Obama Pushing Federal Control of Public Schools

The effort to turn public school classrooms into laboratories for government propaganda has reached a new milestone. Common Core State Standards in English is a program already adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia. It calls for an increase in the reading of “informational text” instead of fictional literature. When the new standards are fully implemented in 2014, nonfiction texts will comprise 50 percent of reading assignments in elementary schools, with a required increase to 70 percent by grade 12. Thus, timeless literature such as Of Mice and Men, or Catcher in the Rye will be replaced by recommended nonfiction works such as “Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management,” or “Recommended Levels of Insulation by the the US Environmental Protection Agency.”

Proponents of Common Core, including the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, claim U.S. students have grown used to easy reading assignments that leave them unprepared to comprehend complex nonfiction. This leaves too many students unprepared for the rigors of college and the demands of the workplace, experts say. And while some of the recommended texts are legitimate, such as Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” those mentioned in the first paragraph, or a New Yorker essay titled “The Cost Conundrum,” which would give students the impression that the Affordable Healthcare Act is good policy, are little more than thinly-veiled efforts to promote a progressive agenda masquerading as education.

Jamie Highfill, an eighth-grade English teacher at Woodland Junior High School in Fayetteville, AK reveals some of the “unintended consequences” of the rollout. “I’m struggling with this, and my students are struggling,” said the Arkansas 2011 middle school teacher of the year. “With informational text, there isn’t that human connection that you get with literature. And the kids are shutting down. They’re getting bored. I’m seeing more behavior problems in my classroom than I’ve ever seen,” she added.

David Coleman, the chief architect of the Common Core, who led the effort to write the standards with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said educators are overreacting as the standards move from concept to classroom. “There’s a disproportionate amount of anxiety,” he contended.

There ought to be, but not just for the concerns expressed by teachers such as Ms. Highfill. As National Review’s Stanley Kurtz explains, there is a good reason why control over public schools was kept out of federal hands by the Founding Fathers. They realized that one political party or ideology shaping the curriculum in public schools was a direct route to tyranny. What the Obama administration has done has conditioned Department of Education funding and regulatory waivers on state acceptance of Common Core. That such a move is constitutionally suspect at best, and another naked power grab at worst, should infuriate Americans who still believe an education is about teaching children how to think, not what to think. (Furthermore, considering the reality that this is being sold as an alternative to “easy reading assignments,” they should ask themselves how and why the public school curriculum was dumbed-down in the first place).

Accuracy in Media’s (AIM) Mary Grabar reveals how 48 state governors were lured into entering a contest called “Race to the Top” for a portion of $4.35 billion of funds made available by the stimulus package. “It was one of the many ‘crises’ exploited by the Obama administration,” she writes. “While the public was focused on a series of radical moves coming in rapid-fire succession, like the health care bill and proposed trials and imprisonment of 9/11 terrorists on domestic soil, governors, worried about keeping school doors open, signed on.”

Far more importantly, she reveals the players involved. The educational component of Common Core is controlled by Linda Darling-Hammond, a radical left-wing educator and close colleague of William Ayers, former member of the domestic terrorist group the Weather Underground, who became a professor of education — and a friend of Barack Obama’s. Both Darling-Hammond and Ayers have advocated ending funding disparities between urban and suburban schools, ending standardized testing, and attacking “white privilege.” The big picture here is to eliminate objective measurement of knowledge and skills, and replace them with teachers offering up subjective appraisals of students’ attitudes and behavior.

In a 2009 article for the Harvard Educational Review, Darling-Hammond extolled these initiatives as the Obama administration’s “opportunity to transform our nation’s schools.” Grabar reveals what such “transformation” is intended to achieve. “When these dangerous initiatives are implemented, there will be no escaping bad schools and a radical curriculum by moving to a good suburb, or by home schooling, or by enrolling your children in private schools,” she warns.

Some state governors have wised up. Virginia opted out when Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell was elected. Georgia, Indiana, Utah, South Carolina, and others have also begun, or completed, the effort to do the same. Last February, Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley explained her rationale for doing so. “Just as we should not relinquish control of education to the Federal government,” she wrote in a letter to a state lawmaker, “neither should we cede it to the consensus of other states.” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan characterized Haley’s fear of losing control as “a conspiracy theory in search of a conspiracy.” Yet when Utah dumped the program, Duncan was far more conciliatory. “States have the sole right to set learning standards” he wrote in a letter.

