By: Brent Parrish
In Part 1, we took a look at what the Common Core (CC) standards are all about, and their close compliance with the aims and goals of UNESCO and the U.S. Department of Education. We also looked at how there was very little public comment or debate on Common Core prior to its adoption. We also learned Common Core is a “national program, written by a national team,” which contradicts proponents’ claims that CC is a voluntary States’ initiative.
In this article, we will look at the origins of Common Core, and a little more on just what CC is all about. And we will also begin to ask who is behind the push for Common Core; and what are their ultimate goals and aims.
We left off with the “great bait and switch” grant program called Race to the Top (RTTT), created by the federal government to entice States to adopt the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI)—sight unseen—by holding out perks and rewards for States that comply with the CC standards, and withholding Title I grant money for schools in States that do not comply with the Common Core scheme.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
Federal meddling in education is nothing new. In 2002, the George W. Bush Administration in gave us No Child Left Behind. Critics of NCLB have claimed, that while the goals of No Child Left Behind were admirable, the program was overly ambitious, and the requirements for school performance too strict. Conservative critics of NCLB and Common Core object to any federal role in education policy, let alone the curriculum.
One of the more compelling points Michael Chapman brings up in his presentation on the links between UNESCO and Common Core is the assertion by Common Core proponents that the adoption of national education standards by the States is voluntary. But NCLB mandates school districts be held accountable to the N.A.E.P—the National Assessment on Educational Progress, sometimes referred to as the “Nation’s Report Card”—which mandates content of the NAEP reflect voluntary national standards. A mandate hardly sounds voluntary.
Chapman expounds further on the ramifications of NCLB in his presentation by revealing an interesting timeline of education legislation passed in the 1990’s that provides an expanded framework and strengthened foundation for the current Common Core standards.
In 1994, the U.S. Congress set goals for “standards-based education reform,” based on the principles of “outcome-based education,” by signing into law the Goals 2000 Act, which included changes for content in education. As Michael Chapman points out, “you fix the content and structure of education, you change education.” Goals 2000 gave us a national curriculum, a national test (NAEP), and a national teachers’ licensing rule. All 50 states agreed to the changes on the promise of federal grants.
Additionally, in 1994, the School-To-Work Opportunities Act (STW) was passed, introducing the concept of “career clusters” (now lovingly called “smaller learning communities”) into the lexicon. (One reason we might be seeing the federal government funneling more and more money to charter schools?) The concept behind “smaller learning communities” is to retro-fit the student with the skills (ability) necessary to meet the needs of the future … which assumes we can predict the future.
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
— Karl Marx
Chapman also brings up an often overlooked piece of legislation passed in 1998 called the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The WIA set up state, local and community investment boards to manage all the education changes proposed in Goals 2000 and SWT. The WIA also brings in the term “appointed representatives.” Critics of Common Core have charged that the whole national standards push is really “education without representation,” and his been set up as a great “bait and switch.” With terms like “appointed representatives,” it certainly gives critics fodder, does it not?
Although the advertised intent of Goals 2000, and related legislation, was the laws would eventually “sunset.” The No Child Left Behind law locked in all of the goals of Goals 2000 in place under the pretense of “sun-setting” Goals 2000.
On September 23, 2011, President Obama remarked on NCLB and pronounced:
“Congress hasn’t been able to do it. So I will. Our kids only get one shot at a decent education. They cannot afford to wait any longer. So, given that Congress cannot act, I am acting.”
Kayla Webley at Time wrote :
“This does not mean that states will be able to lower their standards or escape accountability,” Obama said in speech at the White House. “In fact, the way we’ve structured this, if states want more flexibility, they’re going to have to set higher standards, more honest standards, that prove they’re serious about meeting them.” These new standards will largely come from the same reform measures included in Obama Administration’s existing Race to the Top competitive grant program, and in order to qualify for waivers, states will have to do three things:
First, they must adopt the Common Core curriculum…. The adoption of a national curriculum represents a shift from NCLB, under which states could set their own standards….
Second, states must develop plans to overhaul the lowest-performing schools…. Obama’s plan only requires states implement drastic reforms in the bottom 5% of schools….
