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A uncommon concern over Common Core


In his essay, Is Public School an Option?, Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler writes, “The earliest public schools in the United States were community-based and parent-controlled. Parents and fellow citizens within a community would establish a school and hire a schoolmaster. The community would establish the curriculum, and the schoolmaster was expected to maintain discipline within the school as well as to guide the education of the students.”

The educational system in American has changed over the years and an even more radical change is in process as of this writing.

It is time for Americans to sit up and take notice of what is happening in our educational system and its likely long-range affects upon our nation. Abraham Lincoln reportly said, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.”

Henry Brooks Adams, an American historian and member of the Adams political family, said, “Teachers affect eternity; no one can tell where their influence stops.”

Since the education of our children and youth is so vitally important we should become acquainted with what they are being taught in our public schools. In 2009 the decision was made to launch the Common Core State Standards Initiative in Georgia, apparently believing that it would ensure college/career readiness for the students of our state.

To date 45 states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core State Standards. However, many states are deciding to delay the implementation of high-stakes standardized tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards in the face of growing concerns about the initiative. Some have indicated that the implementation of the Common Core is far worse than the implementation of Obamacare.

George Will, writing in The Washington Post, explained, “Viewed from Washington, which often is the last to learn about important developments, opposition to the Common Core State Standards Initiative still seems as small as the biblical cloud that ariseth out of the sea, no larger than a man’s hand. Soon, however, this education policy will fill a significant portion of the political sky.”

Then Will adds, “Opposition to the Common Core is surging because Washington, hoping to mollify opponents, is saying, in effect: ‘If you like your local control of education, you can keep it. Period.’ To which a burgeoning movement is responding: ‘No. Period.’”

Here are some concerns I have about Common Core. First of all, Terrence O. Moore, in his book The Story-Killers, writes, “At the moment what Common Core produces is confusion. No one – no legislator, no education department official, no district administrator, no teacher, no alleged school reformer who supports the program – can say what the Common Core is exactly. No one can show what the effects of this program have been on actual students. No one can say with precision whether the common core, which we are told is only a set of ‘standards,’ is a change in philosophy from current educational practices, and if so, whether it is a good change in philosophy.” Perhaps it boils down to whether or not we trust the federal government to properly educate our children.

“Never before in American history has K-12 education experienced such a huge shift from local to federal educational control ...”

Georgia Sen. William Ligon (R)

Furthermore, let me state specifically that the Common Core State Standards are misnamed. They are not state standards. They are national standards. It is a one-size-fits-all educational program.

Also, consider the fact that the primary architect of this educational program is David Coleman, who has never been a classroom teacher and wants to replace traditional subjects with broad learning. He believes there is a “massive social injustice in this country” and that education is “the engine of social justice.”

American Thinker reports, “Nationalized education via Common Core is about promoting an agenda of Anti-capitalization, sustainability, … global citizenship, self-esteem, affective math, and culture sensitive spelling and language. This is done in the name of consciousness raising, moral relativity, fairness, diversity, and multiculturalism.”

In his book Moore also asserts that the Common Core will kill the great stories of our tradition. He states, “Young people who are not armed with the great stories of literature and history will have their views of goodness and happiness formed by the false stories produced by the mythmakers in Hollywood and other parts of our popular culture. Just consider the view of sex and the relations between the sexes promulgated in movies.”

Moore continues, “[In the Common Core] the American people will know little about the forms of self-government the Founding Fathers created to secure our freedom and security and to allow us to pursue and attain happiness. Ill-versed in the ideas and habits of self-rule, we shall look increasingly to a supposedly benevolent, omni-competent, and all-providing state, run by an unknown and wholly unaccountable bureaucracy of ‘experts.’”

Moore concludes his book by saying, “It’s high time we take our stories back. Then we should take our schools back. That may very well be the first step in taking our nation back.”

Senator William Ligon of the Third Senate District serves as chairman of the State and Local Governmental Operations Committee of the Georgia Senate. He has introduced SB.167 and SB 203, two bills that work together to ensure that Georgia has an orderly withdrawal from the Common Core standards and the national framework that has been driving educational policy in our state.

Ligon has stated, “The Common Core – an effort to nationalize educational standards – is colliding with local control. Never before in American history has K-12 education experienced such a huge shift from local to federal educational control with less involvement of elected legislators.”

Ligon continued, “I believe what our Founders believed: that liberty is best preserved when control is exercised close to home. When state taxpayers pay over $13 billion in local and state taxes every year for K-12 education, how can their elected officials possibly concede their right to control educational standards?

“My bill to withdraw Georgia from Common Core, the aligned assessments, and the intrusive data tracking on students,” Ligon exclaims, “is part of the growing nationwide movement to reassert our constitutional autonomy over education. People now realize that they have been excluded from exercising one of their most treasured rights: the right to control the education of their children, and its time for the legislature and the governor to stand up for the people of this state.”

David L. Goetsch explains, “The first ‘free’ public schools were established by Unitarian socialists who wanted to use them as a vehicle for undermining Christianity, changing America’s cultural values, and promoting the acceptance of socialism. This was a brilliant strategy for the left. No institution in America has been more effective in promoting the acceptance of socialist ideals than the public school system.”

I don’t know if the Common Core is a part of a socialist agenda or not, but I am skeptical. Based on developments in public education in the past 50 years how can one not be suspicious of almost any new initiative designed for the education of America’s youth? I can only thank our dear Lord for the many godly teachers and administrators who serve in our public educational system – a mission field that is becoming increasingly impenetrable.