"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Friday, April 19, 2013

The "Stop Common Core" Movement Consists of Right Wing Whackos and Third Party Whackos. It's All Good.

The growing displeasure about the adoption/implementation of Common Core has united disparate groups of folks concerned about the privatization and centralization of education.  Edweek.com featured A Progressive and a Conservative Find Common Ground Opposing the Common Core and how different political philosophies are set aside by two folks working together to defeat CCSS. 

Susan Ohanian (a self proclaimed "third party whacko") writes she agrees with the "right wing whackos" on their opposition to Common Core and explains why.  She ties it in nicely with an article she wrote 13 years ago on Goals 2000, another educational reform model that attempted to implement national standards and increase centralized education.   From Republican National Committee passes resolution to shut down Common Core curriculum:


Ohanian Comment: Finding myself in agreement with the Republican National Committee, Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, and a host of other right wing whackos comes as no surprise. Been there. Done that. Here's an excerpt from a cover story I wrote for Phi Delta Kappan, January 2000: Goals 2000: What's in a Name?

Liberals and Conservatives Join Hands

"Are you a Republican yet?" My husband asked me that question a couple of months ago. Maybe his question was provoked by the volume of mail coming to our house from the Eagle Forum, the Thomas Fordham Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, the National Center on Education and the Economy, the Center for Education Reform, the Citizens for Academic Excellence, the MacArthur Institute, Foundations of Liberty, Free World Research, Freedom First, the Independent American, American Policy Center, Focus on the Family, Halcyon House, Harvest House Publishers, Harold Shaw Publishers, Abique Books, and so on and on. Publish it, and Ohanian's check will follow. That's pretty much been my practice in the last year as I tracked resistance to Goals 2000, which is to say I've been studying government meddling in local education policy.

I admit to being surprised at what I found. For starters, I found that we have something to learn from the grassroots right-wing whackos, who are a whole lot more organized and a lot more strategic than the ever-eclectic and often bickering left-wing whackos. Liberals grouse and grumble; conservatives set up websites. They publish comprehensive studies of the history of education legislation, tracing its origins to fascism, communism, and the threat of a United Nations takeover; they publish handbooks that advise parents on how to resist. These conservatives remind us that the enemies of our enemies are not necessarily our friends. Case in point: disliking Clinton's policies doesn't come close to being reason enough to support George W. Bush's policies. That many right-wingers are against Goals 2000 should remind us to look beneath party labels and examine what the politicians and their corporate cronies are really up to. That's why many conservatives dislike Chester Finn, Jr., and Louis Gerstner, Jr., and George W. Bush, Jr., even more than liberals do. Incongruous as it may seem, opposition to Goals 2000 might provide an opportunity for right-wing and left-wing zealots to join hands in their common belief that the state is the enemy of education. Okay, so I'm not holding my breath waiting for this strategic detente to take place. But even a whiff of the possibility of derailing the Goals 2000 megamonster locomotive barreling across the education landscape with its heavy load of high-stakes tests gives me some hope. Am I a Republican yet? Well, after studying the ways Goals 2000 has intruded into the classrooms of America, I'm not even a Democrat anymore. Goals 2000 has turned me into a third-party whacko. . .

The article continues with some quite wonderful examples of whacko connections. Here's just one:

Right-wing whackos point out that Finn is a founding member of Chris Whittle's Edison Project. (You remember Chris Whittle, the fellow who brought us Channel One.) Right-wing whackos take this a few steps further, showing the links between Whittle and Lamar Alexander, between Alexander and Rene Dubos, with Dubos quoting Plato that "the great blessings come to us through madness. . . . Madness which comes from god, is superior to sanity." Right-wing whackos show Whittle's link to Madonna's Sex and to the rap song "Cop Killer." I have developed considerable affection for the Far Right's frequent demonstration of the six degrees of separation, which they can often reduce to just three or four. . .

And so on.

Today I'm not surprised to find myself finding agreement with Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, and the Republication National Committee.

By and large, conservatives seem more willing to acknowledge the good work of progressives than vice versa. My site is recommended on a number of conservative sites. Here I'm listed as a freedom fighter--along with plenty of other progressives, as well as the Cato Institute. As I've said to many conservatives, "Let's agree on education policy and not talk about anything else."

But on to the Republican National Committee. As people have pointed out, this resolution carries no teeth, but it is still fundamental. Think how ecstatic so-called Progressives would feel if the Democratic National Committee passed such a resolution.

I don't embrace conservatives any more than I embrace toothless progressives. I cheer the points where we find common cause, and I cheer people who do more than gripe about the Common Core.

Illinois Review: Crossroads of the Conservative Community

LOS ANGELES - The concerns about the federal Common Core curriculum and the national standards it would impose on local schools reached the level of the Republican National Committee Friday and was passed unanimously. Illinois RNC National Committeewoman Demetra DeMonte said she was happy to co-sponsor the resolution and encourage others to support the effort.

The RNC resolution reads in part:

... RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee recognizes the CCSS for what it is– an inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children so they will conform to a preconceived “normal,” and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Republican National Committee rejects the collection of personal student data for any non-educational purpose without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent and that it rejects the sharing of such personal data, without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent, with any person or entity other than schools or education agencies within the state ...

Illinois Review reported earlier this week on the new Stop Common Core in Illinois coalition, which is actively encouraging concerned parents to oppose the effort and encourage Illinois to withdraw from the program as this group in Georgia is in the process of doing.

— staff Illinois Review: Crossroads of the Conservative Community
April 12, 2013

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