Many activists against the use of the uber-complicated and convoluted Common Core curriculum have pinpointed its corporate pushers. But how were the pushers allowed to run rampant – and why the rush to use this particular curriculum? Ask the angry teachers – they were just reeling from No Child Left Behind when all of a sudden it was time for a nonsensical frustrating curriculum that left parents bewildered, more standardized test hoops to hop through and the selling out of private, student data to third-parties.
Indeed, there was nothing organic about the development and forceful push for schools to make the Common Core switch.
Dr. Susan Berry fills in the missing puzzle piece with a little known and recent revelation:
In a remarkable admission, the former director of the Race to the Top (RttT) competitive grant program and chief of staff to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says the federal government “forced” full support for adoption of the Common Core standards from each state by requiring its governor, chief state school officer, and head of the state board of education to sign off on the grant application.
Joanne Weiss, who is now an “independent education consultant,” writes at the Stanford Social Innovation Review that the RttT grant program, funded through President Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill in the name of helping low-income, poor-performing schools, “offers lessons in high-impact grantmaking that are applicable not only in education but also in other fields.”
And it wasn’t a for-profit kind of program for schools – it was waving money to severely cash-strapped schools and saying “do this to get to the ‘top’ or fall to the bottom.” Worse, incentives were unleashed on foundations and private businesses to push everyone “on board.”
Ms. Weiss somewhat boasted of the four tools that helped bring Common Core “to the top” so to speak.
They are: pressing for approval and endorsement of the top three education leaders in each state (governor, chief state school officer and the state board of education’s president). Getting all kinds of district-level school administration signatures – even union leaders, but making sure they had no veto power. Community incentives! Getting buy-ins from stakeholders like business and parents’ groups, foundations and community organizations and teachers’ unions. Finally, forcing the above mentioned parties to meetings and make the case for reviewers – also to make sure everyone was fully committed to the plan.
She even spoke in terms of aggression – her tools were “deployed,” all parties were to “reform,” “we forced alignment,” “we imposed,” “we required,” – one wonders whether the duped parties ever felt like they were being squeezed by a boa constrictor.
Attorney and activist Jane Robins says that this admission “blows the lid off” any presidential candidate’s claims that the states were leading the Common Core process but were “hijacked” by the federal government.
She told Breitbart:
Not only did the states have to toe the line in all these areas to have a shot at the much-coveted federal money, but they had to alter their own decision-making structures to comply with federal dictates. …— it was planned from the start. Presidential candidates should retire the misleading talking points.
Commenters to Ms. Weiss’ admission noted the conflict-of-interest having the US Department of Education directing local education (illegal). They note that two parties have been completely left out of the equation – parents and teachers! Additionally, they find it shameful that RttT money which is taxpayer money is not actually helping struggling schools and certainly not helping with education by stoking a Hunger Games type competition.
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