The “rigorous” standards of the Common Core program intend to sharpen American children so that they can be ready “for college and career readiness in a twenty-first-century, globally competitive society.” Of course, the preparers of these “standards” fail to acknowledge that America has been a “globally competitive society” since its inception. Are we to assume that great Americans who preceded us were incapable of contributing to such a society? If the engineers of the Common Core are right then we should wipe out Benjamin Franklin, Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Ernest Hemingway, and the Wright brothers amongst others from the pages of American history. These individuals were only a few of the self-educated Americans who greatly influenced our culture and society. Indeed, their contributions were so tremendous that we still benefit from them today. Hardly any of them relied on the government’s policies to make them intelligent. Hard work, perseverance, and the freedom to pursue their dreams were what made them brilliant. Should we expect any less for America’s children today? Apparently, the government seems to think so. As such, it has taken the initiative to dictate how young Americans must learn.
Although the preparers of this helpful program assert that states have the right to accept or reject the standards, it is obvious that rejecting the program would leave states at a financial disadvantage. According to The Foundry, part of the Heritage Foundation, the Obama Administration pushed the Race to the Top (RTTT) plan that allows for, “a $4.35 billion initiative to award states for pursuing education reforms consistent with the Department of Education’s definition of reform.” With many states struggling economically under the policies of the current administration, how many would seriously consider rejecting a proposal that allows them some reprieve?
Consider for example, the state of Indiana. According to the Sunshine Review, in 2011, 34.53% of the state’s budget came “from the federal government” and “the budget increase[d] funding in key areas such as K-12 education….” Where does the Common Core apply? Correct. Common Core Standards establish a “…single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade….” Furthermore, Indiana “spends more than half of its budget on education.” Quite simply, if Indiana spends more than half of its budget on education and receives 34.53% of its budget from the federal government, it is plausible that Indiana would want to support the Common Core agenda to receive funding necessary for its economy. Indeed, according to the U.S. Department of Education, Indiana became one of the winners of the 2012 RTTT program. To be sure, Indiana (and other states) may accept or reject the Common Core as indicated by the Common Core agenda, almost as much as someone rejecting a blood transfusion.
Other organizations within Indiana have also shown support for Common Core. Indiana’s Chamber of Commerce for example is one such group that is excited about joining the league of supporters of the Common Core program. When questioned about their stance, the Chamber offered their blog that states, “support by the Obama administration has caused some critics to suggest, incorrectly, that the standards have actually been developed by the federal government and/or have been “mandated” by the federal government.” Furthermore, the Chamber notes that, “in Indiana, those concerns have emerged most prominently from a small fringe element of the Tea Party that have demanded Indiana withdraw from the Common Core.” Although the Chamber graciously “acknowledged” that “some of the critics – at least those focused on contents of the standards” may have reasonable doubts, it notes that other individuals are simply susceptible to “hysterical exaggerations of federal intrusion.” In other words, those Hoosier parents, family members, teachers, and other members of the community who are against the Common Core agenda are associated with the out of control Tea Party movement. Now where in the world have we heard that before?
Yet, we should be mindful that the Chamber is maintaining its neutrality and it expects “the Legislature to leave such determinations in the hands of our state’s education leaders, including the Department of Education, the Education Roundtable and the State Board of Education, rather than subjecting our standards to the politicized environment of the Legislature.” Indeed, the Chamber’s neutrality is evident when it states that, “opposition is supported by a handful of national researchers from mostly far-right think tanks that have claimed that the standards are poorly designed, lacking in rigor and too expensive to implement. Other researchers and think tanks – along with education officials from Indiana – have rebuked these criticisms; yet, the debate continues.” Of course, there is nothing political about the Chamber’s position, why they are simply looking to advance better opportunities for Hoosier children.
The Common Core does have an agenda. Far from promoting the best interests of American children, the Common Core aims to give the federal government another opportunity to nationalize a part of American society. It should be the priority and prerogative of every parent, nay every American, to question the motivations of individuals and organizations responsible for increasing government power over our lives. Patrick Henry once said that we must all “guard with jealous attention the public liberty” and “suspect everyone who approaches that jewel.” Although proponents of Common Core claim it is a state sponsored program meant to improve the quality of education for young Americans, it is indeed a most troublesome agenda that will further destroy our liberties. As such, it becomes the duty of every American to protect our liberties, those of our children, and inevitably the Republic even if our critics label us “hysterical.” Unless we are willing to forgo the Twains, Hemingways, and Edisons of the future, we must always stand guard against the motivations of a tyrannical government be it on a state or federal level.