As parents have encountered Common Core in their children’s classrooms, then sought information about what it means, we’ve seen a nationwide brushfire of alarm. Parents must know Common Core did not randomly appear. I’m not talking about how it was created and advocated by the Gates Foundation, National Governors Association, and Council of Chief State School Officers, but the entire education edifice they represent that ensures ending Common Core will not prevent Common Core 2.0, just like stopping national education standards in Congress did not preclude Common Core.
Common Core is an outgrowth of the big business-big government consensus that dominates education and, because the mainstream education system reaches virtually every future voting citizen, is increasingly dominating every area of our lives. Name one sector of life or the economy where people are truly free in this country, or truly have the ability to influence decisions others make in our names. I dare you. In my state, a supposedly conservative one, we can’t even drink milk from a neighbor’s cow, which I did my entire childhood with only rosy cheeks to show for it. We can’t choose health insurance providers, can’t defend our property from robbers, can’t opt our children out of the Common Core complex even by homeschooling. Even in public education, we can’t choose our schools, can’t decide what we’ll pay for them, and can’t get supposedly representative school boards to give us the time of day.
Because I am a mother who lives in a hectic home with two toddlers and a tiny one on the way, I entirely understand why parents only tune in to things like this when they enter our backyards. My point is that, as tired as you are, as distracted, and as consumed with your mortgage and braces and packed lunches, this battle did not start upon reaching your door and it will not stop after it seems to have left. Pushing this away from merely your own gates only means it will reach them again, or will reach your children’s with much greater force.
The Gates Foundation has not run out of money, and neither have the others. No bureaucrats or well-credentialed but poorly experienced think tank figureheads will stop pushing nationalized education if parents, at great time and personal expense, manage to rout their glorious Common Core. They will simply prepare sharper initiatives and tighter sanctions for the next round, still using your forcibly extracted money. The Obama administration and our state departments of education already have spent and are spending billions in our tax dollars, or debt for future generations, on this entirely experimental bureaucrat acid trip.
Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. We and our ancestors have not been vigilant. No wonder we are not free.
Unlike progressives, I believe history has much instruction for us today. It demonstrates without a doubt that central planning causes frustration and misery. And it shows that a small band of brothers and sisters can, by courageously speaking truth to power, end that misery for their children and less attentive neighbors. But whether Common Core fades quickly or slowly, we must always understand it is only one head of the hydra, and we want all of them, stuffed, on our walls. The alternative is leaving an angrier, smarter monster for our kids.
I spoke in a similar vein about this recently at the Heritage Foundation with Lindsey Burke.
[First Published by Truth in American Education]