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Background on Common Core State Standards

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Who Developed the Common Core State Standards?

Despite being called “State Standards”, Common Core State Standards were not developed by the states!  Two trade associations, the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) together formed the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) in 2009.  These trade associations are unelected associations based in Washington D.C.

In „spring 2009, 48 states signed a Memorandum of Agreement committing to voluntary participation in a process leading to adoption of the CCSS.  „In September 2009, a draft of College and Career Readiness Standards was released.  In March 2010, the first and only public draft of the K-12 Common Core State Standards for ELA and Math were released.   In June 2010, the final K-12 Common Core State Standards were released.

It’s important to point out that there were no Governors, State Superintendents of Schools, or State Legislators actively involved in the process of creating the Common Core State Standards.  There were also no state administrative or legislative staff involved in creating the standards.  The role of state governments was literally restricted to signing onto the standards created by the two trade associations, the NGA and the CCSSO.  Many of the states that did sign onto Common Core State Standards did so to receive waivers to No Child Left Behind requirements or to qualify for Race To The Top money.  They were literally bribed into signing onto the standards before they were even drafted.

So Who REALLY Developed Common Core State Standards?

Common Core State Standards were developed by individuals coming from interests in the testing, textbook, training, and student and teacher tracking industry.  Here are the major players:

„America’s Choice –

  • Senior Fellows Phil Daro (MATH) and Sally Hampton (ELA)
  • „Really Pearson Publishing – One of the largest providers of services and materials to help low performing schools raise their performance through professional development, technical assistance and high quality materials.

„Student Achievement Partners –

  • „Founders – Jason Zimba (MATH) and David Coleman (ELA) [now with College Board]
  • „Non-profit with goal to promote CCSS
  • „$18MM Grant from GE Foundation

„ACT, Inc. –

  • „Sara Clough (MATH and ELA), Ken Mullen (MATH), Sharri Miller (Math and ELA), Jim Patterson (ELA), Nina Metzner (ELA)
  • „One of the largest college testing and test preparation services

The College Board –

  • „Robin O’Callaghan (MATH),  Andrew Schwartz (MATH), Natasha Vasavada (MATH and ELA), Joel Harris (ELA), Beth Hart (ELA)
  • „One of the largest college testing and test preparation services (SAT)

„Achieve, Inc. –

  • „Kaye Forgione (MATH), Laura McGiffert Slover (MATH and ELA), Douglas Sovde (MATH), John Kraman (ELA),  Sue Pimental (ELA)
  • „P-20 Data Systems Consulting,  Student and Teacher Assessment Tools, Data and Accountability Systems with strong alignment to policies in post-secondary and economic development sectors

So, the Common Core State Standards were created by two trade associations by individuals who worked for interests with a great deal to gain by creating a national standard for education in the United States!



  1. CCSS give the federal government authority to determine what will be taught in every subject in every classroom across the U.S. This federalizes education and limits local control of schools.
  2. The federal government will be creating assessment tools including some tests.
  3. Students attending school choice options will have to pass these federal exams. To do so, they must study the curricula shaped by the federal government.
  4. During the Governors’ luncheon in Feb. 2010, Obama told governors to commit to adopting CCSS to receive federal Title 1 funds. The standards had not even been written for the governors to study. This allowed the federal government to add the word State to the standards so the public would think that the normal process of teacher and public involvement had been employed when the standards were developed.
  5. Under that premise, states cannot nullify their own legislation.
  6. CCSS ignore the following federal statutes: The General Education Provisions Act, the Department of Education Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 which prohibit the DoED from exercising any direction, supervision, selection of textbooks or instructional materials, or control and administration of curriculum.
  7. CCSS ignores student and parent privacy rights. Stimulus money is given to states that implement a STATE LONGITUDINAL DATA SYSTEM (SLDS). This system collects data on students from the time they enter school and continues for the rest of their lives. Social Security numbers, disciplinary issues, health issues, and IQ are recorded and shared among “governmental agencies” without requiring permission from students or parents.
  8. According to the International Baccalaureate Organization, the CCSS and International Baccalaureate curricula share standards shaped by many UN treaties including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with an emphasis on Article 26. This declaration was adopted in 1948. The IBO partnered with UNESCO in 1996.
  9. Among the many critics of CCSS is Dr. Sandra Stotsky, a Professor of Education Reform and 21st Century Chair in teacher Quality at the University of Arkansas. She explains that English standards are “empty skills sets” and “weaken the base of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework.” She also expressed concern about misleading definitions and neglect to teach students to distinguish between argument and expressions of opinion or to distinguish between academic argument and advocacy or persuasive writing!
  10. Ze’ve Wurman, past Senior Policy Adviser in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development in the US Department of Education, notes that CCSS math standards replace the traditional foundation of Euclidean geometry with an experimental approach. Additional problems that he has identified include but are not limited to: failure to require proficiency with addition and subtraction until grade 4, a grade behind the expectations of the high-performing states and our international competitors. CCSS does not require proficiency with multiplication using the standard algorithm until grade 5, a grade behind expectations.
  11. CCSS are the curricula standard created by Benjamin S. Bloom in 1956. His taxonomy also followed the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CCSS is simply a much more aggressive form of Bloom’s educational goal of creating a population with a “world philosophy.”
  12. The CCSS undermine our American republic, its values and traditions.
  13. Currently, eighteen states are contesting CCSS.

This article is courtesy of Advocates for Academic Freedom blog.

