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The Road to Common Core: One Way or the Highway

Opposition continues to build toward Common Core, the behemoth, pseudo state education program tucked quietly into the federal government’s hip pocket. People are waking up, and big names in the freedom movement have joined the charge.

On Tuesday, July 22, at the Provo Towne Center’s Cinemark 16 Theater, Glenn Beck presented “We will Not Conform”, his effort to relegate this program to the federal funeral pyre. Joining him were Michelle Malkin, journalist and author, David Barton of WallBuilders, and Dana Loesch of The Blaze Network, along with parents, former school administrators, legislators and organizers from all sides of the political spectrum who are deeply invested in junking this program.

The Provo event, one of 700 simultaneously held nationwide, was well-attended. Conducted in a live interactive format, viewers participated by texting answers to polls taken during the show and tweeting questions and comments. One impression took center stage: this issue needs to be thoroughly vetted by parents. If investigations match accusations, your children could be wrestling with an octopus.

Controversy rages over Common Core. In an age where things are not always as they seem, parental vigilance stands between help and harm for kids. Two adamant opinions currently argue over which is the help and which is the harm in education. We all want what’s best for our kids, so parents of every political persuasion consistently donate time, attention and effort to give their children the best shot at life. We make them priority #1.

Many objections were raised to Common Core at Tuesday’s event and every attendee likely concocted his own Molotov cocktail on the topic. The lack of local control is a huge concern. Once the veneer of state origination is stripped away and federal funding is exposed, the idea of local control becomes a charade. Parents lose what little influence they’ve got left in their children’s education under Common Core, and anything that takes control from parents hurts their kids.

Another major theme is that this program is untested. Unbelievably, the radically new procedures in Common Core are being implemented nationwide without any data to show that they work—that they help students, improve education, produce genuine learning, and cause no harm. This is like drafting plans for a novel new automobile and taking it into production without building a prototype to see if the darned thing even runs. Some educators have a high school crush on the Core, but they have only hollow hopes—promises of anticipated benefits, not evidence of proven results. This is absurd. Our children are not experimental animals. We heard the same Utopian rhetoric from No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, both of which bombed.

Further, Common Core was developed by business gurus, not educators. Why is your child’s education in a tycoon’s business model? Could your children become profit pawns, made possible by the data collection on personality profiles and preferences that partners with the Core? Some credit the involvement of these tycoons to unselfish, altruistic motives, but, then, some people still believe in the Easter Bunny. Our children are not for sale.

The saddest objection to Common Core came from six parents and their children, ranging from grades 3 through 9, who explained Common Core’s One Way or the Highway approach to problem solving. With many ways to solve a math problem, for instance, only the one method taught by Common Core gets you a correct score on the test. That one method is not simple or easy; rather the math taught is long, convoluted and nonsensical. Use any other method and you fail, even with the correct answer. This is absurd. There’s no learning to think here, just a demand to follow the leader. Why?

Parents told of kindergartners taking 80 minute computer tests and high school tests hours long. They talked of children whose self-esteem was shredded, of children who begged to not go to school. High schoolers told of boring technical texts as reading assignments rather than the age old classics that develop moral character. Activists reported test failures ranging as high as 50%; not surprising when you learn that the business tycoons behind Common Core also sell the tests and double their money for each child that fails and must be re-tested.

There are too many rotten apples in this barrel. Parents must investigate carefully and then talk to each other, to teachers, and to state legislators about this pivotal issue. Grandparents can help. Resistance is likely, but Common Core is still stoppable at the state level. The future of children and education is at stake. The following websites can help you: www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com, www.truthinamericaneducation.com, www.FreedomWorks.org. “We Will Not Conform” will play again at the same theater Tuesday, July 29. It would be wise for you to be there.

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