Legally they do, but the federal Race to the Top (RTTT) application says exactly the opposite, noting that any applicant is required to adopt “a set of content standards…that are substantially identical across all States in a consortium.” In other words, any states that wish to compete for RTTT school funding must embrace Common Core. Thus, a portion of federal funding for schools is nothing less than an effort to coerce the states into adopting a de facto national educational system. In many instances, such coercion is hardly necessary: the public school system is dominated by progressive-supporting unions who contribute virtually all of their campaign dollars to Democrats. Thus, the progressive agenda is already welcomed in many public schools. The Common Core curriculum is nothing less than an effort to coordinate that agenda on a national level.

In 2009, Bill Ayers was one of three keynote speakers at a conference sponsored by the Renaissance Group. The other two speakers were Secretary of Education Duncan and U.S. Under Secretary of Education, Martha Kanter. The Renaissance Group is purportedly interested in finding ways to educate the “New American Student,” part of which deals with the alleged inability of white teachers to deal with the issues of poverty, diversity and multiculturalism that affect their students. While some Americans might contend that the emphasis on such obvious progressive talking points is overblown, they should still ask themselves why those in charge of overseeing the federal government’s education programs would associate with a terrorist thug whose contempt for American culture, tradition and history is well-documented.

Just before he was elected in 2008 President Obama told his followers, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” It would appear that he and his progressive minions intend to make good on that promise, state by state, school by school–and child by child.

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  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    The way to control generations is through the kiddies, and the left has been on the hunt for decades. As such, teacher's unions are their pet banksters, and the likes of Kevin Jennings ( a pedophile) was picked in 2008 to 'transform' the schools, and unrepentant terrorists, Billy boy Ahers and wifey Dohrn, are in the thick of said revamping.

    And it is not as if private schools are out of their reach, but their first stops are public schools from kindergarten and up, now that academia is under their full control. And it is through these halls of (mis)education where many leftist teachers are born. Coincidence? Hardly.

    Here's the proof – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/10/25/first-they-ca
    http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/11/26/the-death-of-

    And by the way, Islamists work in lock step with their leftist revolutionary cohorts.
    Adina Kutnicki, Israel – http://www.adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • Dennis Habern

      The only way to control the level of learning in our public schools, is to re-implement "CORPORAL

      PUNISHMENT," so that there is a sence of mild discipline that permeates throughout our public

      school system. Without discipline, all institutions commence to crumble, if you follow, using

      the undisciplined spending of Washington, D.C., as an example.

  • cassandra

    Interestingly enough the Obama's kids are not in a public school. I wonder if that school teaches the programs Obama wants.
    Thanks Adina for your comments. They are always to the point.

    • Mary Sue

      Oh I'm sure that it does. If it's sidwell friends, the same one Chelsea Clinton went to, you can bet your booties that their brains are being well and thoroughly washed there.

  • Jim Dandy

    With the advent of the internet anyone can access good quality educational material free of charge. Maybe the next generation will educate themselves.

    • tuffone3

      You are assuming that the internet will be available and that the information on it will be available as well. Not a healthy assumption in light of what is transpiring on a national level.

      • Lady_Dr

        While I see your point – I think the operative word here is 'can.' And maybe, just maybe, if we can free ourselves enough from the group-think which most young people leave behind it might just happen.

  • clarespark

    This article lends heft to my claim that Obama is a straight-up Leninist. See his lookalike, the late communist historian Eric Hobsbawm, about whom I wrote here: http://clarespark.com/2012/12/08/hobsbawm-obama-i…. "Hobsbawm, Obama, Israel." Hobsbawm ended his fourth book on modernity calling for an international agency that would regulate pollution and climate change—at least that was my reading. The Greens have been thoroughly infiltrated by the far Left.

  • jtrolla

    The Left is doing what Hitler and Lenin, among other tyrants, advocated: controlling their subjects through their children's education: read indoctrination.

  • Jim_C

    See, conservatives? Six comments so far, every one of them a self-satisfied pout. "Obama's a tyrant. Waahh!"

