At the March Operation Education Conference held in Orlando, Florida, American historian and Wallbuilders founder David Barton gave a presentation on the history of education in America and the facts about the Common Core State Standards being implemented in our schools across the country. According to his biography, Barton spent eight years as an educator and school administrator prior to founding Wallbuilders, whose “goal is to exert a direct and positive influence in government, education, and the family by (1) educating the nation concerning the Godly foundation of our country; (2) providing information to federal, state, and local officials as they develop public policies which reflect Biblical values; and (3) encouraging Christians to be involved in the civic arena.” For those new to the discussion on the federal program known as Common Core State Standards, Barton’s presentation gave an excellent overview of how overreaching these federalized standards are into our children’s education.
As he began his presentation, Barton seemed to want to make it very clear that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was against the Common Core State Standards. While many of us heard Gov. Huckabee say he supports these standards, Barton explained that at the beginning the National Governor’s Association came together in an attempt to get away from federal education standards and set state standards so that a child educated in one state would receive a commensurate education in another state. While it might have started as a state led initiative, the standards are being mandated on the states through monies tied to federal monies allocated to states through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (aka The Stimulus Bill).
David Barton explained that historically, the philosophy of early education in America consisten of two objectives:
- Teach religion, morality, and knowledge.
- Teach thinking skills.
Barton continued to list eight facts about the Common Core State Standards parents, grandparents, educators, legislators, and taxpayers should know, and which are contrary to the facts being presented by supporters of Common Core State Standards (CCSS). He explained that Common Core:
- Standardizes mediocrity and lacks academic rigor
- Undermines state and local controls and accountability and abrogates federalism as well as parents rights
- Implementation of Common Core is going to be very costly.
- Introduces new and untested educational methods and methodology
- Data mining is intrusive and dangerous to constitutional rights.
- It includes open and overt philosophical indoctrination in numerous specific areas – selectively edits, such as global warming. It does not present any alternate opinions.
- It’s supplemental and recommended material contains dark, depressing and offensive content.
- Tests are being revised to incorporate Common Core, so all education will have to align to Common Core for the students to pass college entrance exams. Home schoolers, parochial, and private schools will not be able to get away from the curriculum.
As the new curricula rolls out in our schools, we are seeing very confusing, tedious, sloppy, and age inappropriate materials being presented to our children.
Recently we saw a father concerned about his 9th grade daughter’s reading material, which he considered to be pornographic, attempting to speak at his school board meeting, only to be arrested by the police for his actions. (The material my 3rd grade grandson has been subjected to very dark and depressing reading material in his class and completely inappropriate for a nine year old child).
We are being told that Common Core is academically “rigorous.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines rigorous as “harsh or severe, difficult to endure because of extreme conditions.” More and more children are coming to hate school because of the new curriculum. Is this what we want for our children?
We need to get back to teaching our children, if not religion, at the very least morality and knowledge. We need to teach them thinking skills. They need to be taught how to think, not what to think. Learning should be fun, not “rigorous.”
Common Core State Standards sets a very low bar for our children’s education, and as we all know, wherever the bar is set, that will be the point to which our children will be taught. If we look at the educational material taught in the 1700s and 1800s in American schools, some of which David Barton showed and explained in his presentation, we realize how inferior the education standards are today. I refuse to believe our children are not able to master the same basic knowledge and skills as our American ancestors. Our children are able to rise to any bar we set. Let’s raise the bar and give our children an education worthy of our ancestors and give them a chance to excel in their adult lives as knowledgeable, capable, and skilled contributors to society.