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Friday, 07 February 2014 18:30

New York Revolts Against Common Core

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The deeply controversial nationalized education scheme known as “Common Core,” pushed by the Obama administration and billionaire Bill Gates, is under major pressure in the establishment-stronghold state of New York. With parents, teachers, unions, and political leaders from across the political spectrum in open revolt, some analysts even say that the widely criticized school standards may be on the verge of being scrapped — a development that would represent a massive blow to the ongoing imposition of Common Core nationwide.

Now, after listening to an outraged public in a series of 11 forums held across New York, state lawmakers are getting ready to file a bill that would slam the brakes on the scheme. In a phone interview with The New American, New York State Assemblyman Al Graf, a member of the Assembly Education Committee, explained that the coalition of legislators had no choice but to take action to stop the “disaster” that Common Core has foisted on the state. “This is state-sponsored child abuse,” he said.  

The legislation, set to be introduced next week in both chambers, would impose a three-year moratorium on the standards. It would also create a committee with all relevant stakeholders, who would study the issue and then come up with recommendations: Either ditch Common Core entirely, or create new state standards that would conform to the national scheme pushed by Washington. “For now, it stops the abuse of our children,” explained the Republican lawmaker, a former police officer who has a degree in elementary education.

“We listened to teachers and parents and engaged in a conversation to find out what was going on with the implementation of Common Core,” Graf said about the 11 public hearings on Common Core held by lawmakers. “This has been a total mommy movement, where moms are seeing the effect on their children and standing up and saying ‘we’re not going to let you do this.’ ” Throughout the hearings, he said, parents and educators spoke out firmly against Common Core.

Among other problems with the controversial standards, Graf cited wildly inappropriate material, massive costs, the devastating impact on teachers and students, and more. “If you wanted to destroy public education, this is what you would do,” he said. “Teaching is a skill. Teaching is an art form. What they are doing here is turning teachers into hall monitors.”

Indeed, teachers and educators have now openly revolted against Common Core. In late January, the board of the New York state teachers union voted unanimously against the standards as they have been implemented so far, representing a devastating blow to the whole scheme. The powerful 600,000-member strong union also voted unanimously for the removal of New York Education Commissioner John King Jr., a fervent advocate of Common Core who critics say refuses to listen to an outraged public.

“We’ll have to be the first to say it’s failed,” New York State United Teachers President Richard Iannuzzi was quoted as saying about the implementation of Common Core. “We’ve been in conversations where we’re all saying our members don’t see this going down a path that improves teaching and learning. We’re struggling with how to deal with it.”  

Assemblyman Graf said that during testimony from parents and educators, it became clear that the imposition of Common Core had been a total failure — with terrible consequences for teachers, students, schools, and parents. The Common Core modules for New York, for example, are “filled with grammatical errors and haven’t even been edited,” Graf said. “It would be better to call this the un-Common Core, nothing is consistent.”

The material is often highly inappropriate, the lawmaker continued. “Explain to me why a first grader has to point out ancient Mesopotamia on a globe or explain their contributions to modern civilization — they’re six,” Graf said, citing a broad range of examples illustrating that the controversial standards appear to have been poorly thought out — at the very least. “But you know there are a lot of people making money on all this.”  

The report issued after the forums was also sharply critical. “The rollout of Common Core has been a failure,” the document states bluntly. “Members of the Assembly Minority Conference, after hearing the passionate testimony of parents, students, teachers, and administrators from across the state, find that we must put the brakes on the modules and testing, and overhaul Common Core using teacher and expert input, or remove the standards altogether.”

Graf, who represents a Long Island district, also told The New American that Common Core fails to take into account children with disabilities. One special-education teacher who spoke out during the forums held across New York, for example, told lawmakers about the disasters she has experienced under the new education scheme. The kids were being tested on material they never learned and, sitting still for 90 minutes to take the new tests, were deeply confused. One distraught child was even caught stabbing himself with a pencil under the desk during the test.

“She was breaking into tears testifying about this,” Graf said about the special-education teacher who shared the story. “I have parents pouring their hearts out telling me how their kids are coming home and don’t want to go to school anymore. I have kids that loved math and now hate math.” Some teachers who testified, knowing that they could be putting their careers in jeopardy, told lawmakers that they just “couldn’t sit there and let them do this to these children.”

Graf and other lawmakers said that the new status quo could no longer be allowed to continue — hence the legislative efforts to stop Common Core. “I’m not going to sit down and go quietly into the night,” the assemblyman said. “If there is one thing that I can do in my political career — if there’s one accomplishment I can make — it’s going to be to protect these kids.”     

The new bill to halt Common Core co-sponsored by Graf will be filed next week in the New York Senate by state Sen. Lee Zeldin, another champion of education. “It is a major issue in my Senate District,” he said in a statement. “Securing a delay remains my top education priority.” In the Assembly, Ranking Minority Education Committee Member Assemblyman Ed Ra will be the chief sponsor.