Third, and perhaps most controversially, states will have to implement a rigorous system of evaluations for teachers and principals based on student progress over time, which is most often measured by standardized test scores.
The Democratic political strategy in promoting Common Core to the American populace has always been to sell it as a local or State initiative.
Via the the Editors of Rethinking Schools:
For starters, the misnamed “Common Core State Standards” are not state standards. They’re national standards, created by Gates-funded consultants for the National Governors Association (NGA). They were designed, in part, to circumvent federal restrictions on the adoption of a national curriculum, hence the insertion of the word “state” in the brand name. States were coerced into adopting the Common Core by requirements attached to the federal Race to the Top grants and, later, the No Child Left Behind waivers. (This is one reason many conservative groups opposed to any federal role in education policy oppose the Common Core.)
The creation by the U.S. Department of Education of the RTTT grant competition, and Obama’s NCLB waivers, set up a scenario where States were rewarded with funding for adopting Common Core Standards, and denied funding if they declined. Not only that, State governors had very little time to vote on Common core standards. So Common Core standards were adopted with very little input from State legislatures as well.
Once again, we see Barack Obama bypass Congress in order to push through national education standards by declaring a “crisis” in education—”we must act now.” But is that the entire purpose for Common Core in the first place? To create a crisis in education?
And who would benefit from creating a crisis in education? Could it the same people who benefited from creating the housing, banking and alleged healthcare crisis? If a crisis is created in education, what will be the solution to the crisis? Complete federal takeover of education? Another fat stimulus package for the president to supposedly provide a solution to the crisis? Strategy of Manufactured Crisis? Create the problem; control the reaction; provide the solution? Once again, who does this benefit?
Any of this sound familiar?
Outcome-Based Education (OBE)
As we step back into time, we see that Common Core is just a new variation on a very old theme—Outcome-Based Education (OBE) … the Dialectic applied to education.
Dr. Peg Luksik, one of the sources for this article, is a teacher with over 35 years of experience in both special and elementary education, and a former advisor to the U.S. Department of Education. She has extensive experience in assessments in a classroom setting and has written and evaluated curriculum, as well as authoring several books on education issues. I have found her work to be quite compelling in exposing the Common Core and OBE agenda.
At a town meeting in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, on August 3, 1992, (over twenty years ago) Dr. Luksik explained the concept behind outcome-based education as a process where everybody gets an A. However long it takes to get there is okay—time varies. Whether a student is 14 or 21 when they graduate, it does not matter. Everything revolves around “meeting the goals.”
A process of remediation is used on students until all goals are met, or they do not graduate. Instead of goals like geography, mathematics, history, reading, science and STEM subjects, and so on, the curriculum has been shifted toward things like “adaptability to change, ethical judgements, proper environmental attitudes, understanding and appreciating others,” etc. With every goal is an “exit outcome”—a list of behaviors that must be demonstrated to prove the student has met the goals, explains Dr. Luksik.
Most people would think of education standards as measures for content and knowledge. But in the world of Common Core, there is no right or wrong—no A’s or F’s. Students “dialog to a consensus,” and teachers become facilitators—the purpose being social interaction (experience), not acquiring knowledge.
Once again, everything revolves around “meeting the goals”—meaning: assessing if the student accepts the radical changes (goals) in beliefs, feelings, values and behaviors deemed necessary for “global citizenship” in the 21st Century (21st Century Learning Skills). The worker of the future must be able to work within a planned economy, pushing forward to a more “sustainable future” … Soviet poly-tech, vocational, workforce training for a Brave New World, if you ask me.
Think I’m kidding?
Something to consider: the original director for UNESCO was Julian Huxley, whose brother was Aldous Huxley, author of a Brave New World.
The Mike Wallace Interview: Aldous Huxley (1958-05-18)
Let me introduce two terms you might be familiar with: “human capital” and “human resources.” But before I explain why I bring up these two terms, let me return to the whole notion of semantic manipulation—the language used to mask the agenda.
Earlier, I wrote about the hijacking of terms like “critical thinking” by the authors of Common Core. The goal is to create a paradigm shift in thinking that defines “higher-order critical thinking” or “critical thinking skills” as synonymous with “21st Century Learning Skills.” The goal of both formal and informal education, according to the proponents of Common Core, is no longer knowledge and comprehension, but rather to change attitudes and behaviors—which is done by attempting to change values and beliefs.
