With the passing of the Obamacare enrollment deadline last month, Republicans have sunk their teeth even deeper into the disastrous healthcare exchange, tearing to shreds the broken promises and misleading enrollment numbers from talk radio, to Fox News, to the blogosphere.
It's pretty clear that the GOP is flunking Political Priorities 101.
It's one thing to encumber an adult's ability to buy affordable healthcare coverage; it's another to target children, America's future, with the most damaging and far-reaching education policy ever to be implemented on a national scale: the Common Core, an exhaustive set of allegedly "rigorous" K-12 education standards aiming to make graduates "college and career ready".
Common Core is one of the real and present dangers our nation faces, economically, politically, and culturally. But the Republican Party, as usual, is trying to ice the bruises and bandage the cuts from a botched Obamacare rollout when the patient is experiencing the rapid and ravaging spread of a cancer we should have diagnosed years ago.
The Common Core was initially introduced to us as a set of "rigorous standards", applicable to mathematics and the literary arts, that will prepare our children for competition in a global economy, providing a uniform academic standard of measurement for every public school in the country. They claimed they were "internationally benchmarked" and would make our K-12 students "career and college ready".
The results have been far from what we were promised, but neither this or the fact that not a single educator approved the final standards hasn't stopped Bill Gates from expressing strong support for the admirable cause Common Core espouses to serve, giving $200 million to fund the efforts of bureaucrats from various Big Ed institutions, including the Department of Education, Achieve Inc., and the Council of Chief State School Officers, to craft the set of standards.
In 2011, 45 states quietly adopted Common Core standards through the National Governor's Association, and the mainstream media didn't catch so much as a whiff of a story.
But the standards merely laid the foundation for the developing shift in standardized testing, and a hugely consequential "curricula shift" that is at once radically incompetent, and competently radical.
While the use of a uniform set of content for educators has not been mandated for Common Core, the textbook companies have already shifted to producing course material aligned with the standards, targeting their sales to capture as much of the federal subsidies states received under the Race to the Top initiative as possible, which, in wake of the recession, they eagerly accepted in exchange for signing on to Common Core.
The result is a curricula market that is flooded with Common Core material tailored to meet the extensive set of standards, making alternative course material difficult to find and more expensive. It's infected the bloodstream of American education, and every public school, every cell, will manifest the consequences.
Take note that Common Core shares this in common with Obamacare: they aren't top-down mandates per se, but a steadily and increasingly limited range of choices. If you like your textbook, you can keep your textbook... until you can't.
Welcome to the new educational paradigm; the shift is nearly complete.
Although the battle against this disease seems like a losing one at the moment, we have the technology to at least track its symptoms as it spreads. The internet is one of society's most effective tools, and you can find copious parent and teacher testimonies on YouTube regarding the negative content and deeply leftist approach in the K-12 textbooks, including demonstrations of social justice themes and lessons for 1st graders on how to use "emotional words" to provoke anger or sadness in their readers to get them to do what they want, which not only teach children to manipulate people on an emotional level, but stunt their rational thinking and their ability to empathize.
grades as low as 2nd grade up through high school. The standards for the elementary grades focus heavily on sexual orientation and "how to recognize different family structures", even how to argue for their value (you can guess what "family structure" means here). Planned Parenthood is seeking to get into the textbook industry as well, providing children as young as 2nd grade with graphic illustrations of masturbation.
Not all this content is mandated by federal law, but Common Core has yanked open the door, previously left ajar, to full-blown indoctrination and re-education.
In mathematics, where the majority of students already struggle, the designers of the Common Core Standards have taken a most unscientific, uneducated, and unprecedented approach to teaching math. Commentators are cracking a lot of jokes about the "right is wrong" nature of the Common Core math curricula, where 3x4 can equal 11, "estimative math" is encouraged, and the answer to 7x6 isn't "42"--it's 42 circles drawn on the page, but it really isn't that funny.