“We’ve been working night and day on this bill,” Graf said, noting that the testimony of outraged parents and teachers was at the heart of the effort. “It’s been six months in the making.” While there are strong vested interests seeking to keep Common Core in place — all of the companies and individuals hoping to profit from it, as well as state officials receiving massive federal handouts for compliance — Graf is confident that the public outcry has been heard loud and clear. 

Five months ago, Graf and other lawmakers introduced a bill to completely repeal Common Core and stop the federal “Race to the Stop” bribes used to prod state governments into adopting the controversial standards. “This gave people something to rally behind,” Graf said, noting that the uproar has only grown since then. “We started a giant conversation. People all over the state started calling their legislators.”

At this point, even Democrats, under heavy pressure from their constituencies, have started speaking out about Common Core. Top leaders from both chambers, while not yet calling for scrapping the standards entirely, are already seeking delays in Common Core-aligned testing and are calling on state education officials to “alleviate the concerns of parents, teachers and other educators.” Citing major privacy fears, top Democrats are also seeking to delay the massive student data collection demanded by Washington.  

“I don’t think they have a choice” but to support delaying and possibly ending Common Core, Graf said, referring to Democrats in the legislature facing a tsunami of public outrage. “They’re trying to appease people, but it’s not going to work,” he said. “It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. I’m going to rip the Band-Aid off and stick my finger in the hole until they start paying attention.”

The national Common Core standards, developed and promoted with funding from U.S. taxpayers and special interests, have been among the key elements in Obama’s broader education agenda. Even experts on the Common Core Validation Committee refused to sign off on them. Still, the scheme was quietly foisted on 45 state governments using a combination of what lawmakers and critics call federal “bribes” and mandates. 

However, with the widely criticized standards coming under attack from across the political spectrum and the nation, advocates for high-quality education and local control still believe the scheme can be stopped. Numerous states and school districts have slammed the brakes on Common Core already. With New York on the verge of potentially backing out, the whole plot to nationalize education using dubious standards could come crashing down sooner than even optimistic critics imagine.

 

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, education, and more. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Related articles:

Common Core: A Scheme to Rewrite Education    

Orwellian Nightmare: Data-mining Your Kids

Under Pressure, Largest N.H. School District Looks Beyond Common Core

Common Core National Education Outrages Teacher Coalition

At Wisconsin Hearing, Educators Blast Common Core Education

Educators Expose Dangers of Common Core National Education

Lawmakers and Activists Rally to Stop Obama-backed “Common Core”

GOP Blasts Obama-backed National Education Standards

Parent Dares Challenge Common Core, Hauled Away in Handcuffs

Debunking Myth of Common Core Education as “State Led”

Common Core: People vs. Big Government, Big Business, and Billionaires

Top Catholic Scholars Slam Common Core

7 comments

  • Comment Link Nora Sunday, 09 February 2014 12:29 posted by Nora

    I am proud to say the my state rejected Common Core. That's a good start to reversing decades of terrible education foisted on the American child by our federal and state governments, but we need to get the tenets of liberty and the true history of our country's beginning back into the curriculum.

    What happens after our child steps onto the bus is a serious matter, because they are out of our influence and under the mind control, force and authority of people who are dictated to about what and how to teach the fertile minds held captive in their classrooms, by people who do not have their best interests in mind when they teach socialistic values.

    Home school your kids, and enroll them in Patriot School!

  • Comment Link John Doran Saturday, 08 February 2014 02:35 posted by John Doran

    A good place to investigate Common Purpose is at ukcolumn.org which is an Agenda 21 savvy newssite run by an ex Royal Navy officer, Brian Gerrish.

    Go also to youtube & type in Brian Gerrish The Secret Political Agenda 2 hrs 29 mins, I'm afraid, but an eye opener.

  • Comment Link John Doran Saturday, 08 February 2014 02:26 posted by John Doran

    Here in the UK we have a group called Common Purpose which is a "political charity" NGO, but heavily funded by govt money.

    Its stated purpose is to find & train "Leaders for the Future"

    It is infecting, at every level, politicians, civil servants, local authority personnel, police, lawyers, members of the judiciary, our social services etc etc, with the communist principles of top down control. It is deeply undemocratic.

    The training courses it runs are, I believe, using NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) techniques, which I also think are being used on the second rate politicians who are attending Bilderberg meetings.

    Our UK education system has been so dumbed down that every year more & more kids get 8 or 10 A star passes a A level GCSEs, & every year the UK slides further down world education league tables.

