As outrage grows surrounding the nationalization of American education through “Common Core,” a scheme to harmonize school standards led by the establishment and the Obama administration, lawmakers in Wisconsin have finally begun holding long-awaited hearings on the deeply controversial effort. In an in-studio video produced by The New American, educational expert Mary Black (left), who testified at the state Capitol about the myriad dangers of Common Core, explained what happened at the hearing.
A longtime opponent of Common Core, Black is a veteran educator with more than 40 years of experience who now serves as student development director for FreedomProject Education, an online K-12 school offering a classical education based on Judeo-Christian values. In the video, recorded the day after the October 3 Common Core hearing in Wisconsin, The New American’s Dr. Duke Pesta (right), an English professor at the University of Wisconsin who will testify at an upcoming hearing, outlined some of his concerns as well.
During Black’s testimony before state legislators, she highlighted a number of serious concerns with Common Core. First up, she said in the interview about the hearings, was the fact that the drastic, federally backed overhaul of the education system had not even been properly discussed or reviewed by the public prior to approval and implementation in Wisconsin. The same phenomenon occurred in all of the 45 other states that have signed on, drawing outrage once citizens found out.
As part of the hearing, Black added in the video for TNA, she also addressed the quality of Common Core education, which she has warned is designed to teach students “what to think” rather than “how to think.” There are also multiple concerns about the appropriateness of the content — and especially the “sex education” components of the nationalization scheme, large swaths of which were developed by abortion giant Planned Parenthood.
Other concerns Black highlighted during testimony surround extraordinarily controversial documents from the federal Department of Education. At least one such report, entitled Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century, actually shows pictures of various devices already in use in certain federally funded programs that monitor students in unprecedented ways, including their bio-physiological reactions.
Black and Pesta said that the state hearing on October 3 featured testimony from about an equal number of Common Core supporters and opponents. Government-school officials and teachers who testified largely backed the nationalization of education, which will remove local and state control over schooling in exchange for U.S. taxpayer-funded bribes. Education authorities even paraded some students into the hearing to speak on behalf of the controversial standards, which critics blasted as manipulation of children who do not understand the repercussions.
Some public educators, however, spoke out against the scheme, too. “What is not to be missed from the testimony yesterday is the fact that some courageous teachers, with their jobs in jeopardy, took time and were courageously voicing their opinion in front of the committee,” Black said, pointing to one teacher who offered a passionate plea near the end of the hearing despite well-founded fears about how her pro-Common Core bosses might react.
Meanwhile, in public and private comments, Black said, Wisconsin education boss Tony Evers made “very clear” his belief that “he alone was qualified to make a decision about whether we should or should not implement Common Core, and the rest of us should just be quiet and accept his way.” That attitude was reflected in how some members of the committee treated different witnesses, Black added.
“At one point, some of the committee members did actually get very rude and had to be reprimanded by the chairman,” Black said, noting that despite the rudeness, most of the lawmakers seemed genuinely interested in the truth. “It is very evident that the majority of the committee truly wants to know what Common Core is really doing to the schoolroom — they want facts, they don’t want exaggerations.”
Dr. Pesta, who will testify at an upcoming hearing in the state, also spoke out in the brief TNA video. “One of the more frustrating things about Common Core is how many things it is going to usher in and how many things it paves the way for in terms of government intrusion, in terms of politicized curriculum,” he explained. “Pro-Common Core advocates keep saying it won’t happen, but that just is a leap that defies logic given what we see in the federal government lately.”
In light of the massive changes under Common Core, Dr. Pesta added, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) was required by law to hold hearings prior to September 1. That never happened. “The only reason we got these hearings is because moms and dads and concerned citizens all across the state of Wisconsin called in and made a fuss,” he said.
The educators concluded by urging Americans — teachers, parents, and others — to come to the upcoming hearings, and if they can, make their concerns heard. Other states, including Florida, are also set to hold hearings on the scheme. “If we’re going to beat Common Core it’s going to have to be a grassroots exercise,” Dr. Pesta noted. “Don’t count on educational administrators. Don’t count on your school boards. We have got to count on us, and keep moving forward.”
Video of Black’s recent testimony is available online here. Separately, Black and Pesta recently produced a hard-hitting presentation outlining many of the concerns about Common Core in much greater detail. It is available as a DVD through FreedomProject Education or for free online. The New American magazine also published in-depth reports examining Common Core and the accompanying data mining of children. TNA online is keeping up with the latest developments on the issue, too.
Watch the latest TNA video about Black’s testimony and the Wisconsin hearings below: