by Tom Stark
Parkersburg, WV – I just read an article by Gary DeMar regarding the fact that Mike Huckabee, a relatively conservative candidate for the Republican nomination to the Presidency, was supportive of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and how this was a terrible position because the CCSS was such a terrible attack on American values by forcing the teaching of progressive dogma, etc., etc. ad nauseum. Huckebee had, a good while before this article was written, changed his opinion and just recently posted a Pledge that he has signed promising to repeal or otherwise stop the CCSS as one of his commitments if elected President of the United States.
First of all, this more recent brand of rhetoric from Huckabee is typical of the long-term establishment politicians because it relies on the stupidity of the average voter not understanding how our government works. Anyone who is the slightest bit aware of reality knows that the President cannot repeal anything without the consent of and some initial act by Congress to start that process. Without a repeal bill to sign, Huckabee cannot repeal anything (short of trying an Obama-style executive order). Secondly, there is currently NOTHING in the federal statutes that mentions any requirement for the use of Common Core in any school in the United States. It is not something that is being required by the Department of Education or any other department of the federal government. In reality, every states would have to individually agree to stop using the Common Core State Standards before it could be successfully removed from America’s classrooms.
Thirdly, I would ask you or Huckabee, or DeMar, for that matter, to identify one single individual standards that they can find with which they have a problem. So far, nobody that has been asked that question has been able to provide it because the problem is NOT WITH THE STANDARDS. The problem with the subject of CCSS is in the fact that few realize that it is simply a very slickly designed plan whereby the world’s educational materials publishers were able to push the states into standardizing their curriculum in such a way as to make their life easier by making all their textbooks uniform across the country. By doing so, they have consolidated 50 markets for their products into one (or at least nearly so, since several states failed to take the bait by not adopting the CCSS. What other reason could there be for publishing and software giants like Pearson Publishing and Microsoft for sinking millions into the creation and marketing of CCSS.
In any event, the role that the Obama Administrations served in the success of CCSS was by applying their own unique brand of crony capitalism in using federal departments to offer incentives to make it easier for the states to fall in line by adopting the CCSS. By doing so, those publishers, who are heavily progressive, left-leaning, contributors to all things leftist were rewarded for their political loyalty to the ideals of the Democrat party and Obama administration and Obama’s campaigns as well.
The efforts to derail the CCSS are so sadly misdirected in such a way as to allow the real evil – ideological curricular materials pushed by leftist publishers – to continue their efforts unabated. Even if you removed CCSS from the earth tomorrow, this onslaught of progressive-dominated curricula would continue without interruption.
It’s NOT THE STANDARDS that are the problem. What is needed to fight the problems created by the CCSS (not the standards themselves) is to recognize that evil for what it is and promote action at the state level to begin requiring publishers to provide material for use in our classrooms that paints accurate, untainted, unbiased, apolitical pictures of the subject matter being addressed whether it be history, social studies, philosophy, science or any other subject.
It is not the purpose of public education to indoctrinate to a particular point-of-view. It is, rather, a place where children are raised through the grades through a learning process that equips them with the knowledge of how to think rather than what to think. What to think is something that they should be encouraged to decide for themselves once that have seen all sides of a given argument. I challenge you to pick up any American History textbook (particularly those published by Pearson [a foreign corporation] and examine how much coverage is given to the momentous accompishments of the Reagan Era as compared with the coverage given to FDR, Woodrow Wilson, the civil rights era – including which party supported those efforts – and see if there is not a very clear bias toward the Democrat/Progressive viewpoint. I have done so and it is extensive and disgustingly obvious.
When anyone with a bit of knowledge on the subject hears a politician say that they want to repeal something that is not even codified under federal law, it makes them appear to be making empty promises that cannot be fulfilled. The best any candidate could do is prevent the Department of Education from promoting or encouraging a particular policy or standard. Nothing more. In reality, he could do far more good by telling people where the real problems are in the education system: 1) the deep-seated progressivism that has invaded higher education institutions – creating a generation of progressive teachers as well; 2) book publishers in America who publish textbooks full of leftist propaganda; 3) the overbearing attitude of unions that control the teaching profession; and 4) the over-emphasis on “teaching to the test.” If these issues were resolved like the third one was in Wisconsin by Governor Scott Walker, the President doing so could easily go down in history as the one who turned the education systems of America around and pointed them in the right direction again.
Scott Walker, incidentally, has made the same inane comments that Huckabee did so don’t look for all the solutions from him either. And what do we do about the CCSS questions? Something as simple as a law that provides that no federal funds can be provided to any institution that does not provide equal time, emphasis, and information regarding all sides of any issue discussed in their classroom, or does not permit the unfettered ability of any student or faculty member to speak freely on any subject without repercussions (as permitted by our First Amendment of the Constitution) could go a long way to changing attitudes in education and the results achieved.
Turning the tables on the progressives by using the federal Department of Education to ensure that our children and their children get the honest facts from their teachers without being fed a lot of leftist propaganda at the same time, might be a good start,too.. The best finish would be the defunding and closure of the Department of Education since there is no constitutional basis for its existence and there is certainly no justification for it still existing given its dismal track record for improving education in America.
I’m not sure this will reach anyone who can directly influence the statements or commitments that candidates can/will make, but they cannot say they weren’t told. If they continue to make statements like those mentioned above and do not address the issue of education with the cold hard facts, they will not be receiving my vote or that of anyone among those over whom I have any influence. Think about it! Then pass it on.
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