Friday, 02 May 2014

As Common Core Becomes Punchline, Critics Win Battles Nationwide

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Despite billions of dollars spent to prop up the Obama administration-pushed national education standards known as Common Core with deceptive propaganda, the scheme is quickly becoming a punchline and a toxic liability for politicians. Critics are scoring victories from sea to shining sea. Indeed, virtually every state government that accepted bribes from Washington, D.C., to impose the controversial plot is now battling a fast-growing grassroots army of parents and teachers that transcends traditional partisan divides and may ultimately crush the education establishment entirely.

Pro-Common Core deception funded by Big Business, Big Government, and special interests, meanwhile, is quickly crumbling in the face of facts and reality. Parents are in open revolt. Teachers and unions are defecting, too. This week, American Federation of Teachers boss Randi Weingarten even warned in an interview with the online Salon outlet that Common Core “may actually fail” due to the public backlash and an implementation that has been even more botched than the ObamaCare healthcare takeover.

Parents nationwide are now refusing to let their children participate, preferring instead to “opt out” of the federally funded Common Core national testing regime that underpins the entire nationalization bid. At least 15 state governments so far, under immense public pressure, have already taken a step back. And analysts say this is likely just the beginning of the fight, with the tsunami of opposition threatening to end the political careers of Common Core defenders across the nation.

Opponents of the so-called ObamaCore regime, as the standards are becoming known, are increasingly hopeful that real education and local control will be restored by the time the dust settles — even if it takes years. However, at this point, many concerned Americans are now even looking beyond simply driving a stake through the controversial takeover and dumbing-down of K-12 schooling.

Ironically, perhaps, activists, teachers, and parents from across the political spectrum say the outrage surrounding Common Core, which has focused public attention on government schools like never before, could even lead to a real, positive transformation of education. With experts widely acknowledging the fact that government education has been going downhill for decades, Americans may soon be faced with an unprecedented opportunity to fundamentally reform and improve schooling at the state and local level. 

The first step in that battle, though, is to stop Common Core, activists say. Recent trends from across the country suggest that is already underway. Even some of the most ardent defenders of the K-12 nationalization plot in elected office are being forced to back away. With Common Core now becoming the subject of brutal ridicule on the national stage — comedian Stephen Colbert, for instance, made a mockery of the standards on national television last month — standing with the Obama administration on the issue is quickly becoming politically toxic.    

Much of the recent national media attention surrounding the fight has been focused on Indiana, which became the first state to adopt and then officially withdraw from the nationalization of K-12 education earlier this year. As The New American reported, however, the Indiana showdown is far from finished after policymakers were exposed trying to dupe the public by keeping the vast majority of the scheme in place under a new name. Similar efforts have been tried in other states, too, but citizens are not falling for it. 

In the establishment stronghold state of New York, overwhelming public pressure has also forced a tepid retreat from Common Core. There, the board of the state teachers’ union voted unanimously against the standards, and even some educators are now unilaterally opting out of it. New York State Assemblyman Al Graf, a member of the Assembly Education Committee who has a degree in education, said Common Core is “state-sponsored child abuse.” The governor was eventually forced to sign the “Common Core Implementation Reform Act” in the face of the state-wide revolt, but critics of the standards have vowed to keep fighting until New Yorkers are protected from the scheme entirely. 

In other states, the battle is starting to heat up quickly as well. On May 1, for instance, the South Carolina Senate voted unanimously to replace Common Core with homegrown standards by next year. The state also withdrew from the national testing scheme last month, and the governor has been highly outspoken about the dangers of a federal takeover of education.

Already, a dozen states have backed out of the controversial federal testing regime, which is a critical component of Common Core needed to enforce compliance with the national standards and gather data on students for state and federal authorities. Without it, the nationalization of education may well fail entirely, experts say.  

Former Common Core proponent Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is also reportedly working to withdraw the state from the federally funded testing regime. In a sharp turnaround, he is also urging lawmakers to reject Common Core. Other Republican governors have tried to remain on the fence, denouncing the Obama administration’s efforts to impose the national scheme but quietly seeking to keep it in place. 

