Tuesday, 05 November 2013

Debunking Myth of Common Core Education as “State Led” (Video)

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Facing a growing tsunami of opposition across the country, proponents of nationalizing K-12 schooling through the Obama administration-pushed Common Core education standards regularly claim that the educational “reform” scheme is “state-led.” After all, they are called “Common Core State Standards” (CCSS), and the federal government is prohibited by the Constitution and U.S. law from meddling in what students learn.

The reality, however, is that the deeply controversial standards were almost entirely the product of billionaires, the establishment, Obama administration machinations, and an assortment of front groups and trade associations funded by Bill Gates and the federal government. Some 45 states have quietly adopted Common Core — largely owing to taxpayer-funded bribes and waivers from other federal mandates handed out by the Obama administration.

Veteran educator Mary Black confronts the “state-led” Common Core myth head on.

In her latest short video about the national standards, part of an ongoing series produced by The New American, Black explains that state governments and citizens had virtually nothing to do with the development or rollout of the controversial scheme. Indeed, the claim that Common Core is a “state-led” effort is so easy to debunk, it is hard to believe that the well-funded backers of the standards continue pushing the notion — it represents nothing less than trying to play the American people for fools.

Still, as noted by Black, who has 40 years of teaching experience and now serves as the student development director for the online classical K-12 school FreedomProject Education, the “commonly held myth” that states were behind Common Core is often one of the very first claims made by its supporters. However: “Common Core is not state led,” she pointed out, before breaking down the facts about the forces that were really behind the standards.

“Its origins trace back to the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve, Incorporated,” Black explains in the video. “The NGA and the CCSSO are trade organizations based in Washington, D.C. — they are not in the states. Even though you would presume from the name that the governors are deeply involved, that the chief state school officers are involved, they are really not; these are trade-based organizations.” On top of that, both of the outfits actually receive taxpayer funding from the federal government.

Those two non-governmental groups, meanwhile, have received well over $100 million combined over the last decade from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation — also infamous for funding of Planned Parenthood, population control, technology to monitor students, United Nations-related causes, and more. According to records from the foundation, it has spent upwards of $150 million on developing and promoting Common Core, including massive grants to supposedly “conservative” organizations and labor unions. Even the Huffington Post, though, had to point out the obvious: “CCSS is not ‘state led.’ It is ‘Gates led.’”

Then there is Achieve, Inc., an education-related outfit responsible for creating the standards, founded by prominent members of the global government-promoting Council on Foreign Relations. In 2008, before Common Core was officially born, Achieve Chairman Emeritus Louis Gerstner, Jr. — also a Bilderberg summit attendee — summarized the overarching agenda in a column for the Wall Street Journal: “abolish all local school districts” and “establish a set of national standards for a core curriculum.” Of course, neither Achieve nor Gerstner represent “states,” and Achieve has received over $30 million in Gates money.

“Achieve, Inc. is a foundation — a front for these two trade organizations to kind of deflect the Washington-based away from them,” Black continued in the video, demolishing the easily debunked myth that the outfits responsible for the standards could credibly be said to represent state governments or citizens. “These groups wrote 'benchmarking for success.' The last part of 'benchmarking for success' called for a set of national standards.”

Next, Black covers some of the key federal players behind Common Core, including, of course, Obama administration Education Secretary Arne Duncan, whose U.S. Department of Education has been crucial to bribing and bullying state officials into accepting the standards. “At the press conference when it was released, Duncan threw his absolute, full-hearted support behind a set of national standards,” Black noted. Duncan has even been bragging to the UN and other organizations about his “reform” schemes.

In all, American taxpayers were forced to pay for tens of billions in “grants” aimed at coercing their state officials into accepting Common Core and related schemes. Much of the bribe money came through the so-called “stimulus” bill, creating a built-in incentive for state education officials and government-school employees to support the standards — especially because the unconstitutional bribes were marketed as a way to ensure that they could keep their jobs amid the economic crisis and supposedly declining budgets.

Perhaps even more incredible, despite “state-led” claims, most state officials had not even seen the final “Common Core” product before agreeing to impose it on the students of their states. “These national standards were created by the very groups that called for them,” Black pointed out, citing the NGA, the CCSSO, and Achieve. Of course, the federal government — beyond bribing states into accepting the scheme — has also played a key role in funding the national testing regime that goes along with Common Core.

“What needs to be understood when we discuss these is that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to supervise or direct — have anything to do with — the curriculum of any school,” Black continued. “Because of the high-stakes testing associated with Common Core — testing that I should say is being done by two federal consortiums, PARCC and SBAC, Smarter Balance — the curriculum is going to align itself with the standards, and teach to the standards, because of the accountability that is held by the teachers for teaching these and the students succeeding.”

So, while the federal government and various non-governmental outfits are deeply involved in the standards, state and local authorities have virtually no role outside of imposing them on an outraged public. “What’s missing in this picture is any local input from the school boards, from the parents, from the teachers, from the superintendents,” continued Black, who has been giving seminars and working to expose Common Core for months.

Most states, Black explained, have constitutions delegating the authority over curricula and standards to school districts and local school boards, with some providing for state authorities to make those decisions. Under Common Core, however, the standards are copyrighted, with the unaccountable trade groups holding total control over what is contained in them — and able to change them at any time. Neither state nor local officials — let alone parents — have any say in the matter.

“The federal government has further ties to it,” Black continued. “The testing is controlled by them. There’s going to be a pipeline from the state to the consortium to the federal government. We need to realize — and you may have to do a little digging — the fingerprints of the federal government, its support, and the support of such people as Bill Gates, who to date has funded his intentions to have national standards to the tune of over $150 million.”

In her previous video segment in the ongoing TNA series on Common Core, Black also addressed bogus claims that the surveillance and data-mining regime for students currently being erected across America was not linked to the standards. While many of the components are technically separate from the controversial standards — though certainly not all, especially student data vacuumed up via the national testing scheme that is an essential element of Common Core — the gathering of private information is intimately tied to Common Core in a variety of ways.

In essence, then, the two key claims advanced by Common Core proponents to downplay growing public concerns are easily shown to be false. The standards are not state led — not even close — and the data-mining is a crucial component of the broader “reform” agenda. Instead, this is a cooperative effort between Big Government, Big Business, the establishment, and some free-spending billionaires determined to control American education and gather gargantuan amounts of personal data on students.

The New American magazine has produced comprehensive reports on the standards and the data-mining, and TNA online is keeping up with the latest developments. Separately, Black and FreedomProject Education created an in-depth presentation about Common Core that is available through FPE or free online. In the end, education on the facts will be the key to exposing the lies and stopping the nationalization of schooling.

Watch Black’s latest TNA video addressing the “state-led” myth below: