In a half-baked effort to placate an outraged citizenry, Missouri officials claimed to be “replacing” Common Core with supposedly “new” standards allegedly developed with local input. In the real world, however, the dumbed-down, Obama-backed national “education” standards were preserved largely intact, just under a new name, following a process that participants denounced as a “farce.” The federally decreed testing regime and data-gathering schemes will continue, too. Critics and those involved in the process were outraged by the “un-American” scheming. They vowed to keep fighting, saying it was time to “clip the wings” of the state education bureaucracy.
Of course, as this magazine has documented extensively, the people of Missouri are hardly the first in America to be victimized by such a brazen fraud. The same deceitful process used to keep Common Core in Missouri has been used in an effort to dupe parents and taxpayers in multiple other states where outrage over the controversial nationalization scheme boiled over. Indiana was perhaps the first, but essentially, every state that allegedly “repealed and replaced” Common Core has fallen victim to the scam. Even in states where Common Core was never formally approved, the standards are creeping in. But the deception, lies, and manipulation have not passed unnoticed.
In Missouri, one mother and activist leader who was appointed by lawmakers to serve on a working group for the “new” standards called the process a fraud, a farce, a hoax, and an outrage. “It was beautiful to see the people of Missouri rise up and scare lawmakers into action on this,” said Stacy Shore, one of the moms and leaders behind Missouri Moms Against Common Core, referring to the 2014 legislation demanding new standards to replace Common Core. “But then to see how the Goliath of the state education department put on a show and did everything possible to stop the will of the people and keep Common Core, it's disgusting, it's a farce.”
In a phone interview with The New American, Shore, who worked on the English Language Arts standards for grades 6 through 12, described her outrage and the sham process used to keep Common Core. “I can tell you from the very start, the process was completely corrupted by the state department of education,” she explained. “This was an absolute fraud. They just re-named Common Core. It's not gone, it's here more than ever, and they think it's here to stay. All these politicians who act like we got rid of it, and they voted against it, no, they didn't. The state board of ed just re-adopted common core. It was all a hoax.”
The entire thing was a “farce from the very beginning,” continued Shore, a concerned mother who expressed frustration over the amount of time and energy she dedicated to what proved to be such a fraud. “And I know I speak for almost every single mom on this — it's unbelievable how much time and energy we put, and for nothing,” she said. “The bureaucrats have taken over, and nobody holds them accountable. They just thumb their nose and do what they want, and nothing ever changes. It's a huge disappointment. It's a lie. It was a giant farce.”
Shore has been involved from the start, even before she worked with hundreds of other mothers to pressure the legislature into overwhelmingly passing a law getting rid of Common Core. The process she participated in, though, was shocking, she said. For example, Shore's working group tried to bring in Dr. Sandra Stotsky, a leading national expert on English standards who, as the only subject-matter expert on the Common Core Validation Committee, refused to sign off on the standards. Among other concerns, the leading standards expert said Common Core would reduce the critical thinking skills of children and strip much of the great literature from education.
“They wouldn't even let her speak, we have it on video,” Shore explained, adding that Stotsky had referred to the allegedly “new” standards as “warmed-over Common Core.” “One of the most renowned experts on this in the country, and they wouldn't even let her speak. She came to Missouri to try to be a voice and help weigh in with her expertise, and they wouldn't even let her speak.... She was treated like a dog. It was awful, and it was embarrassing.” Eventually Stotsky was given a few minutes, but it seems somebody did not want a real expert weighing in and pointing out what was going on for the record.
Despite the law mandating public participation, Shore said, “we had no voice in this process.” “It was all a dog and pony show,” she added. “It was set up from the get-go, a process to work against the will of the people of Missouri.” Indeed, even after the working group submitted its product, the state education bureaucracy brought in another work group not composed of parents that simply changed what the original group had produced before presenting it to the state board of education for final approval. It will go into effect in the next school year.
The process was “weird,” too, Shore said. “There were cameras on us at all times. [The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education] DESE was watching the entire time via camera. It was creepy,” she said. “If the camera went down, the meeting stopped. They were watching us from another room. It was the creepiest, weirdest thing — suddenly you understand why education is broken, no wonder education is broken, when the state department of ed has gotten away with treating superintendents, principals, parents, and teachers like this.”
When the parents and concerned citizens found out what had happened, they submitted a sunshine request for e-mails from the education department about her working group, Shore said. They received a response from the bureaucracy's general counsel saying there were some 6,000 e-mails relating to the working group. “And by law, DESE was not supposed to be part of the process,” Shore said. Adding insult to injury, the education bureaucracy then demanded $5,000 from the parents to be able to access those documents, forcing them to reach out to lawmakers for assistance.
