By Johnnie-Ann Campbell
Summer is over and school is back is session, but education in America is a far cry from what it used to be. Thanks to Common Core, matters are only going to get worse.
Common Core is a set of federal standards for education in key subjects such as math and language arts. The standards don’t end there, though, they’re also currently being developed for science and social studies curriculum. However, when you take a good look at the core of these standards, it’s really just politics at its best: bribery, deceit, backroom deals and over-regulation.
Special Interest Groups Continue to Dominate the Reigns
You’d think federal standards would be developed by the federal government, right? Not in this case. Instead, big business and special interest groups created Common Core State Standards. You see, in the mid-90s the National Governors Association, along with several national corporations, created Achieve, Inc. a D.C.-based non-profit that’s the “leading voice for the college-and career-ready agenda.” Achieve financial contributors include big businesses like AT&T (T), The Boeing Company (BA), Chevron (CVX), Cisco (CSCO), IBM (IMB) and Prudential (PRU). Achieve began developing federal benchmarks and standards in 1998 and soon after, sponsored a summit to determine the “must have skills” desired by America’s top employers. Put simply: the Common Core initiative was started and continues to be pushed by politicians and special interest groups – not educators or parents.
A History of Grooming the System
In 2007, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli Broad Foundation partnered and pledged $60 million to create what’s now known as Common Core. The following year, the Gates Foundation gave over $2 million to politicians and other investors to promote the adoption of a federal curriculum. But it gets even more muddied in big business. In 2009, executives from the Gates Foundation were hired as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s Chief of Staff and as the head of the Office of Innovation and Improvement. Since joining the initiative, the Gates Foundation has invested more than $160 million in the Common Core State Standards.
But the Gates Foundation and the Eli Broad Foundation aren’t alone. The GE Foundation, of General Electric (GE), and its CEO Jeffrey Immelt, have made investments of their own. That’s right, the very same Immelt who said of China: “State-run communism may not be your cup of tea, but their government works. You know?” And this mess of a web only gets bigger with key players such as the Department of Education, Secretary of Education Duncan, Achieve Inc. and Pearson Publishing (PSO) all pushing the standards onto teachers and students. And don’t forget the mouthpieces like the Fordham Institute, Hunt Institute and Jeb Bush’s The Foundation for Excellence in Education, who all use their platforms to push the Common Core agenda.
Blatant Ulterior Motives
The education system is just another cash cow to heave around for these industry giants (not that they’re the only ones using our education system for self-gain). Pearson Publishing stands to gain a lot from Common Core. The UK-based company operates in more than 70 countries but 60% of its sales come from North America. Pearson already has a monopoly on public education in America and only stands to gain from Common Core implementation. According to Peter Cohen, CEO of Pearson’s K-12 division, Pearson School, “It’s a really big deal. The Common Core standards are affecting literally every part of the business we’re involved in.“ I’m sure it does when Common Core is estimated to cost districts nearly $8 billion in educational materials just to implement the standards.
Don’t get me wrong: Standards in education aren’t necessarily a bad thing. To be sure, they aid in holding students and teachers accountable, and they often influence successes in education. However, the problem stems from who is creating these standards, and those who should be but aren’t – states, educators and parents, for example, have no part in developing the standards. Maybe Common Core’s creators and investors had good intentions in developing the benchmarks, but we all know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Somewhere along the way, any good intentions that existed have long been trampled by the pursuit of money…
Article submitted by: Veronica Coffin