    I don't believe these kids would be able to come anywhere near the far more rigorous A level exams I sat as a 16 & 17 year old, at a strict, old fashioned & highly effective Grammar school back in 1969 & 70. The school, St Joseph's Academy, in Blackheath, London was destroyed by turning it comprehensive, destroying discipline & educational standards & finally closing it down.

    We are allowing our traitorous politicians & educators to destroy our kids for sake of a New World Order which will require dumbed down dolts, not people able to think for themselves.

  • Comment Link Joyce Friday, 07 February 2014 23:30 posted by Joyce

    Every year these children have the CC crap in the classrooms, their little brains are being constantly brainwashed into being nice little slaves for the one world
    global government, aka the new world order, their little brains being dumbed down for lack of real education they will need to be a productive member of society. Their morals being destroyed by the trashy pornography called sex education that reads more like the grooming of the innocent child by the pedophile.

    If the racism in CC is as bad as I have seen so far under the one world global government, aka the new world order, which is pushing the CC, the object seems to be keeping strife loud and strong instead of encouraging "one nation, indivisible, under God, with liberty and justice, for all".

    God Bless America and give us Americans the wisdom to differentiate between a true patriot and leader and an enemy of freedom, justice and liberty!

  • Comment Link Old Mullet Friday, 07 February 2014 22:51 posted by Old Mullet

    Remember the "new math" of the seventies? It was a small part of the plan that far back (another "Agenda 21" scenario). Bill Gates stands to make billions on the required "tablets" that will be standardized material. It is not only interactive but filled with sensors that collects data (mining) from tests, essays, and even games each student will be required to take. Personal information about themselves, families, and friends will become part of a cross-file system. The "education" itself is designed to direct each student toward the life government has laid out for them. It is there. Hiding or looking the other way won't make the future better.

  • Comment Link Diana Friday, 07 February 2014 18:35 posted by Diana

    Good for you, Northeast Patriot. My sister is thinking of getting out of teaching altogether due to the same thing. What patriotic American would deliberately teach our kids to be Socialists?

  • Comment Link Northeast Patriot Friday, 07 February 2014 18:05 posted by Northeast Patriot

    I retired in June due entirely to the ridiculousness of the Common Core Standards. After having endured tons of changes over a 45-year span of teaching, I had never witnessed anything more stressful for teachers, administrators, and students alike, or more inane than the requirements (as well as the new tests and materials) brought about by this unconstitutional and heavy-handed federal takeover of our once locally-controlled schools.

    In spite of what administrators, teachers, and parents have been told regarding Common Core's "upping of standards," and the goal to prevent children nationwide from "falling through the cracks" (which both appear innocent enough on the surface), the real truth behind CC is so much more sinister and underhanded. All one has to do is view Karen Bracken's You-Tube video, "Common Core: Subversive Threat to Education," or any of Dr. Duke Pesta's CC-related presentations. Although Ms. Bracken's talk is 60 minutes, any teacher who completes it will have an education they certainly never received during their teacher training years regarding who has REALLY been setting up educational standards -- and WHY!

    The additional testing, which appears to be the greatest concern for many, actually concerned me the least. What parents and teachers should be more concerned with are the age-inappropriate leveling of materials, the loss of local control and teacher input, teachers not having time to teach the basics and meet individual student needs, less emphasis on learning how to compute quickly and correctly in math, the elimination of cursive writing (which will prevent students from reading the original writings of our Founding Fathers and other early historical documents), the tremendous data-mining that accompanies CC, the actual lowering of curriculum standards as compared to those already in place in many states, teacher effectiveness being determined by poorly designed state and national tests, and perhaps most importantly -- the seeds of socialism being planted in many of the new CC-aligned ELA materials. (Can you just imagine the brainwashing that will occur through the upcoming Social Studies, Science, and Sex-Ed Standards?)

    Unfortunately, since many citizens have not recently refreshed their understanding of basic Constitutional principles, are unable to explain the difference between a republic and a democracy, or explain how a free-market operates vs. the market under socialism, these "seeds of socialism" -- which I have personally already seen intertwined through individual "child readers," new CC-aligned ELA Reading Series, as well as recently published English grammar worksheets -- won't even be noticed by the average parent or teacher. Even if CC were to be stopped tomorrow, due to financial considerations these new CC-aligned materials will remain in classrooms nationwide for many years. Just keep in mind that the one-size-fits-all globablist Pearson Publishing Company now owns approximately 80% of all American (and 100% of all Canadian) texbook companies -- which continue, however, to publish under their original names.

    Anyone still reading this admittedly long comment needs to now contact both their state AND federal representatives and tell them NO to Common Core. It doesn't need to be "fixed." It needs to be totally eliminated! And don't miss the links for Dr. Duke Pesta and Karen Bracken if you really want to understand this issue.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X0EFeH25bw
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-017sqXjJI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7WfxJS6iJQ
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QJ3I_xF4MY

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