Multiple psychologists have criticized the radically incompetent, damaging and stress-inducing standards placed on children whose brains can't fully comprehend what's being asked of them, but instead are trained on the right answers in order to pass their tests. For instance, one of the uniform K-12 math standards is to "reason abstractly and quantitatively", and one of the kindergarten standards asks 5 year olds to "fluently add and subtract within 5", despite the fact that anyone who's ever spoken with a 5 year old knows that the former is impossible, and the latter will take massive amounts of class time to train on.
Psychologist Dr. Megan Koshnik asserted that to teach by these standards, teachers "would have to wear the hat of a magician".
Without a solid foundation of concrete understanding, they'll have to learn all over again in the upper grades, or even be held back.
Graduation won’t be the joyous occasion your teenager hoped for, as he contemplates the choices left for him without the skills needed for college STEM classes; he may be incapable of even gaining entrance into the selective institutions of higher education. High school will be spent learning all the basic qualitative skills they should have mastered in the lower grades, and freshman year at college will be spent learning all the math and science competencies they should have gained in high school—only these classes are much more expensive.
At the same time that we're pushing advanced concepts on immature brains of elementary school, the level of "rigor" we should expect from high schoolers simply doesn't exist. Do they read the classics? No, though they might read a few pages from each, and maybe Mark Twain's "Jumping Frog".
In a competently radical fashion, Common Core requires a 50-50 split between literature and informational works, increasing to 70% by 12th grade. Going back to the themes of social justice, this required space for non-fiction texts is the perfect platform for activist education, for taking up even more of a students brain space with anti-American sentiments, the positive societal impact of 99% movement, and the imminent dangers of climate change. Not only that, but as a Hillsdale professor illustrated, this is destroying any creativity of thought or imagination that might have survived the previous 9 years of dictatorial classroom training.
So you've gotten just a glimpse of Common Core's threat to public K-12 education. You'd think the direct impact of Common Core would cease when the grads throw their caps, but the cancer has reached beyond the involuntary organs to infect the higher functions, our education's voluntary institutions of higher learning.
The SAT and ACT have already reformed their tests to align with the Common Core standards. That means not only that universities will be basing entrance evaluations off exams that aren't meant to test college readiness, but rather the results of Common Core education, but that private and homeschooled students will be at a disadvantage going into it, not having the same base knowledge or skills (if you can call them that) as the public school student.
The many emotions that course through me when I think of Common Core are overwhelming, at once a burning rage and an ice cold fear.
As someone who was homeschooled and then graduated college two years early, I am severely disappointed that even fewer people will have the kind of opportunity a rigorous education provides. I'm despondent over the fact that if your kid doesn't have a brain exactly wired to be receptive to Common Core methodology, they'll likely be labeled as defective or remedial learners, just because they learn differently.
The thought that some of the world's most brilliant minds will go unrecognized and dis-incentivized in a classroom that stifles independent thought and creativity crushes my spirit. They will likely never know or reach their potential, all because some bureaucrats thought they knew how to teach your kids better than you or their teacher can.
As a future mother, I am outraged on behalf of the kids I will someday have, whose futures I'm seeking to protect. What future am I preparing them for, if I remain speechless and compliant?
And as an American, I have a much deeper and more intense fear of Common Core's effect on our country than I do of Obama's limitations on health insurance and incompetently run healthcare exchange.
Common Core is not just putting "health" and education in the iron grasp of government bureaucrats. It is putting your children's future, and their children's future, under the watchful gaze and manipulative hands of a radical elite aimed at indoctrination and social control. And the thing is, the next generation won't have the intellectual capability, much less the freedom, to fight back.
It's past time Republicans wise up and reassess their priorities. Your biggest threat is not the most visible, the surface wounds from the Affordable Care Act; it is the disease that's spreading rapidly, almost unhindered, through the our education system. It's Common Core, and competent radicals will not yield to an opposition that doesn't take the fight to them.