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Common Core and Charter: A
Dangerous Concoction
Two major educational campaigns are merging to create a perfect storm in
Georgia and America.  In 1930’s under the Hoover Administration, there was
a published plan to change the American economy into a planned economy .
In this plan, the American education system was going to be the vehicle to
implement planned economics by modifying the faith in economic
individualism and free markets. This plan implements the acceptance of
unelected boards, like the state charter school commission.  Philanthropic
organizations such as Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford Foundations were
often used to finance this agenda in the last century.

Fast forward 55 years later with many education policies enforced and the
creation of the U.S. Department of Education. The Carnegie Foundation
funded the Education Commission of States, a powerful unelected council; a
regional government. The Heritage and Carnegie Foundations facilitated and
funded the national agreement between the US-Soviet Education Exchange
in 1985. Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev signed the agreement to merge
and share education policy and curricula .  Some of the information
implemented in the agreement is global curriculum and school choice models
for school-to-work training adopted from the Soviet Union.  By accepting this
agreement, Reagan appointed a task force to create partnerships between
the private and public sectors. The Reagan Administration thought that our
free market system should not be so rigid; therefore, using the Soviet school
choice model using the idea of charter schools to create a new school system
which unites the public and private sectors.

President George H. W. Bush’s America 2000 plan called for a “New
American School System” and  demands “new national standards for the five
core subjects” when he addressed Congress in April, 1991. President Bush
stated that “we will develop voluntary national tests” to see how well our
students are doing in these new schools. In addition, Bush said “Governors
will honor communities with this designation if the communities embrace the
national education goals.”   Also stated was the concept of school choice:
“We can encourage educational excellence by encouraging parental choice.
The concept of choice draws its fundamental strength from the principle at
the very heart of the democratic idea.”  Finally, Bush presented the idea that
corporations should “take the lead in creating a voluntary system of world
class standards” .  

After Bush’s defeat in 1992, the Clinton Administration renamed this agenda
Goals 2000. Goals 2000 amplified the effects of the 1994 Elementary
Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESEA requires that states submit to the U.
S. Department of Education a State Improvement Plan that includes the
adoption of challenging content standards and aligned assessments for Title I
students . Goals 2000 created the blueprint for the most horrible piece of
social engineering and legislation passed by Congress, No Child Left Behind
(NCLB).

The blueprint for a planned economy and nationalized curriculum standards is
a Holy Grail for corporations like Pearson and K12.com hiding under the
guise of public-private partnerships. Race to the Top (RTTT), NCLB waivers,
Common Core Standards, and Charter Schools are being touted as the way
to solve our education problems by creating “competition” among schools.  
President Obama has been pressing hard for all 50 states to adopt the
Common Core Standards. These standards “equalize” the playing field, but
are skeptical in increasing student achievement. The Common Core may
equalize education opportunity and continue the mediocrity of student
performance we now have. Why is standardized curriculum a problem? From
a historical perspective, a centralized curriculum serves the goals of a
totalitarian state. Didn’t Thomas Jefferson warn us about that? These
standards are untested and they are based on bad theory of direct instruction
pedagogy which is known to constrain critical thinking development.  

As stated in the American/Goals 2000 plan for a “New American School”,
demands “new national standards” and “national testing” will insure
performance. Nationally developed Common Core Standards are being
reviewed and redeveloped by appointed state councils and paid for by the
Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation is also paying to evaluate the
standards along with creating computer programs for Pearson to implement
online classroom curriculum packages .  The programs will be sold by
Pearson to virtual schools both public and private. Corporations and
foundations are writing these standards and the country and professional
educators have lost total control of these standards .
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Jeremy Spencer, Ed. S. has
been teaching biological sciences
for 13 years in Georgia.  He currently
the education policy adviser for his
elected state house representative.
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The opinions expressed in this article reflect those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of EmpowerED Georgia.
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