In California, parents rallied at the state capitol on April 30 to demand an end to Common Core. “California had higher standards before Common Core,” noted mother Sandra Smith with the group Democrats Against Common Core Standards. “The curriculum that I’ve seen is awful. The math standards are awful and the English curriculum really, in disguise, is just meant to shape the way your children think.”

Inside the capitol in Sacramento, lawmakers on the Assembly Education Committee were debating legislation to allow districts to opt out of the controversial scheme in front of a packed gallery. “Now we’re dumbing down the curriculum,” observed state Rep. Tim Donnelly, who sponsored the bill and is running for governor.

In Missouri, both houses of the legislature approved legislation to create and adopt new standards to replace Common Core. “The purpose is to develop Missouri standards for education that would be owned by Missouri, applied by Missouri in our schools,” said state Sen. Ed Emery, who played a role in the bill. However, like in Indiana, lawmakers and constituents remain concerned that Common Core proponents may seek to hijack the process and keep ObamaCore in place under a new name.    

As the retreat by policymakers in state capitols accelerates, Common Core is also quickly becoming a punchline across popular culture, which will only intensify the pressure to kill the scheme. The immensely popular conservative-leaning actor and commentator Chuck Norris, for instance, complained that “the feds” were using the scheme “to usurp power over public schools and influence young American minds.” Other top Hollywood actors — Matt Damon, for example — have also slammed the scheme. 

With teachers and even many Democrats lashing out, multiple prominent comedians typically associated with liberal views have started ridiculing the standards as well, further inflaming the public fury. “Folks, as much as I didn’t expect it, I may be coming around to the Common Core, because it turns out that Common Core testing prepares our students for what they will face as adults: pointless stress and confusion,” noted comedian Stephen Colbert, heir to David Letterman’s show and a media titan who is especially popular with younger audiences.   

Colbert also ridiculed a Common Core math homework assignment that wildly complicates what should have been a simple subtraction problem with a “number line” that has left even mathematicians scratching their heads. The nonsensical assignment, which went viral online after an electrical engineer and father publicized it, asks students to find the error and then “write a letter to Jack telling him what he did right, and what he should do to fix his mistake.” 

“That's a great question,” Colbert says sarcastically about the bizarre homework assignment. “[It] teaches two important work place skills: math, and passive aggressive note-writing. We all know it's going to come in handy when you have to leave post-it notes about proper yogurt etiquette in the break-room fridge.” The audience erupted with laughter as the comedian continued making a mockery of Common Core.

Self-declared pro-Obama comedian Louis C.K., meanwhile, shocked the political establishment when he very publicly denounced the standards. “My kids used to love math. Now it makes them cry. Thanks standardized testing and common core!" he said on Twitter. “Kids teachers parents (sic) are vocally suffering. Doesn’t that matter?” Many thousands promptly re-tweeted his comments, which made headlines nationwide, as activists celebrated.

Analysts said that with Common Core advocates losing even the cultural elite, the tables have turned dramatically, debunking hysterical damage-control efforts by Obama officials trying to paint opponents as a vocal minority. “You know that discomfort and even outright opposition has reached a critical mass when the core becomes a frequent punch line in the repertoire of late-night comedians,” Pioneer Institute Executive Director Jim Stergios told Politico.

Of course, proponents of nationalizing education are digging in their heels, with a coalition of Big Business and Big Government advocates shoveling cash into propaganda efforts aimed at building at least a semblance of public support for the takeover. Estimates suggest billionaire population-control zealot Bill Gates, whose own children attend a non-Common Core private school, has dumped over $2 billion into the effort.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, meanwhile, are still pouring millions into deceptive pro-Common Core marketing gimmicks and factually challenged ads on conservative-leaning media. The Obama administration also spent billions of taxpayer dollars to bribe state governments into imposing the scheme on schools, which some 45 initially accepted.

With the deception falling apart and what pro-Common Core fanatic Jeb Bush called an “avalanche” of opposition growing faster by the day, it remains to be seen how long backers of the nationalization plot can hold out. The longer they try, though, the more intense the backlash will grow, which analysts say could spark a historic movement to restore real education across America.

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

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Strategies to Defeat Common Core Education Gain Momentum

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

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