    If you care about your kids' and grandkids' future, you better come up with better than pouting. Critical thinking isn't just about pointing out what's wrong. That's the easy part.

    You need a comprehensive, creative, and constructive approach to education.

    • Lady_Dr

      There is a very straightforward, creative and constructive approach to education – the Constitution which says not one word about education. This is entirely for the states and the individuals. If each state was responsble for education in their own state it would be very creative and could be comprehensive, constructive, and Constitutional. Some states would encourage longer hours or more days, some might find vocational training from an early age more suitale for their needs – the thing is that many people would vote with their feet, or send the kids to live with the grandparents, or become activity if making their schools more like those in another state. In many states the increase in home-schooling, private, charter schools and other alternatives would provide the answer.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "There is a very straightforward, creative and constructive approach to education – the Constitution which says not one word about education. This is entirely for the states and the individuals."

        I agree, but it's not straightforward from the point we have arrived. It would be straightforward if we all agreed to start over. Teaching the constitution itself should be the only thing mandated federally. That's it. That alone should ensure many of the other things we took for granted before they started to slip away.

        • Jim_C

          "If we all agreed to start over"

          Well, that's the trick, isn't it? Getting us all to agree to do that. To do so, you need to be creative, you need to take into account the notion that every child in the country should receive an education, and you need to convince people that what we have now is not working for anyone.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            "To do so, you need to be creative, you need to take into account the notion that every child in the country should receive an education, and you need to convince people that what we have now is not working for anyone."

            I agree with you Jim.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "If each state was responsble for education in their own state it would be very creative and could be comprehensive, constructive, and Constitutional. Some states would encourage longer hours or more days, some might find vocational training from an early age more suitale for their needs – the thing is that many people would vote with their feet, or send the kids to live with the grandparents, or become activity if making their schools more like those in another state. In many states the increase in home-schooling, private, charter schools and other alternatives would provide the answer."

        It will never happen for as long as the race-baiting socialists and other collectivists are able to point to distinctions as proof that someone is being victimized. "Why do they get X?" "They have more money for better education, no fair." No, they are more successful because they took the time and hard work to make their education better. Now you want the results without the work. That in itself is a recipe for failure.

        If people don't understand these fundamentals, where can you go from there in terms of restoring this country to it's founding principals? We have liars like Howard Zinn, now thankfully unable to create new lies, but still having his deadly book used as a school text. Where do we go from here? We start with returning to teaching the constitution and I guess allowing elective sharing of all curriculum state to state to reduce whining, and things like that. Call it cooperative collectivism. No coercion allowed.

        This is after all, America…still..sort of.

      • Jim_C

        What you say has merit. But consider this: my community doesn't have many alternatives. There's a Christian academy (good curriculum, good values, but way over the top religious magical thinking) and a good Catholic school (which we have experience with). Now, that school charges over $300 per month (essentially a car payment), which is affordable, if a bit of a sacrifice, and much more of one if you're sending more than one child there. But they are constantly fundraising, their teachers make peanuts, and they barely scrape by every year on that tuition. That last point is a big one–especially when I consider that the curriculum at that parochial school is not much better than the one at our public school. For the price, what I'm getting is essentially better-disciplined, self-selected classmates (with parents who can afford the tuition) for my kids and religious ed. The education, itself, while good, is more of a wash.

        I like the idea of tuition: it's an investment in your child's education, and that investment has a way of making parents monitor their kid's education. But increasing those alternatives has to presume a market for those alternatives. When that market is limited, so are a family's options.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          "There's a Christian academy (good curriculum, good values, but way over the top religious magical thinking) "

          Are you sure you don't merely assume that? Can you give me an example of magical thinking that they teach?

          • Jim_C

            Maybe my Catholic bias–Protestantism's faith vs. deeds as a path to salvation never sat well with me.Too much "Jesus can do this, Jesus can do that." There was a scripture about Elijah's Yahweh vs. Baal that was pitched as "Elijah overcoming adversity" to the kids, rubbed me the wrong way. What can I say.

    • Mary Sue

      that's kinda difficult to do when the leftist Teacher's Unions have a stranglehold on it.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "If you care about your kids' and grandkids' future, you better come up with better than pouting. Critical thinking isn't just about pointing out what's wrong. That's the easy part. "

      You're not wrong in your statement, just in your hypocritical expectations. Where are your answers? Second, this is commentary on an article published, and suggestions are welcomed but not demanded.