This is what I mean by semantic manipulation: “critical thinking” is no longer defined as rational, linear thought, but rather radical changes in feelings, beliefs, values and behaviors, i.e “higher-order critical thinking skills.” It is all given “lovable labels,” i.e. semantic manipulation (Newspeak), but it represents a dramatic and radical departure from logic and reason.
The term “sustainable development” is semantic manipulation in its own right. Many of the principles of “social and economic development” put in place when the Department of Education was instituted by Jimmy Carter in 1979 are synonymous with “sustainable development.” Socialists prefer to adorn socialism with lovable labels like “social democracy” or “economic democracy” these days. Semantic manipulation at its finest.
The proponents of globalism and socialist-style education also extend this semantic manipulation to the concept of “human capital” and “human resources.” In Common Core, we see a shift away from learning toward training. We also see a move away from testing toward assessing students. Since the primary purpose of testing is no longer the concrete measure of knowledge comprehension, but rather assessing changes in attitudes and behaviors, students are instead assessed according to their value to society—“human capital” … “human resources.”
Question: Just who is behind Common Core?
The topic of “human capital” provides the segue to the matter of just who is behind Common Core and how it all came about.
In 1989, the Governors’ Conference on Education (“Schools, Goals & the 1990s”), called by President George H. Bush, was held in Wichita, Kansas. One of the guest speakers was Dr. Shirley McCune—then Senior Director of the Mid-Continental Regional Educational Laboratory (McRel), under contract with the U.S. Department of Education—an advocate for education reform, a.k.a. systems education.
In her speech (see video below), McCune lays out three radical objectives for education:
- The complete restructuring of society—total transformation;
- Knowledge is no longer the primary purpose of education;
- Creating the connection between economic [sustainable] development and human capital—human resources [labor] for a planned economy.
McCune’s resume includes work with the National Education Association (NEA), the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and assisting the Kansas State Department of Education for their 21st Century program. McCune was also a Research Associate developing School-To-Work (STW) programs at Arizona State University. Shirley McCune has also authored several books on the New Age movement.
Another speaker at the same event in 1989 as Shirley McCune was Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), former Secretary of Education (1991–1993). Senator Alexander laid out his plans at the Governors’ Conference for restructuring education with concepts like “life-long learning,” “year-round schools,” “cradle-to-grave education”—government-knows-best solutions administered by experts—closely in line with Goals 2000.
Senator Lamar Alexander (former Governor of Tennessee) is good friends with current Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, who sits on the Board of Directors for Achieve, Inc.
Other “Republican” Common Core supporters include Jeb Bush (see Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) and “Chiefs for Change”) and Chris Christie. General Electric has promoted Jeb Bush; and GE has also donated millions to promote Common Core.
Once again, you have to throw at the right-left paradigm when you study the history of education in the United States. The agenda being laid out by the proponents of Common Core is a progressive, globalist agenda closely aligned with the social, cultural, economic and educational aims and goals of UNESCO.
We can see this shift in education toward globalism more clearly by going back to 1990 when President George Bush, Sr., endorsed the UNESCO “Education for All” (EFA) initiative, which was implemented in the Goals 2000 Act.
President Ronald Reagan, to his credit, resisted UNESCO, realizing them to be a bad actor. But George Schultz—most famous as Secretary of State in the Reagan Administration—helped negotiate the U.S.-USSR Education Exchange Agreement in 1985, which merged the U.S. and Soviet education systems together.
Berit Kjos wrote in 1999:
Back in 1995, George Shultz served as Chairman of the Board of Advisors of the Gorbachev Foundation, which had been “created to assist in the process of building global consensus for our common future.” The same year, he co-chaired Gorbachev’s first annual State of the World Forum in San Francisco together with Ted Turner, Maurice Strong, and other international leaders “chosen for their internationally recognized contributions to designing our emerging global civilization.” Among the speakers was author Sam Keen, who announced that —
“The ecological crisis, in short, is the population crisis. Cut the population by 90% and there aren’t enough people left to do a great deal of ecological damage.”
