Across the country, opposition to the “Common Core” national education standards that are being pushed by the Obama administration has been surging in recent weeks. From Florida and Georgia to Louisiana and Wisconsin, politicians are no longer able to ignore the growing public outrage — especially because it transcends traditional political divides and has united a powerful coalition of libertarians, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats, Tea Party activists, progressives, liberals, parents, teachers, experts, and more. Various strategies to defeat the scheme are being tested, and some are already proving successful.
Activists and experts are still working to raise awareness of the scheme to nationalize education, which was put in place largely under the radar using federal bribes, coercion, and big money from the establishment. As more and more parents and public officials learn about Common Core, though, attention is now shifting toward strategies to defeat the scheme. One in particular — having local districts reject the federally backed standards in so-called “local control” states — is gaining traction following a report outlining the idea.
Of course, numerous avenues are being pursued in the battle. Activists from across the political spectrum, for example, are hard at work making their concerns heard at the local, state, and federal levels. Just this week, representatives from more than 35 Tea Party groups and parent organizations traveled to the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee to lobby against the radical scheme, which is already in place across the state.
The coalition of activists reportedly thanked Republican Gov. Rick Scott for ordering hearings on Common Core and pulling out of the national testing scheme — a key component of the system, according to experts who have spoken to The New American. However, more must be done to stop the program, concerned citizens told lawmakers and reporters. “What we want is to take out the Common Core 100 percent,” Miami-Dade teacher Thais Alvarez was quoted as saying in the Miami Herald.
In Wisconsin, another one of the 45 states that took federal bribes in exchange for adopting what experts say are poor-quality and untested national standards, activists are making progress, too. In keeping with a nationwide trend, the pressure in Wisconsin to stop Common Core is coming from all across the political spectrum. And this week, GOP Gov. Scott Walker made some key announcements that were widely celebrated by advocates of local control, proper education, liberty, and state sovereignty.
“I’d like the Legislature to hold those hearings,” said the popular Republican governor, alluding to a longtime demand made by activists in the state for public scrutiny and input about the standards. “And in the larger context I’d like us to be in the position where we can identify our own unique standards that I think in many ways will be higher and more aggressive than the ones they’re talking about.”
As the national battle over Common Core heats up, opponents are exploring another powerful tool that bypasses state and federal politicians, and many activists and experts believe it could prove effective at stopping the controversial scheme. In most states, at least, parents and activists can use the power of local school districts to reject the nationalization of schooling and maintain community control over government education in their jurisdiction, reported Advocates for Academic Freedom President Karen Schroeder.
According to Schroeder, your local school board probably has the legal authority under state law to reject the Common Core standards in its district. That is the case in Wisconsin, for example, where she lives. It has also been confirmed by state education officials in Ohio and North Carolina. However, lawmakers and state education departments have kept the powerful information “very close to the vest,” Schroeder opined. “That is deceit of the ugliest kind.”
While most states do maintain local control over education, authorities in Utah reportedly said school districts in that state are not allowed to opt out of the Obama-backed standards. Education Action Group Foundation staff are working to find out what the legal status is in other states. Officials in Wisconsin, though, specifically confirmed that local school boards could indeed choose whether or not to adopt the education scheme in a response to Schroeder quoted in her EAGNews.org report.
“In Wisconsin, each school board has the statutory authority to adopt the state standards or any other set of standards, inferior or superior. This is called local control,” said Common Core State Standards Team Director Emilie Amundsen at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. “When applied to schools, local control means that decisions about standards, curriculum and instruction are made at the local level. School districts must have standards. The type, quality and scope of those standards are left to local school boards to decide. This has always been the case in Wisconsin, and this has not changed as a result of Wisconsin adopting Common Core state standards.”
Indeed, some school districts have already rejected the scheme despite the state government having accepted it. The Douglas County, Colorado, district, for instance, unanimously approved a resolution this summer rejecting Common Core in favor of its own higher-quality standards. After reviewing Common Core, the county board of education said taxpayers, parents, teachers, and students deserve better — and that its own standards were already superior to the national scheme.
“Colorado is a local control state,” the board said in its resolution. “The Common Core Standards ... are not reasonable or appropriate in Douglas County because our District’s standards are more rigorous, more thorough, and more directly tailored to the unique needs of our students, as they prepare for positions of leadership in the 21st century workforce and global economy.” Experts say this is just the beginning of the resistance as advocates like Schroeder spread the word while urging concerned Americans to “pack school board meetings” to ensure a complete rejection of Common Core and all of its tentacles.
Another potential route for reining in the scheme is being promoted by a group known as United Opt Out. “We encourage parents, students and teachers to opt out of education reform by refusing to take and administer any high stakes test that labels the child, teacher, or school,” co-founder Dr. Tim Slekar, also the dean of the School of Education at Edgewood College, told The New American. “The results (data) from high stakes tests are invalid and therefore any use of this data in the learning process is an act of pedagogical malpractice — opting out is an act of civil disobedience in support of children, teachers and public schools.”
Of course, the U.S. Department of Education, which openly boasts of its collaboration with the dictator-dominated United Nations, has already taken steps to deal with the expected uprising. In May of 2012, the unconstitutional federal education bureaucracy began offering massive taxpayer-funded incentives to school districts that adopted the controversial scheme. Critics lambasted the move as a “full-scale assault on state sovereignty” and “power grab” aimed at making it more difficult for districts and states to resist. But resistance is building quickly, nonetheless.
Presumably to deal with the avenues that still remain for parents and the public to stop the takeover, key establishment players behind Common Core have openly advocated abolishing local school districts. Consider, for example, statements made by Louis Gerstner, Jr., a prominent member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Bilderberg summit attendee who serves as Chairman Emeritus of the group Achieve, Inc., which essentially designed Common Core. In a 2008 column on “education reform,” in addition to calling for “national standards for a core curriculum,” he proposed that America “abolish all local school districts.”
With Common Core already so deeply entrenched in the education system all across the United States before parents even found out about it, some pessimistic critics of the plan had all but given up hope that it could be uprooted. Recent developments, though, have offered hope that it is not too late to slam on the brakes. At all levels, despite huge sums being spent on PR gimmicks to promote Common Core by the establishment, resistance is accelerating.
“What happened that caused this suddenly powerful — and at least to me, unexpected — revolt?” asked Neal McCluskey, associate director of Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom and a leading analyst on the standards. “It is almost certainly that the Core is now reaching the district and school level, and parents and citizens are becoming fully aware of standards most of their states adopted lightning fast in 2010 to get federal Race to the Top money.”
“They’re becoming aware, and either don’t like what they see in the standards, or don’t like federal imposition,” he continued. “They may also be getting increasingly sick of being told that the federal government wasn’t a driving force behind Core adoption when it absolutely was, and being called ignorant or unhinged for pointing out reality.”
The most important step according to leaders among the opposition, at this point at least, is probably still educating the public about Common Core, as polls show most Americans do not yet know what is going on. FreedomProject Education just put out a DVD outlining some of the myriad controversies, and The New American magazine recently ran a major exposé on the standards and the accompanying Orwellian information gathering. However, as awareness and resistance continue to grow in tandem, getting involved in the political process to stop the radical takeover is crucial.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, education, and more. He can be reached at
Common Core: A Scheme to Rewrite Education