| April 22, 2010
The Common Core Standards have finished the public comment phase and are now undergoing final revisions. There has been much criticism of them from individuals and groups, both parents and experts, across the country.
The following testimony was prepared for the Minnesota House Education Policy Committee informational meeting on the Common Core Standards Initiative that was held April 7th. Due to time constraints, not all of Dr. Effrem’s testimony was given. The audio is available here(Follow link for April 7, 2010 hearing starting at 1:29:45). Much alarm was raised by all of the testifiers that included two outside experts intimately involved in the development of Minnesota’s nation leading math standards, Dr. Larry Gray of the University of Minnesota and Ellen Delaney, a veteran math teacher, about the math standards. Minnesota Department of Education staff raised some concerns about the English standards, but not enough in our view, especially when compared to the written comments of national experts. No teachers or others involved with the development of the English standards post Minnesota’s disastrous Profile of Learning testified at the hearing.
The Common Core Standards are an absolute requirement for the Race to the Top (RTTT) federal grant program. Failure to adopt them by August 2, 2010 will lose partial points and failure to show evidence of adoption by December 31, 2010 will result in loss of 20 points in the RTTT application. Failure of evidence of implementation of them and the aligned national assessments will result in loss of another 10 points, according to the scoring rubric. The standards must be adopted verbatim and there is no alternative to them, such as certification by a higher education institution.
This hearing comes at a time when many states are both deciding on adoption of the Common Core Standards and whether t o apply for the second round of RTTT funds. The second round applications are due June 1st. Sadly, despite both the grave implications of nationalizing curriculum and assessments even more than under No Child Left Behind and the very poor quality of these standards, states are seriously considering adopting them. For instance, despite comments to the contrary, putative conservative presidential candidate Governor Tim Pawlenty introduced a legislative proposal on April 20th to have legislative leaders provisionally adopt these standards. The state department of education would then adopt them by expedited rulemaking authority without any public input whatsoever.
This appalling nationalization of education needs to be discussed in legislatures across the country, as well as with state legislative and gubernatorial candidates and those running for Congress. Continue reading »
A valiant bipartisan effort to remove the Common Core Standards language from the Senate omnibus education policy bill was narrowly defeated on the evening of May 4th. This language was the same that was defeated and that we warned you about in the House bill last week. It would adopt the yet to be completed national standards by expedited rulemaking authority, meaning no public hearing, all to gain 20 points in the unconstitutional, sovereignty-robbing Race to the Top program. These national standards, especially because they are likely to become the basis for federal funding for No Child Left Behind, and as confirmed by many respected groups, such as the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Heartland Institute, will become a de facto federal government run curriculum.
Senator David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) offered the amendment in committee that would have taken out that odious standards language. It was eloquently supported by Senator Kevin Dahle (DFL-Northfield) and Senator Gen Olson (R-Minnetrista). Continue reading »
Karen R. Effrem, MD – President
Origins and Implication of Race to the Top
Without the slightest bit of legislative discussion in either chamber, the Obama administration quietly slipped $4.35 billion of education funding into the stimulus (“porkulus”) bill passed last year for a program called Race to the Top (RTTT).
With the nearly one trillion dollars spent for the stimulus as well as the trillions spent or proposed for the federal budget, health care, and cap and trade legislation one might reasonably wonder why a few billion dollars for more federal education spending is any big deal. The answer is that federal government is using this program to bribe states to accept even more federal control of education, a constitutionally and traditionally state function. This dangerous trend of more federal control of education was greatly accelerated by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. However because of the intense opposition engendered by NCLB from all points on the political spectrum and the difficulty that the Obama administration has run into trying to implement its expansive and statist domestic agenda, RTTT is accomplishing more of that same federal control without having to go through the messy process of reauthorizing the controversial NCLB.
Components of Race to the Top
Race to the Top has several components, but there are several that are extremely dangerous for state sovereignty in education, parental rights to control the raising and education of our children, and privacy, respectively: Continue reading »
Can Florida’s Legislature Be Serious About State Sovereignty While Accepting “Race to the Top” Federal Education Funds? by: Andrew Nappi
The federal Department of Education like so many federal agencies, has no basis to exist. One cannot find justification for its existence in the constitution. One wonders then, why so many states with healthy and robust tenth amendment and sovereignty movements are rushing to get their share of “stimulus” education money offered by the Obama administration and known as “Race to the Top.”
My home country of Florida is among these states exhibiting behavior that appears to be contradictory. One would suppose state sovereignty would include “in state” control of curriculums. State sovereignty one would think, if supported by the legislature, would include a requirement that schools within the state teach this aspect of liberty as soon as the appropriate level of understanding is reached.
If what we know of Race to the Top curriculums is implemented, the states for all their bluster about their right to be free of intrusive and unlawful federal law, will have in fact handed over to supporters of an all encompassing federal and global government their most precious resource, their children. According to the St. Petersburg Times, “…Strong opposition from teachers unions could be enough to kill Florida’s chances of securing up to $700 million in federal school reform money, the state’s top education official said Wednesday…..Race to the Top is highly competitive. But Florida is widely considered a leading contender because its education policies are closely in synch with the Obama administration’s. The state’s plans for the money, crafted over months by the Florida Department of Education, are dramatic. They would accelerate changes on a suite of sensitive issues, including how teachers are trained, evaluated and paid….” Continue reading »
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