“I'm just a parent, and a businesswoman, and I'm married to a teacher,” Shore concluded. “What I saw happening is un-American. What was happening to my children in the schools, and the way I was treated as a parent, are un-American. There are men and women fighting wars overseas, who have paid the ultimate price to protect our country, so I'm one of those moms that took it upon myself to do something. I didn't know what the Goliath was prepared to do to stop us.”
The original goal, Shore said, was to give back “freedom to local districts,” get rid of the copyrighted national standards, and restore proper education across Missouri. “Unfortunately, that did not happen,” she explained. Real solutions are needed. “Until we completely clip the wings of the state department of education, this will continue,” Shore concluded.
The supposedly new standards were approved by the state Board of Education last week following almost two years of work by various working groups and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. According to media reports, thousands of people gave comments on the final product, which, in many ways, was largely Common Core under a new name, with a few minor improvements.
In a presentation dealing with the alleged changes to the English standards, for example, state education authorities offered just a few examples of updates: “more emphasis on research” and “language expectations in writing,” whatever those mean. The addition of cursive writing, which education experts say is important, was also touted, though Missouri school officials said that cursive had never gone away anyway.
The “new” math standards also appear to have undergone a few cosmetic non-changes, mostly involving “re-organization” of some sections, and apparently the “coding system that organizes expectations” was modified. A more advanced track to enable students to do serious math if they wanted was also created as an option, though what happened to that remains unclear. In “science,” the bogus “new” standards are essentially the same as the radical “Next Generation Science Standards,” which critics call indoctrination that strongly emphasizes the evolution theory and the man-made global-warming theory throughout, at the expense of real science, critical thinking, and the scientific method.
However, anti-Common Core education activists in the state were pleased with at least one development — the state now has a role and process in place for standards that potentially allows changes to be made as needed at the state level. Anne Gassel, with the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core, served on a math work group. While she acknowledged that the supposedly “new” standards were broadly similar to Common Core in math and English, and to the national Common Core-linked “science” standards in science, she said the fact that there was now a state process in place was a relief.
But she did not sound pleased with developments, either. “Our state department of education changed what we produced and made it look more like Common Core, and then got approval from the state board,” she said in a phone interview. “They ignored the statute and did what they wanted.” The DESE bureaucracy did something “even more egregious,” too, she said. They put the standards out, received comments, and then changed the standards in an opaque process, without even keeping the original working groups in the loop. None of that was authorized by the statute.
“Part of this is that they want to populate all the longitudinal databases with student information. And so they wanted the standards to all look the same,” Gassel explained, touching on a subject that has outraged parents and educators across America. The tests, meanwhile, most likely have questions from the national testing regimes backed by the Obama administration, despite a court ruling finding Missouri's participation in the national testing consortium unconstitutional. “The [national] tests were removed in name only,” Gassel said, adding that part of the reason the standards were kept so similar was so the tests could remain aligned.
She also blasted federal involvement in education. “There is tremendous pressure to stay within the system,” she said. “They are building a system, and they want to force us in, and once we're in, we won't be able to get out easily. This will make it very difficult to ever re-gain local control again.” And while there are some improvements in the revised standards, the primary positive development was the fact that they can be “tweaked” at the state level going forward, regardless of what Common Core's copyright owners do.
The original legislation touted as scrapping Common Core, HB 1490, was passed in 2014 by overwhelming margins. It was widely celebrated as a step forward in restoring local control, largely because it mandated that local school boards be “responsible for the approval and adoption of curriculum used by the school district.” However, the law also called for new standards and an associated testing regime for the entire state. Crucial to the agenda is the worse-than-meaningless term “college and career ready,” which besides being an oxymoron — college and career require vastly different preparation — is a term used by the federal government to keep everyone within the same straitjacket.
And therein lies the poison pill — regardless of whether local districts and states are “allowed” to choose their own curriculum, if the state dictates Common Core or Common Core-style standards and associated national tests in exchange for federal bribe money, the curriculum will inevitably have to match. As chief Common Core financier and population-control zealot Bill Gates put it in a speech to the National Conference of State Legislatures in 2009: “When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well.” The people of Missouri are learning that now.
For the sake of American children and the future of the nation, it is past time to step completely out of the dumbed-down “education” system being imposed from Washington, D.C., and instead pursue real educational reform. That begins with seeing through the massive educational fraud currently being perpetrated against an unwitting public in Missouri and beyond.