      Where are yours?

      "You need a comprehensive, creative, and constructive approach to education."

      You don't need it? We do, but you don't because you're all set? We (including you) need these with some regulations about using objective facts, but also freedom to argue about right and wrong with some rational basis. Start with the US constitution, teach that, see where it leads. It has to be better than what we have now.

      BTW, I have certainly injected plenty of suggestions, but would you be happy if I linked to them with every comment just to prove to you that solutions do exist? I doubt it.

      Look in the mirror. You're projecting your own sense of inadequacy on to others who are simply commenting on the subjects at hand. If you want to hear solutions, there are more constructive ways to elicit them from those reading your comments.

      • Jim_C

        Do I need it, because "I'm all set?" Hmmm. I'm happy with the education I got, and I'm happy with the public education my kids get, and I recognize that it'sprimarily my role to make sure they are getting a good education. So far it's been a decently challenging curriculum and the kids have the option for honors or advanced placement classes. I'm willing to entertain alternatives, because I think the turn of the 20th century, agrarian model is outdated, the way information is transmitted has changed considerably, and I'm not sure why we need a Dept. of Ed., except for writing large checks to the States.

        I'm not entirely sure what conservatives think should happen. I know they love to whine about "indoctrination" and teacher's unions, arguments in the abstract. I don't hear them putting down too many of their own kids' teachers, or their own education. I also never hear them discuss other problems with education: poor/negligent parenting, administrative costs, the vast social changes of the 20th century demographically, culturally, technologically.

        All I hear is whine, complaints, and the typical finger-pointing that has literaly been happening for decade, yet no leader emerges. I hear very few people who "get" education: its history, its practice, its place in civil society. So I beg to differ, my comments were quite appropriate.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          "Do I need it, because "I'm all set?" Hmmm. I'm happy with the education I got, and I'm happy with the public education my kids get…"

          Wow. You've confessed something very significant.

          "I'm not entirely sure what conservatives think should happen. I know they love to whine about "indoctrination" and teacher's unions, arguments in the abstract…"

          Well, this site generally discusses news and current events and applies analysis from the perspective that we have problems in this nation due directly and indirectly to leftism. For someone who doesn't understand the nuanced positions, it is easy to dismiss many of the concerns, especially to the ears of the indoctrinated like you. Nobody considers themselves "indoctrinated" and maybe you need to think long and hard about what it would mean to distinguish between indoctrination, and educating children to find empirical truths and verify them directly or indirectly with solid reasoning skills. I can tell you that I rarely if ever meet students with these capabilities outside of a few select universities. It should start with grade school children to think critically in the classic meaning of the phrase, "critical thinking."
          http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-cr

          Remember that I said it should start in grade school. I'm not expecting 10-year-old kids to write papers on the subject, but the fundamental instinct to challenge subjective statements to be supported by objective facts or at least having some identifiable standards for evidence, should be fundamental to what we teach kids if we are to call it educational.

          Indoctrination is teaching children to recite positions. Those positions are selected by political process, whether or not you recognize that. Do you know who Howard Zinn is?
          http://www.historyisaweapon.com/zinnapeopleshisto

          Read that index page, or as much as you'd like then we can discuss what you think about it. The source for this site is a book used a serious study of history in many college classrooms. I don't know what each teacher is saying about the book, but I meet so many zombies quoting from it, just like the lunatic web site author. History is a weapon? In what, class warfare? It is to leftists. Do leftists hold political power in education decisions? Please tell me if you disagree that having people who believe in "new history" (revisionism by rejecting "received texts" just because they were tainted by "racism").

          We can continue this bit by bit or we won't discuss anything enlightening. Tell me what you think about Zinn or revisionism in general by people who don't even try to find direct evidence, and this is supposed to be superior to those "racist" historians who by the way, often cite direct evidence and witness testimony with a sincere effort to find the salient facts of history.

          • Jim_C

            I have not read Zinn, and what I have heard of him makes me uninterested, at least up until now. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think of him a bit like Chomsky, who I am familiar with, who never met an international situation that wasn't the fault of the U.S. A taste of him was enough (though I think his critique of our media holds water very well).

