has a warning. “It ensnares private schools, too, via the testing. You take the SAT and the president of the college boards helped create the Common Core standards. The SATs will be based on what has been taught in Common Core.” If you want your child to get a high score, he or she will be expected to know the questions he has formed. “Private schools are now wondering how they will meet the standards.”
Auxier says Common Core must be defeated at the state level. “When government takes over anything, the quality goes down. And whoever controls the money will control the people.”