Opinion - Anti-Common Core Ruse

By Dan Schmitt | December 3, 2013 | As a retired teacher, I’ve taken an interest in the debate over the new Common Core Standards adop...

By Dan Schmitt | December 3, 2013 |

As a retired teacher, I’ve taken an interest in the debate over the new Common Core Standards adopted by California in 2010. I’ve been especially focused on the cloud of negative information about Common Core. During the past year, I’ve attended an anti-Common Core presentation hosted by the “Concerned Parents of Elk Grove” and sponsored by the Elk Grove Tea Party Patriots, attended the Common Core Community Forum sponsored by the Concerned Parents of Elk Grove, and read much of the literature disseminated by these folks. I’ve discovered that their information is riddled with inaccurate claims. Here are three.

Claim #1: The curriculum was mandated by President Obama and is a federal government take-over of education in our country.
Reality: There are people willing to attribute just about anything they perceive as negative, from hurricanes to hemorrhoids, to the Obama Administration. But Common Core did not originate with the federal government. These new standards were spearheaded by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA). In 2009 the NGA convened a group of educators to work on the standards. The Obama administration’s Race to the Top school grants competition gave points for having standards – any standards, not necessarily the Common Core – that showed high school graduates were prepared to do college work or enter the world of work. The Common Core wasn’t required.

Ironically, when the No Child Left Behind Act was passed by the Republican controlled Congress and signed by President Bush in 2001, I don’t remember any local backlash. No Child Left Behind, which required states to develop assessments in basic skills and tied the requirement to federal school funding, was an actual and direct expansion of our federal government’s role in public education. Hmmm, I wonder. . . . .

Claim #2: Another assertion by the anti-Common Core folks involves the “data mining” of student personal information. According to their presentations and literature, “The federal government now allows the following data to be collected on our students: “political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent; mental or psychological problems of the student or the student’s parents; sex behavior or attitudes, religious practices, affiliations, or belief of the student or student’s parent.” To support this claim, the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) Section 1061, Part F is cited.
Reality: Yes, those data are listed in the act, but what is not mentioned in claim #2 is that the list is embedded within the following paragraph, “No student shall be required, as part of any applicable program to submit to a survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning (the list is embedded here) without the prior consent of the student (if the student is an adult or emancipated minor), or in the case of an unemancipated minor, without the prior written consent of the parent.”

Secondly, this issue has nothing to do with Common Core because the GEPA has been the law of the land for over forty years. I don’t recall any such local, false accusations about the federal government during the Bush years. Hmmm, I wonder. . . . .

Claim #3: Students learn about the Five Pillars of Islam but nothing about the U.S. Constitution in school (Note – this came in the form of a question posed by an audience member at the Common Core Forum).
Reality: This also has nothing to do with Common Core since those social science standards have yet to be written. The statement was a belief about the current California Social Science Standards. Students do learn about the Five Pillars of Islam in 7th grade social science. Students also learn about the Constitution as they progress through school. There are no fewer than twenty standards covering the U.S. Constitution (5th through 12th grades), and those standards are easily accessed on the EGUSD website. I can’t remember anyone making such ridiculous accusations about the curriculum during the Bush years. Hmmm, I wonder. . . . .

There are legitimate concerns about Common Core, and a heavy dose of skepticism is necessary. But, when skepticism morphs into paranoia, stoked by hatred for our President, truth becomes a casualty. Hmmm, I wonder if that’s partly what’s happening within the anti-Common Core movement.

Post a Comment Default Comments

Follow Us



Elk Grove News Minute

All previous Elk Grove News Minutes, interviews, and Dan Schmitt's Ya' Gotta be Schmittin' Me podcasts are now available on iTunes

[image src="IMAGE LINK"/] google.com, pub-5438620617508054, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0