10 Reasons to STOP Common Core

Here are ten reasons to put an end to Common Core:

1.  Conflict of Interest:  The people that established the Common Core Standards benefit financially from the standards they set up.

2. Movement of Power:  The Common Core Standards take power away from families and local schools and give it to the government and business leaders.   Keeping the power at the federal level will result in our schools changing their standards each time a new administration steps into office.

3.  Reform that Relies on Standardized Tests:   The Department of Education has committed 300 million dollars to the creation of these new tests, developed by two consortia (PARCC and Smarter Balance).   There will be little effort to teach skills that are not tested.

4.  One Size Fits All Education:  45 states in our nation will be doing exactly the same thing in our schools.   What if these new methods do not work for your child?  The new math uses a different method of teaching than most of us grew up with.   Are we all prepared to move to Alaska?

5. Drowning Out New Thinkers in Education:   Common Core advocates believe that this is the answer to education reform.   We could miss the opportunity to listen to a new ideas that will help our children learn.

6. Loss of Great Literature:   The Common Core Standards recommends that students in Elementary School spend 50% of their time in literature and 50% of their time reading informational text.   During the high school years the numbers are 30% of their time in literature and 70% of their time reading informational text.

7.  The Influence of Big Money:  Education reforms should not be coming from the people in America that make the most money.  The Common Core Standards were influenced by the Gates Foundation and some of that money was able to buy propaganda.

8.  Can We Afford All This Change?:   The state checkbook is struggling with money during these difficult economic times.   How can we afford all the new text books, all the testing, the training, the new resources, etc… Maybe schools would rather use their money to hire a teacher instead of spending it on Common Core.

9.  Teaching Children to be “Common”:  Schools can add only 15% of new learning material to the set standards.   This forces teachers to stay in the box.   Everything will be the same.  Everybody common!   This is not the foundation of American.   We believe in the ideas of individualism, diversity, and choices.

10.  Data Collecting:  This should be every parents worst fear!   Records of physical and mental health, inappropriate behavior, disciplinary actions, test scores, personal information, etc… it can now follow your child starting in pre-school to age 20.  The information can be shared among government agencies and other private agencies that are approved.  This sharing can be done without your parental consent.   This issue is so serious that EPIC (Electronic Privacy Inform Center) is suing the Department of Education.

It Doesn’t Take a Tinfoil Hat to Critique Common Core

Contrary to the suggestion of Kathleen Porter-Magee and Sol Stern on NRO yesterday, you do not have to sport a tinfoil tricorn to believe Common Core curriculum and testing requirements are not only low-quality, but yet another threat to the American tradition of individual liberty and limited government.

The duo, one of whom I’ve heard out, paste unsubstantiated dreams onto a project prefacing national control over education, from teacher training to hiring and firing to classroom worksheets, by outlining what schools in 46 states must teach and test in every grade in math and English. Porter-Magee should know this, since she serves on a federal panel to review the actual questions for national tests currently under development.

Why on earth do the feds need to review these tests if the entire project is, as the two insist, state-instigated and -controlled? Ah, right, because the federal government provided all the funds for these national tests, and major grants to the nonprofits who wrote Common Core. They and progressive outfits such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation bankrolled this entire effort, and big businesses with significant financial stakes in national education markets helped sponsor the project and efforts to promote it to lawmakers and fellow business leaders.

The pair deceptively wrote that the Obama administration “has stated that adoption of ‘college and career readiness standards’ doesn’t necessarily mean adoption of Common Core,” but failed to mention that no standards but Common Core fit the administration’s definition of such standards. If the president has his way, states will lose federal money for setting their own standards, as they already were refused access to “Race to the Top” stimulus dollars if they refused Common Core. In January’s State of the Union address, President Obama said these federal grants “convinced almost every state” to adopt Common Core. Despite these realities, Stern and Porter-Magee fatuously assert, states can definitely set their own education standards — just as states can set their own drinking ages.

They also claim, inconsistently, that Common Core is “not a curriculum” and that it will promulgate “an academic curriculum based on great works of Western civilization and the American republic.” The standards essentially define the table of contents for all U.S. K–12 math and English texts. This may not constitute a curriculum, but it certainly defines what kids will and will not learn, especially when paired with two sets of national tests. And why should a centrally controlled, taxpayer-funded, unaccountable-to-the-public set of committees have the power to define what nearly every U.S. school child will learn?

Porter-Magee and Stern project their wishes for better U.S. curriculum onto Common Core. Works they acclaim, such as Common Sense, the Gettysburg Address, and To Kill a Mockingbird appear not on the actual standards, but on accompanying lists of book suggestions — such as California’s — that also include piles of trash schools can teach instead. I compared Common Core’s early math and literacy requirements with grade-level recommendations from Porter-Magee and Stern’s revered E. D. Hirsch, and made essentially the same finding one of Common Core’s content-level experts explained to two state legislatures, which led her to refuse to sign off on the project for obvious lack of quality and research. Calling Common Core rigorous is like calling an average high-school soccer team “world-class.” Porter-Magee and Stern’s purportedly conservative arguments essentially constitute doublespeak on every point.

There is no evidence Common Core will improve education. It’s never been field-tested, and research suggests education standards have no effect on student learning: Many states with high standards have low achievement, and vice versa. So why this horrific waste of time? Is it for the national student databases of test scores, hobbies, family income, voting status, health records, and more?

And how are all of these arrangements conducive to individual rights and limited government?

— Joy Pullmann is managing editor of School Reform News and an education research fellow at the Heartland Institute.

[First published at National Review Online, reposted with permission of author]