In 1993, President Bill Clinton created the Presidential Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD). In 1994, the PCSD published Education for Sustainability: An Agenda for Action, which laid out a plan for pushing forward with UNESCO’s “Education for All” (EFA) initiative, and the goals of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). (The Education for Sustainability document is lovingly housed over at the EPA’s web site … read more here.) All of these goals were folded into Bill Cinton’s Goals 2000 Act.
The Education for Sustainability report, and its subsequent “call to action,” was the product of a PCSD meeting held at the Presidio in San Francisco, California, in the fall of 1994. The Presidio is now home to the Gorbachev Foundation—a major player in the UN’s efforts to promote “sustainability” and fight “climate change.”
Once again, Berit Kjos wrote in 1999:
[George Shultz’s] friendship with Gorbachev dates back to his years as Secretary of State in the Reagan administration — a time when many of us simply trusted the Republican cabinet to represent American families. In the early eighties, few of us realized that Shultz and David Hamburg, President of the globalist Carnegie Corporation, were using their authority to negotiate a binding international agreement with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze. Its terms required that we trade our sophisticated education and data tracking technology for the brainwashing strategies used to indoctrinate Soviet children, modify behavior, and monitor the masses to ensure compliance with Soviet ideology. 
The prime bureaucracy behind Common Core is the U.S. Department of Education. The DOE provided the majority of the funding to create the National Governors’ Association (NGA) and the Chief Council of State School Officers (CCSSO). The NGA and the CCSSO are the two major organizations behind Common Core. The NGA created Achieve, Inc., which eventually morphed into Common Core. The NGA and the CCSSO hold the copyrights to the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI).
Outside of the federal government, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been the biggest funder of Common Core. In 2013, the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation donated $250 million to encourage the creation and adoption of Common Core. Recipients of Gates’ philanthropy include the U.S. Department of Education, National Governors’ Association (NGA), Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Fordham Institute, Foundation of Excellence in Education, Chamber of Commerce—even the Parent Teachers Association (PTA). Bill Gates also heavily funded Achieve, Inc. Gates is also supportive of the goals and aims of UNESCO.
The four big organizations behind Common Core—NGA, CCSSO, Achieve and Student Achievement Partners—have received millions of dollars in funding from the Gates Foundation, and other billionaires. Not surprisingly, the usual cadre of tax-exempt foundations and corporations like the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Institute, Rockefeller Foundation, Rand Corporation, etc., are marching lockstep behind Common Core, if not leading the charge.
But there are other major players instrumental to the implementation and adoption of Common Core standards that are are not so well-known, such as David Coleman (principal architect of the Common Core standards), who is making a nice paycheck from the Common Core gravy train.
Marc Tucker is a name that consistently comes up in my research on Common Core. Tucker is a big advocate behind the School-
Marc Tucker penned a rather famous (or infamous, depending on your position) letter in 1992 laying out his plans for restructuring education that came to be known as the “Dear Hillary Letter.”
Via the Eagle Forum:
The “Dear Hillary” letter, written on Nov. 11, 1992 by Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), lays out a plan “to remold the entire American system” into “a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone,” coordinated by “a system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels” where curriculum and “job matching” will be handled by counselors “accessing the integrated computer-based program.”
Linda Darling-Hammond—Bill Ayers’ favorite education expert, and a close friend of Bill Gates—was President Obama’s first pick for Secretary of Education. Linda Darling-Hammond was so left-leaning (cf. socialist) that not even progressives could support her nomination. Obama’s second pick, Arne Duncan, now holds the Secretary of Education position. Allegedly, Bill Ayers was livid over Barack Obama’s failure to get LDH named as the head of the U.S. Department of Education.
Linda Darling-Hammond is behind assessment tests, even curriculum. Darling-Hammond played a key role in writing the CSCOPE curriculum used in Texas, and also helped in writing the blueprint for Common Core curriculum and assessment consortia. (See “critical thinking,” “high-order thinking skills,” SBAC and PARCC tests tied to data collection, CLAS tests for assessing “attitudes.” )
Linda Darling-Hammond is reportedly a follower of the teaching of Russian Marxist and Soviet psychologist Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky. The common thread with Common Core zealots like Linda Darling-Hammond, Marc Tucker & David Coleman et al. is their belief in education based on collectivism, not on individual achievement, hence the adoration of Vygotsky’s work, which was based in the “communal process,” i.e. collectivism. Common Core architects are applying Vygotsky’s communal teaching methods to digital learning.
