Common Core is a unique issue in American politics because it has the ability to unite a variety of people from different end of the spectrum who agree on little else other than Common Core must be stopped. The reason so many people have joined forces on this issue is because they have found common bonds as parents and Americans concerned for their children and the future of America.
On July 22, 2014 Glenn Beck hosted a live, interactive event at 700 theaters across the country in order to formulate a plan of action for Americans to fight Common Core. During the show, the audience had the ability to email or tweet at Beck as well as participate in surveys to better gage the most successful types of efforts.
“This is something we all can unite on,” Beck said, “And we don’t really have a choice.” Parents across the country, regardless of political background, have witnessed the effects of the age inappropriate and unnecessary complexity that the Common Core standards have on their children. A group of parents and students gathered in the Blaze’s New York studio explained how Common Core causes needless frustration among students and takes away their desire to learn.
The standards espouse a “one-size fits all” style that disregards the fact that individual students learn differently. Brandon Gibson, a New York student, explained “Common Core makes you do it their way.” This approach has negative effects on many students who do not learn the Common Core way. Alphonsine Eglberth, a mother of a third grade student, told the audience that her son had to go to therapy when he was seven because of the frustration and anger he experienced as a result of Common Core.
The event featured an array of people from activists, to parents, to politicians willing to equip ordinary Americans with the necessary resources to stop Common Core in their own states and localities. The group was divided into five tables (research and resources, grassroots, alternatives, politics, and messaging) each geared toward providing different strategies to fight Common Core.
Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, asserted that the biggest issue with repealing Common Core is that the federal government gave the states money to implement it. If states want to continue to receive these federal funds for education, they have to conform to the federal standards. [FreedomWorks provides an overview of the issues with the Common Core standards here]
Jenni White, founder of Restore Oklahoma Public Education, agreed citing her own experience in trying to repeal Common Core in her state. In attempting to obtain answers, White found the biggest obstacle to be the state chamber of commerce. The reason for this difficulty is that the Gates Foundation has given large sums of money to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to promote Common Core, and this has extended to the states as well.
Kathleen Jasper, founder of ConversationEd and a former high school administrator, although she holds very different political views, partnered with Glenn Beck in the effort to halt Common Core. She echoed Kibbe’s and White’s ideas that the money is one of the main issues. Jasper argued that parents must work against the machine. She explained that certain corporations are profiting off of the tests and textbooks for Common Core. The tests are designed for children to fail so that the companies make more money off of students repeatedly taking the tests and purchasing the materials for preparation. Jasper claimed that the best way to stop the machine is to boycott high stakes testing, which stops the “fuel.” [ConversationEd will host a webinar on August 24th about these tests]
With Common Core, students legally only have to take a third grade and a high school assessment, but schools offer many more tests more often. The research and resources table emphasized the importance of parents knowing their rights and holding the school boards and administrations accountable for the decisions they make about testing the students. Parents can opt out of these tests for their children, even if schools make it difficult.
In gathering information, it is important to go back to the original source to verify facts. Shane Vander Hart, president of Truth in American Education, expounded on this concept saying the impetus was Race to the Top; states wanted federal funding so they agreed to implement Race to the Top, which was $4.3 billion in earmarks. To understand Common Core, citizens should look at Race to the Top contracts as well as the National Governors’ Association, which asked the federal government to fund Common Core. Many organizations and think tanks have public records available to view. Additionally, citizens can also contact their local officials to request public records.
“Nothing is more disruptive than an informed citizen,” asserted author and syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin. Parents must know their rights and exercise them to stop this unconstitutional takeover of education. As Emmett McGroarty, director of education at the American Principles Project, stated “Common Core ushers in a highly defective curriculum…[and] undermines the Constitution.” In this way, Common Core provides a “blueprint” for foisting other policies on the people without their approval.
In addition to being informed, action is critical. A live poll concluded that Twitter was the most effective means to spread the word about Common Core. The grassroots table explained that face-to-face (or mom-to-mom) contact is also essential. With this effort, parents can find common ground to discuss the issues at hand. The table also suggested to use pictures and examples (such as Common Core worksheets) whenever possible in order to make Common Core something real and personal so parents don’t view it as something abstract but rather something that is in their own homes.
Along with spreading the message to other parents, legislators must be made aware of the dissatisfaction with Common Core to actually bring about policy change. Kibbe stated that it is key to “get parents to understand what a difference they can make…Politicians respond to incentives. Parents represent a voting bloc that is unstoppable.”
The politics table suggested a three step plan to influence legislators and change policy. First citizens must know what they are talking about; parents must know their constitutional rights and their rights as parents. Second people must get organized; this is something visible to legislators. Finally, it is crucial to show up. Even after a repeal, it is still necessary to show up because proponents of Common Core will try to usher it back in under a new name.
It is also important to note that there are other options besides public schools using Common Core. The program discussed homeschooling, online education or “distance learning”, and charter schools, specifically in the classical model. Dr. Terrence Moore, founder of Atlanta Classical Academy, asserted that Common Core is attempting to knock out school choice when the evidence is revealing the success of classical charter schools. He also argued that it is essential to take back the public schools because they are taxpayer funded and they control the future of America.
In discussing the most successful method of communicating about Common Core to bring about change, the messaging table highlighted the importance of finding common ground with others. This common ground could be the well-being of children or local control.
The complete plan of action, with viewer input, is available at commoncorefails.com. Now is the time to act before Common Core is firmly implanted in schools and produces catastrophic effects. As Heidi Huber, founder of Ohioans Against Common Core, stated, “You can restore your country if you take back your classroom.”
Image originally published at http://www.theblaze.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Beck-We-Will-Not-Conform.png