As teachers throughout the country introduced the new Common Core curriculum—the federal standards for mathematics and English Language Arts—in their classrooms this fall, most parents had no idea this radical change in their children’s education was coming. Some might have noticed over the past month that there were dramatic changes in the textbooks and tests that their children were bringing home. Others may have noticed that in language arts, their children are now being introduced to some very different kinds of books—texts with more emphasis on technical or informational material, and less emphasis on classical literature. It would be difficult not to notice, as the Common Core curriculum is a dramatic change in the ways in which education is being delivered. Yet, few parents, and even fewer elected political representatives, knew this was coming.
A recent poll by Phi Delta Kappa International and Gallup revealed that 62 percent of the population has never heard about the Common Core curriculum. Now that they are finally finding out about what can only be called a federal takeover of public education, it may be too late. The curriculum has been created, the books have been purchased, and the standards have been implemented. Assessment testing has already begun. Many are asking how something like this could happen without parental and local input. Others are wondering how education could have become federalized when there are already laws in place to prevent just such federal intervention?
The answer is that it was a stealthy appropriation by the federal government to take control of the curriculum in the local public schools—and now, in some private schools also. The federal takeover involved no parental input, and very little involvement by elected representatives. It had to be done covertly because there are indeed laws protecting states against unwanted federal intrusion into the educational curriculum of local school districts. The General Education Provisions Act, the Department of Education Organization Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act all protect states against intrusion by the United States Department of Education. The problem is that the “intrusion” has not been entirely “unwanted” by state political leaders—especially the governors of each state. Enlisting the state governors as allies in the creation of the curriculum through the National Governor’s Association, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation used the lure of more than $150 million in grant money—and the promise of future federal funds—to convince the leaders of budget-strapped states to support the federal standards.
Working collaboratively with the Obama administration, the Gates Foundation helped to subsidize the creation of a national curriculum that has now been adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia. Endowing the creation of the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed an additional $76 million to support teachers in implementing the Common Core—a standardized national curriculum. This, on top of the more than 100 million they have already awarded to the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to develop the Common Core in the first place.
Read the rest here: http://www.crisismagazine.com/2013/the-federal-takeover-of-catholic-education