Latest posts by Nancy Thorner (see all)
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On Tuesday, May 13, the Northern Illinois Patriots , President Greg Clements, sponsored Dr. Duke Pesta, Freedom Project Education Academy Director — an online school offering a complete classical education for students from Kindergarten through High School, free from public school spin and Common Core indoctrination — as its featured speaker at Austin’s Saloon and Eatery, 481 Peterson Road in Libertyville. Dr. Pesta’s topic: “Common Core: Dangers and Threats.”
As a teacher himself, Dr. Pesta is not anti-teacher despite his negative opinion of Common Core. If truth be told, many teachers oppose Common Core but are told to keep quiet or lose their jobs. Pesta received his MA in Renaissance literature from John Carroll University and his Ph.D. in Shakespeare and Renaissance literature from Purdue University.
He has taught at major research institutions and small liberal arts colleges, and has been active in education reform, developing and implementing an elective Bible course that is currently available for public high school students in Texas. Currently he is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh in addition to his role as Academic Director of Freedom Project Education.
The chilling truth behind the new national standards are sure to terrify you, as they did to those who attended the Northern Illinois Patriots event. A question Dr Pesta asks at the beginning of each of his events is how many are familiar with Common Core? As is the case most often, 90 to 95% are still foggy about the nature of Common Core.
Dr. Duke Pesta, using research done by others, presented Common Core as the drive it is toward complete government control of our children’s education through a series a slides and commentary titled, “Common Core: Dangers and Threats.” Dr. Pesta considers Common Core a hugely bi-partisan problem. In Wisconsin Republicans refused to allow a vote to be held on Common Core legislation. Nationally, Jeb Bush and Chris Christy are in total support of Common Core, as is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Duke Pesta divided his presentation into three parts
Part 1: How did Common Core come about?
Common Core State Standards (CCSS) implies that that all states were consulted before they signed on to Common Core, as though it were a democratic thing instead of Banana Republic tactics. Not so! Joy Pullman, a Research Fellow in Education at the Heartland Institute, traces the writing of Common Core back to five individuals. One of its writers, David Coleman is considered the chief architect of Common Core. According to Dr. Pesta, Coleman is not qualified to write on any subject. Worrisome is that Coleman has since moved on to become president of the College Board where he will integrate the AP assessments with Common Core standards.
Hence, the curriculum was written by a small group of individuals and then copyrighted by two Washington lobbyists group, making it devoid of any government ownership. This is important because the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Acts was the first federal attempt to regulate and finance schools. In 1979 the law that created the Department of Education forbids it to exercise “any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum” or “program of instruction” of any school system. The mechanism of control were the tests all students had to take to be written by the people who created Common Core. To pass the tests, the Common Core curriculum had to be taught. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated $170 million to support the creation and implementation of Common Core State Standards. To date they have contributed $2.5 billion.
But there is no way Common Core could have been brought into the nation’s schools given that it was the product of a small group of activists supported by billionaire Bill Gates. As background, in 2001, President G.W. Bush came up with “No Child Left Behind” which he gave over to Senator Ted Kennedy to write. “No Child Left Behind” was a disaster from the beginning as it was based on “outcome” education, which is akin to socialism. Every single child was expected to meet the same arbitrary standard through high stakes testing.
Fast forward to 2009. President Obama is now in office. It was in 2009 that President Obama took $5.1 billion of taxpayer money and offered it to states to sign on to his “Race to the Top” program. The catch: If states accepted “Race to the Top” money they had to accept Common Core State Standards (CSSS) sight unseen. Additionally, a waiver was granted to states so they could opt out of Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” program if they signed on to Obama’s” Race to the Top” program.
Forty-four states agreed to trade their K-12 math and English targets and tests for those of the Common Core’s State Standards yet to be written. Now that CC is in place, in some states longer than others, Dr. Pesta looks upon Common Core as “No Child Left Behind of steroids.” He also refers to Common Core as a social justice curriculum that comes before the ABC’s. Remaining at its core is a one-size fits all definition of education. But what if the high standards can’t be met? It becomes obvious that the only way to get more children to the same place is in time to lower standards.
Part 2: Nature of Common Core Curriculum
Although it is often said that Common Core is not a curriculum but a set of standards, Common Core standards are being put into textbooks which then become curriculum. Pierson, as the largest education product sales company on earth, has a monopoly on education products, including textbooks. This month Bill Gates — the second richest man on earth who almost single-handedly funded and marketed the entire Common Core movement going back to UNESCO and its goal to bring a master curriculum worldwide — has joined forces with Piersen to create a one size fits all curriculum. Although it is claimed that states can deviate 15% from what is being taught in other states, if this were true there would have to be a different test for each state.
Dr. James Milgram, professor of mathematics at Stanford University, and Dr. Sandra Stotsky, professor emerita at the University of Arkansas and former Senior Associate Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Education, as members of the Common Core Validation Review Panel were the only experts on the panel in their subject area. Both Milgram a math expert and Stotsky an English expert refused to give Common Core Math and English standards, respectively, a good recommendation as did the rest of the panel. Both have gone on to testify with a warning voice to state legislatures and school boards about the inadequacy of the standards.
Hear Dr. Milgram talk about “What happened to Math education and why Common Core won’t help.”
James Mlgram points out these flaws of the new Core Curriculum math standards:
•By the end of fifth grade the material being covered in arithmetic and algebra in Core Standards is more than a year behind the early grade expectations in most high achieving countries. By the end of seventh grade Core Standards are roughly two years behind.
•Core Mathematics Standards are written to reflect very low expectations and do not reflect the mathematics education that underlie the results in the high achieving countries. The explicitly stated objective is to prepare students not to have to take remedial mathematics courses at a typical community college.
Common Core applies a never before seen methodology in the way common math problems are solved. Parents can no longer help their children with simple addition and subtraction not understanding the system. Staking of numbers is no longer permitted, instead children must draw dots, circles, squares, etc., to come up with the answer.
Dr. Pesta used as a demonstration a Champion News video of a Grayslake D46 Curriculum Coordinator relating how under the new Common Core math system if a child determines that 3 + 4 is 11, that’s perfectly fine if the child is able to explain how he arrived at the answer. Even if a child can do math beyond his grade level, he must stay put and not try to move to a higher level.
Watch Dr. Sandra Stotsky testify against Common Core in Wisconsin here.
Dr. Stotsky’s concerns about Common Core can be read here.
•Common Core is a step backwards for English Standards. The architects of Common Core’s English Language Arts standards never claimed that their standards would do so; rather, they claimed the standards would make all students “college-ready,”
•Common Core English standards require English teachers to emphasize skills, not literary or cultural knowledge, such as how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text at all grade levels, which may lead to a decreased capacity for analytical thinking.