Another name that has popped while researching Lev Vygotsky’s relation to Common Core was Michael Horn, founder of the Innosight Institute (now the “Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation”), “a non-profit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to improving the world through disruptive innovation.” Robin Eubanks had a bit to say about Michael Horn in her interview with Trans Resister Radio, stating Horn pushes the theory there is no real difference between gaming and learning, i.e. cybernetics. Competencies, objectives and outcomes are used interchangeably according to Eubanks.
In addition to the major multinational corporations like Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, GE and Pearson, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) like UNESCO, World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are doing a lot of the curriculum, not only the two assessments for CCSSI, but for Texas (CSCOPE) as well.
National adoption of Common Core standards promises to be a big boondoggle for tech companies, and related concerns. And this is one of the more troubling and disconcerting aspects of Common Core—the tight collusion of big business and big government, under the guise of quasi-private (public-private) partnerships.
There is a simple textbook definition for the collusion of federal government with large corporations … it’s called fascism. There is no need to preface the term with any other modifier or qualifier like “economic” or “national.” The merging of big government with big business is the quintessential definition of fascism, albeit a simple one.
Of course, for the sake of argument, in a truly fascistic regime the size of the federal government actually shrinks, since the regime absorbs and takes control of all big business, thereby increasing the federal government’s power and authority—and the citizen (a.k.a. worker) funds it all. But I digress.
With Common Core’s focus on “computer learning,” tech giants like Microsoft, Cisco and Intel have become heavily involved with the assessments and testing portion of Common Core. For example, one organization involved with Common Core assessments and testing is the Assessment & Teaching of 21st Century Skills (ATC21S) international research project—sponsored by Microsoft, Cisco and Intel. The goal of ATC21S is provide “a new assessment framework with teaching and learning resources to help students develop 21st-century skills.” It is worth noting ATC21S is headquartered at the University of Melbourne, Australia. A bit off the radar, if you ask me.
But Common Core is not just about national standards for education in the United States. The Common Core initiative is about importing international standards into numerous nations. The purpose is to inculcate young minds to accept collectivism globally—wipe out patriotism … wipe out the very notion of “national sovereignty.” Apparently we all exist for the benefit of a political class now—away with the individual.
For example, CORE is an organization based in Mumbai, India, that “seeks to achieve transformation of nations by revolutionizing the key building blocks of education, namely – Teaching, Learning, Assessment & Governance.”
A clear example of the monopolistic hold some of the largest corporations associated with Common Core are achieving over education is the Pearson Foundation, a U.K. publishing company. Pearson is the largest textbook publishing conglomerate in the world, and operates in over 70 countries. They have literally taken over the fiction and non-fiction market.
The Chief Education Advisor (CEA) at Pearson is globalist extraordinaire, Sir Michael Barber of England, a promoter of “global education standards.” Barber speaks of “sustainable reform” as “irreversible reform,” and advises education policymakers to “make it so it can never go back to how it was before.”
The three major textbook publishers—Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt—have bought up almost every educational publisher over the past several years. Allegedly, Pearson is attempting to buy up McGraw-Hil. Pearson has purchased a number of textbook publishers and allowed some of them to retain their original business names.
So, even if a State opts out of Common Core, available textbooks will still support Common Core standards regardless, even though the textbooks appear to be from different publishers. This amounts to a virtual monopoly on the educational publishing market. (Communists, take note … I know ya’ll don’t like “monopolies.”)
Some left-leaning critics of CC have expressed reservations over the cookie-cutter approach Common Core takes toward education. But one would think, even more repugnant to “liberals” would be the incestuous involvement of large corporations and the federal government … particularly when you consider Rupert Murdoch supports Common Core. Right, liberals?
In Part 3, we will look at what is not in the Common Core standards—namely, the U.S. Constitution. We will also look farther back into history regarding the origins of “global standards” for education, and how they relate to Common Core. And, finally, I’ll finish up with some of my own thoughts on Common Core, and what can be done to stop it.