For over 100 years an educational system was in place that served this nation well. Those of us who can relate back to the 1950’s and before remember a time when the curriculum was left to individual teachers, or to department personnel in larger school systems, and where textbooks were likewise selected by individual teachers or department committees from a state-approved list of school textbooks.
It was an era when if teachers weren’t doing their jobs, they were usually let go after having a chance to improve. This same accountability existed from grades K through graduate school until the 60’s when teacher unions were organized and took hold in states. The Illinois Education Association (IEA) is one of the strongest in the nation. Its influence is far reaching in setting teacher salaries and in determining rules and regulations under which teachers work in local school districts.
Young men, having been educated under an educational system that some now view as haphazard, were prepared for work and for college. They further acquitted themselves well on the battle field when serving in World War I and II. After the wars these same ordinary men and women built businesses and proved to be productive in many ways.
What happened in the interim, despite all the money this nation has plowed into education, when fast forwarding to 2010 a new education program, Common Core, was conceived and created by the National Governors Association? President Obama and his administration wasted no time in embracing the new Common Core program.
Concluded by the NGA and the SCSSO was that for children to be properly educated there must be national standards, or a national curriculum, with lock-step performance testing curriculum to enable this nation to catch up with the rest of the world in science, math, and engineering. This despite that during much of the last hundred years this nation led the world in the disciplines of science, math and engineering and produced a large number of competent and brilliant scientists, doctors, engineers, architects, etc.
According to an article published on December 4th at Breitbart.com, Barack Obama didn’t simply embrace a concept that others had developed. Rather, the very roots of Common Core are in the early ideas generated by Obama and his fellow radical community organizer, Bill Ayers. It was Obama who headed the Chicago Annenberg Challenge from 1995 to 1999, a school “reform” organization founded by Bill Ayers, which funneled more than $100 million into community organizations and radical education activists.
Regarding the National Governors Association and the Council to Chief State School Officers, who are often cited and given credit for being the originators of Common Core standards, the real architect behind Common Core was David Coleman. As such, Coleman is responsible for bringing change to the entire American education system, even in the absence of any teaching experience.
In applying for a high school teaching job Coleman was turned down, after which he worked for a consulting firm where he advised public schools and became a fixture at NYC Department of Education meetings.
Transforming the American education system to fit his lofty ideas of what “real” education is. And it has nothing to do with learning useful skills to help you say, write a cohesive and grammatically correct resume or long division.
Of great concern is that Coleman was hired this past summer to lead the College Board organization. He is now redesigning the SAT’sand AP Program. In this position Coleman has the opportunity to tie what kids are learning to what colleges are expecting.
[This is the first of a three-part series. First posted at Illinois Review.]