            It is my understanding that universities teach Zinn as an alternate history–"You've heard this story, but what about this?" kind of thing. In university, I think as many strains of thought should be explored as possible. I have a "liberal" view of education. You read Keynes, but you also read Friedman or Hayek.

            At the grade school level, it's enough to get kids familiarized with algebra, the periodic table of elements, the makeup of the three branches of government, the clarinet. So, practically speaking, perhaps critical thinking can be applied to things like interpreting the messages underlying advertising–something they can identify with.

            I have a pretty good idea of what conservatives think is being taught in schools–month long seminars on Kwanzaa, the notion that slavery was somehow an ugly mark on our history, Karl Marx is Santa Claus, gays are human beings deserving respect, etc. Maybe they do, somewhere. But where I live, stuff is pretty straightforward and teachers simply teach their subject.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          "So I beg to differ, my comments were quite appropriate."

          Then you must have missed the point, or wanted to change the topic without framing the new context. Are you talking about conservatives at large, or those commenting here?

  • Mohammad

    This will stop all the entitlement mentality of the kaufur white boys.

    • Mary Sue

      no it will make it worse.

    • Mary Sue

      also, irony, calling white boys basically the equivalent of the n-word! Priceless!

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "This will stop all the entitlement mentality of the kaufur white boys"

      You must be imitating a silly Muslim, right? There aren't that many cliche-using Muslims who know how to use the Internet too.

  • Lady_Dr

    Have not read the Kurtz article yet but above it reads," As National Review’s Stanley Kurtz explains, there is a good reason why control over public schools was kept out of federal hands by the Founding Fathers." This is MISLEADING – there were no public schools to speak of until the 19th century. AND AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO BELIEVES IN THE 10th AMENDMENT. FOr the Federal government to be involved with education at ANY leve is a violation of the Constittuion (see 10th Amendment).

  • guest

    In the ABC'S of Communism, a 1919 tract, Leninists did exactly what Obama, with the full cooperation of Republicans, has been doing to nationalize education for four years. Of course he's had his minion infiltrators in every school district working 24/7.

    These two have been writing about this since 2010.
    http://potterwilliamsreport.com/2012/12/08/david-
    http://potterwilliamsreport.com/2012/01/13/march-
    http://potterwilliamsreport.com/2011/03/21/sleepi
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/11/education_

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "Both Darling-Hammond and Ayers have advocated ending funding disparities between urban and suburban schools, ending standardized testing…"

    How does it make sense to say well we need to make sure everything is equal, but only superficially. Don't test our results?

    "…and attacking “white privilege.”

    I see. Now I get it.

    • Mary Sue

      The whole "white privilege" thing is the assertion that whites benefit from racism. Someone even did a comic where a white kid is accepted into university while a black student in the immediate background is turned down, then the kid applies for a job and gets it while a black man in the immediate background is told all the positions are filled, and then the white kid gets a mortgage with his wife while a black couple in the immediate background is told "Sorry we can't help you." Then the end panel is the white kid going "I've never benefitted from racism!" It's like, we're supposed to believe that the white kid got accepted for all those things BECAUSE there was turning down of black people. White Privilege is alleged to be Whites benefitting from the assumption that white people are better, less criminal, more hardworking, more trustworthy and more competent than any others.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "The whole "white privilege" thing is the assertion that whites benefit from racism. Someone even did a comic where a white kid is accepted into university while a black student in the immediate background is turned down, then the kid applies for a job and gets it while a black man in the immediate background is told all the positions are filled, and then the white kid gets a mortgage with his wife while a black couple in the immediate background is told "Sorry we can't help you.""

        This whole discernment between illustration and evidence is something we should teach, that's for sure.

        "Then the end panel is the white kid going "I've never benefitted from racism!" It's like, we're supposed to believe that the white kid got accepted for all those things BECAUSE there was turning down of black people. White Privilege is alleged to be Whites benefitting from the assumption that white people are better, less criminal, more hardworking, more trustworthy and more competent than any others."

        It's an old narrative that is used as a political tool to hurt people by class, and help those supposedly needed to rule according to "social justice" principles; the liberals.