Feds Launch Massive Takeover of K-12 Education

by Jennifer Kabbany - Associate Editor on January 31, 2013

Changes are headed to your child’s school — big ones — and they’re not good.

The federal government has mounted a massive effort to control what students are expected to learn, how they are to be tested, what they will be tested on, and so forth.

These changes are called “common core standards,” but any time the feds try to run anything, it never turns out well. Yet the folks in Washington think they know best what and how to teach kids in your town? Yikes.

But the changes are afoot. California Schools Chief Tom Torlakson, in a recent announcement, stated that with the state’s budget fiasco averted, education officials can now focus on fully implementing these so-called common core standards. Education leaders across the nation are taking similar measures.

As one conservative school board member from Murrieta, a city of about 100,000 people in Southern California, points out: Problem No. 1 is parents don’t even really know it’s happening.

“Oh, it’s not on the radar, and that’s what’s scary,” said the Murrieta school board member, Paul Diffley, who helps oversee a K-12 school district with about 22,000 students and two dozen campuses. “I have mentioned this to parents, and they look at me and say, ‘What is common core?’ ”

Bureaucrats have billed common core standards as a way to align what students learn nationally, so everyone is on the same page so to speak. However, it’s more about the federal government controlling schools and what students are taught.

Once common core is instituted, “school boards and local superintendents will be largely meaningless, and what we have to say about curriculum, and what we have to say about the particular needs of particular students, will be meaningless,” Diffley said, adding that’s a big problem.

“Students in Murrieta are not the same as students in Compton, students in the Silicon Valley, or students in Mississippi or Louisiana,” he said.

The common core academic changes proposed also hurt the learning experience, Diffley said, referring to their emphasis on non-fiction for English classes at the expense of literature and creative writing.

“We are going to lose a lot of fiction, where the core of rich vocabulary is learned,” he said.

What’s more, common core math standards eliminate Algebra I in the eighth grade. Instead, it will be taught in ninth grade. Another change pushes division from fifth to sixth grade.

“They have an overall lack of rigor,” Diffley said. “It’s the dumbing-down of education.”

Among many conservatives who have sounded the alarm against common core, columnist Michelle Malkin earlier this month published a two-part commentary that detailed the curriculum’s many, many faults. In her columns, Malkin cites a parade of professors who warn these new federal academic standards are subpar, and lists resources for those willing to fight common core’s implementation.

“Spread the word,” Malkin wrote. “Get informed, and get active.”

Click here to read Malkin’s column.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Susanna-Gordon/100000211804075 Susanna Gordon

    I work in education. This article barely touches on the real issue of a federally controlled curriculum, which is that it is brainwashing to implement the left agenda.

    Lies about our history, distortions of historical truths, and most of all, openly teaching liberalism and socialism in the class room, especially high school – and insidiously teaching it buried in the curriculum taught from the first grade on. The lies and distortions our children are taught about the Europeans, and the constant bashing of America and Western Civilization are shocking.

    Ask your children if they are ever taught that this is a great country that saved the world in two wars, saved Korea in another, rebuilt our enemies into democracies, helped any country that needed us and always honored our commitments? Not happening. Ask them if they are taught how amazing our Founders were. Not a chance.

    The steady stream of denigrating America and Western Civilization has led to a generation of voters who do not understand who were are (were) and are ungrateful for what we are. Hence, voters who are ignorant as to the dangers of Barry Soetero as president.

    My child’s high school history teacher openly preaches that Conservatism is bad, and liberalism (the failure of the 20th century) is the hope of the future. The teachers,most almost all of whom are leftists, openly violate state law to constantly talk about the greatness of Obama, especially to the students who are, or will soon be eligible to vote.

    Even high school students know to agree with their teachers’ political viewpoint or risk a lower grade.

    This is one more area where the Progressives have been at work for one hundred years.

    Given the absolute assault on our students ideologically from the left, it is amazing there are any Conservatives at all. Think how many there might be had our children not been taught liberalism since kindergarten.

    This sort of brainwashing used to be confined to college professors, it is now endemic in high schools. As for the colleges, this has been going on there since the early 1900s, but now any pretense of a comprehensive education is gone. Our colleges are completely controlled by the left.

  • VeryOldB

    In addition, this “common core” agenda will serve to undermine the autonomy of parochial schools and infect their curricula, as you can count on the Social Justice Catholics who are against “Bush’s wars” and the death penalty but “pro choice” on abortion and euthanasia to proudly carry this new “standard” into the parishes.

  • http://profiles.google.com/licavolisr Michael Licavoli

    Back in the hay days of the Soviet Union, the soviets bragged about how a primary student could leave a classroom in Minsk one day arrive in Siberia the next, attend class and continue on the same page of text.Perhaps this is what the prez has in mind.