This article was posted at: Gilbert Watch (it addressed Arizona specifically but may be applicable in other states)
Did you know that on January 5, 2010, 5 months before the Common Core Standards were written, Arizona’s former Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne and former Governor Jan Brewer both agreed to the Federal government’s demand to “adopt” Common Core? Click HERE to see the signed MOU on page 63 of the “Race to the Top” Appendices.
In August 2009, a month after U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the $4.3 billion Race to the Top competition, Arizona State board member Jaime Molera advised that Gov. Brewer had asked Dr. Deb Duval, former Superintendent of Mesa Public Schools, to lead Arizona’s efforts in grubbing for Race to the Top money. In its 345-page application and appendices, Arizona agreed to adopt Common Core and meet every federal demand…for the “chance” at winning $250 million (which it didn’t win).
There was never a “field test” of the Common Core standards. Horne, Brewer, and the entire Arizona State Board of Education allowed the federal government to use our children as guinea pigs, testing common standards and subjecting them to long hours of “high stakes testing.” Every one of Arizona’s “educational professionals” stood mute while federal laws (FERPA) were changed that would allow the taking and sharing of our children’s personal data with educational business executives who were giddy about making billions of dollars off them. See the Education Datapalooza at the White House, October 2012.
Money. That’s why Arizona’s top “educational experts” agreed to Common Core. All of the so-called teacher input and state involvement was nothing more than “suggestion-box” busywork.
Now the former director of Race to the Top (RttT) has inadvertently revealed how the federal government pulled it off. Dr. Susan Berry writes:
In a remarkable admission, the former director of the Race to the Top (RttT) competitive grant program and chief of staff to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says the federal government “forced” full support for adoption of the Common Core standards from each state by requiring its governor, chief state school officer, and head of the state board of education to sign off on the grant application.
Joanne Weiss, who is now an “independent education consultant,” writes at the Stanford Social Innovation Review that the RttT grant program, funded through President Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill in the name of helping low-income, poor-performing schools, “offers lessons in high-impact grantmaking that are applicable not only in education but also in other fields.”
“The Department of Education runs about 150 competitions every year. But among those programs, Race to the Top stands out. It had more than $4 billion to allocate to competition winners, and it attracted the participation of nearly every state in the union. It arguably drove more change in education at the state, district, and school levels than any federal competition had previously been able to achieve.”
Weiss, who led RttT from its start, explains the federal government took advantage of the fact that states were strapped for cash due to the recession.
“[S]o the large pot of funding that we had to offer was a significant inducement for states to compete,” she writes, adding the surprise number of 46 states willing to sign onto the Common Core standards initiative was due to “our decision to leverage the spirit of competition.”
Though Weiss apparently believes she and the U.S. Department of Education (USED) fostered “competition,” her essay essentially admits to remarkable amounts of manipulation of states, as well as non-transparency, at the hands of a puppeteer federal government:
“To help each state bring all parties to the reform table, we deployed four tools.
“First, we forced alignment among the top three education leaders in each participating state—the governor, the chief state school officer, and the president of the state board of education—by requiring each of them to sign their state’s Race to the Top application. In doing so, they attested that their office fully supported the state’s reform proposal.
“Second, we requested (but did not require) the inclusion of signatures by three district officials—the superintendent, the school board president, and the leader of the relevant teachers’ union or teachers’ association—on each district-level MOU. This approach, among other benefits, gave unions standing in the application process without giving them veto power over it.
“Third, we created tangible incentives for states to gain a wide base of community support for their plans. Securing buy-in from multiple stakeholders—business groups, parents’ groups, community organizations, and foundations, for example—earned points for a state’s application. Having the support of a state’s teachers’ union earned additional points.
“Fourth, as part of the judging process, we required officials from each state that reached the finalist stage to meet in-person with reviewers to present their proposals and answer reviewers’ questions. At this meeting, a team that often included the state’s governor—as well as union leaders, district officials, and the state’s education chief—made its case to reviewers. We imposed this requirement largely to verify that those in charge of implementing their state’s plan were knowledgeable about the plan and fully committed to it. (This was particularly critical in cases where states had used consultants to help draft their application.)” Click HERE to read the entire article “Feds Admit U.S. Education Department “Forced” States to Accept Common Core From it’s Start” by Dr. Susan Berry.
Competitive grants? What a horrible way to educate Arizona’s children!
Recently, the U.S. Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, resigned. It doesn’t matter who takes his place, the entire U.S. Department of Education should be abolished. It has done literally nothing to improve academic performance for students in K-12. It takes 3 things to educate a child: 1) A committed parent; 2) A disciplined child; and 3) An effective teacher.