Everyone was anxious for Thursday night’s debate. Donald Trump immediately took center stage by his refusal to promise he’d support whoever clinches the Republican nomination. Rand Paul’s heated response only added to the drama. But the anticipation of what Trump would say next may have prevented viewers from carefully listening to other candidates, including Jeb Bush. Bush has conservatives doubting if he would be the right choice as the nominee because of his support for Common Core.
Common Core (CC) is a series of grade-by-grade educational standards. Its goals (not parent’s goals) outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. During the debates Megyn Kelly of FOX News asked Bush about being the only Republican candidate that supports CC. His response was
I respect people having a view, but the simple fact is we need higher standards. They need to be state driven. The federal government should play no role in this, either in the creation of standards, content or curriculum. And if we don’t have high standards and assess to them faithfully, we get what we have today which is about a third of our kids being college and/or career ready.
A state driven program, parental involvement and higher educational standards are the arguments Jeb uses when trumping up the supposed marvelous things CC will do for your child. However history and facts prove none of these points are accurate.
Common Core is not and will never be state led. In 2008 The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the writing of CC standards. The standards were subsequently written by The National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers and Achieve, Inc. Because guidelines were set by these private and nongovernmental agencies they are unaccountable to parents or taxpayers. These entities also own and copyright the standards therefore teachers nor parents will be asked for input unless one of the three agencies want input.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also gave funds to the Pearson Foundation to create a national K-12 curriculum. As of March 2014 Pearson has made hundreds of millions of dollars off CC. If you look closely on your kid’s tests you will see “Pearson” written somewhere.
So first we have Gates funding people to write the standards, now he funds people to create the curriculum to teach the standards. This isn’t states lead, this is Gates lead!
The year after CC standards were written,Obama introduced his new “Race to the Top” initiative. This enticed states to adopt his ‘college readiness’ program, otherwise known as CC, by competing for $4.5 billion in grants. College readiness is defined as “prepared to enter non-selective community colleges” with non-selective meaning an institution that accepts all applicants. This is not raising standards.
Bush likes to use his state as an example of the great success of CC. But his state is not exactly the role model he should use. According to the Florida Dept of Education, in 2011 the state did not make Make Adequate Yearly Progress. It did not meet reading proficiency and the average writing standard was met by only 55%. But the biggest deception coming from Jeb Bush’s mouth is that in 2014, Pearson lost its contract to provide a standardized assessment system for public schools in Florida. If CC is so amazing, and Pearson wrote the curriculum to teach it, why doesn’t Florida use it? Hilary will comment on missing emails way before Jeb will comment on this.
Another dissatisfied contributor is Dr. David Pook, a Social Studies and English teacher that that had input into the English Language Arts standards. In May of 2014 he said
The reason why I helped write the standards and the reason why I am here today is that as a white male in society I am given a lot of privilege that I didn’t earn.” Watch video here. It is also reported the school that Dr. Pook teaches at considers the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) inferior and does not use them on the student body that is 91% white.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, the CC implementation is expensive. According to Stop Common Core of NC the grant funds used to pay for CC expired in 2014. The Pioneer Institute estimates North Carolina will spend approximately $525 million to $641.9 million over the next seven years to implement Common Core.
When Obama praised Bush as a “champion” of school reform in 2011 I knew our education system was taking a downward spiral. Whether Bush continues to promote his support for CC remains to be seen. But one thing is for certain, he will be grilled by Conservatives because of it. And rightfully so!