Guest Column: Protect our children from Common Core

Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (right) and Senator Ken LaValle at a Common Core forum last year in Eastport. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)
Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (right) and Senator Ken LaValle at a Common Core forum last year in Eastport. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

Common Core is a federal government power grab disguised as a “revamping” of our nation’s educational system — an educational system that, with all its flaws, managed to produce people who put a man on the moon and gave the world the Internet. 

Why is it that by 2011, 45 states (blue and red) had officially adopted the Common Core State Standards, yet in 2013 62 percent of Americans said they’d never even heard of it. Why did the governors who adopted Common Core do it without discussing, disclosing or debating it with their taxpaying constituents, the very people it concerns the most?

As with anything political, follow the money.

Bill Gates is the major player in Common Core. In 2013 alone, he contributed over $200 million to encourage the creation and adoption of Common Core. Pure altruism on his part? No, merely an investment in Gates’ Inbloom, which stood to make $2 to $5 per student for the privilege of participating in the student data-mining scheme, despite being listed as a nonprofit entity.

Inbloom Corp. has thankfully been shut down permanently due to the avalanche of parental objections about student privacy. There’s no force in nature more powerful than a mother’s instinct to protect her children from a perceived threat. (Common Core is quickly becoming the proverbial ‘third rail’ for the elected.)

Other recipients of Gates’ “dollars” are the National Governor’s Association, the Fordham Institute, Achieve, Inc., the U.S. Department of Education, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Foundation for Excellence in Education and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Wow! Those billions are buying a lot of “reform” for our children, don’t you think?

When Race to the Top began, it dangled a carrot worth $4.35 billion. Common Core was included in that bait. Democrats and Republicans alike signed onto a program that had in its grant application requirements a hidden stipulation: In order to apply for some of that $4.35 billion, state university and college presidents had to agree they would not place incoming students in remedial courses in any subject (i.e., Algebra II) for which they had already passed a standardized Common Core exam. This, despite the fact that over 40 percent of college freshmen need remedial mathematics and over 60 percent need remediation of some kind. This essentially means that students will not be properly prepared and, over time, the bar will have to be lowered, the content of courses will have to drop to accommodate the students and the “dumbing down” of our children will be complete.

The Pearson Data Solutions-Gates connection is also a matter of interest. Pearson’s role in Common Core is data-mining. Joy Pullman, Heartland Institute education research fellow, states; “The Administration has essentially rewritten federal privacy regulations without the approval of Congress — to claim that information on children can be shared without parental knowledge or consent … As part of the agreements signed between state governments and the federally backed consortia, data gathered on children at school will be provided to the organizations. As an example of the types of data being sought, is information on student behavior, their attitudes, their persistence, their discipline and so forth — a lot of non-academic things that a lot of parents aren’t comfortable with.

“The real goal is social engineering,” Pullman said. “I don’t like to use explosive sorts of things like that, but this is very obvious — the goal is to create a workforce that responds to the needs of the 21st century, as determined by the central planners.”

Diane Ravitch, a leading education expert who is now a research professor of education at NYU and has been writing about the controversy on her blog, states: “I’m sorry, I think this is madness. Is there a mad scientist or psychologist advising the Gates Foundation? Does Dr. Moreau work in Gates’ lab in Seattle?”

As you can see, Common Core and its proponents are about power; the usurping of your power, the strong-arming of your elected school boards, your power to have a voice in your school’s curriculum, your power to safeguard your children’s privacy, your power to decide what your children are exposed to. We have national tests already, the SATs and ACTs, and both are voluntary. What Common Core is proposing will be compulsory. Common Core seeks a centralized system, a system where a child’s individuality or unique talents and/or weaknesses are of no importance! (“They” know better than you, the parent.) We are a society based on self-governance, state sovereignty and an individual’s rights … not collectivism, socialism or dictatorial decrees. The preservation of our society, and its entire future, is rooted in our children. This fight for our children transcends party lines; it encompasses us as a nation, as one.

Guest_Nancarrow_C.jpgDenis Noncarrow, a longtime North Fork resident, now lives in Peconic and is a former chairman of the Southold Republican Committee.