Common Core: Uncommon Sense
There is a growing outcry from parents across Alabama regarding the federally created k – 12 curricula standards, "Common Core State Standards" (CCSS) recently adopted by an Alabama's State Board of Education in a split vote. This "reform" covertly transfers control of education explicitly given to states by the U.S. Constitution to federal bureaucracy. Led by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) it is endorsed by entities as The National Governors Association (80% of operating funds from federal government), the Council of Chief State School Officers groups (50% of operating funds from federal government) and Achieve, Inc. - a private company receiving $36 million to promote CCSS. The Pearson Foundation received $3 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to publish this un-piloted curriculum. The USDOE awarded two consortia $350 million to develop standards all-the-while claiming this was a State-initiated process. It is not! States adopt the national CCSS (85%) but only 15 percent by each state – which is not included in the nationally aligned assessments.
David Axelrod, Senior Advisor to President Obama stated the CCSS "were the initiative of the Obama Administration". Common Core is to education as Obama Care is to health.
Town hall meetings held across Alabama reveal some little known and interesting facts behind CCSS. Two of the original CCSS Validation Committee members refused to sign off on CCSS. Dr. James Milgram, a math professor from Stanford University stated, "The math standards would put students two years behind those high achieving countries". Another member, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, refused to sign due to mediocre reading, "weak English literature and cultural standards needed for college coursework". On August 24th, 2013 the FOX news network did a segment on the blatant omissions in the new Advanced Placement U. S. History Curriculum Framework (tested by the College Board's designed assessment). This curriculum places an emphasis on the problems and failing of our ancestors while omitting their achievements; it never mentions most of our Founding Fathers to include Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and Adams; and the omission of military history, battles, commanders, and heroes. This undermines the most fundamental foundations of the building and character of the greatest nation on earth.
The fundamental question for Alabamians is, "Will our children be better or worse off with Common Core?" A 2011 pre–CCSS "Quality Counts" report revealed improvements using the Alabama Course of Study standards with strategies like Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI):
• The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) showed Alabama the largest gain in 4th-grade
reading in the nation - ARI.
• The Fordham Foundation gave Alabama's English/Language Arts an "A" rating and a "B+" in Math.
• The College Board praised Alabama as #1in Advanced Placement Progress.
• NAEP ranked Alabama 2nd nationally only to Maryland in 4th grade reading scores.
Despite this overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Common Core is supported and being promoted as a positive change by Alabama's State Superintendent of Education, Tommy Bice. He launches a bus tour in September to each of the State Board of Education's districts to persuade parents that Common Core is good for their children. Governor Bentley and two other State School Board members disagree voting against this federal initiative with the covert intent to change our schools and our children. There are five states that declined federal dollars along with the new Common Core Curriculum.
Late April of 2014 privately developed assessments aligned to CCSS standards were administered to Alabama's children. However, with our children's future at stake parents in Alabama and across our country are diligently working to have the CCSS repealed so that Alabama can keep our academic progress strong.