The Right View: Back to a disturbing future with Common Core

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Even though it was 21 years ago, I remember opening the letters.

You know, the old fashioned way. With an opener of some kind, so you wouldn’t get too many paper cuts. And wondering if, when she licked the glue to seal the envelope, she had a cold (or worse).

There was a kind of rhythm to it. Make a little notch, insert, tear.

Despite the monotony, that’s how I met her. The woman’s whose face I never saw.

I only saw her concern, month after month, in her hand. She would write to Congressman Camp religiously and rail against Outcome Based Education. You could hear and see the passion in her written hand – something that is lost now on the cold surface of a tablet or desktop screen.

But this woman had the passion. She warned of what had already passed, and what was to come. She was in fact, a visionary of sorts. Not only did she spend her time sounding the alarm about what had already happened; it was as if she was writing the road map that would lead directly to 2014.

Now it’s called Common Core: OBE repackaged and on steroids. Just one more example of the fundamental transformation our country is undergoing.

A friend of mine who is active in No Common Core Maine explained to me that in 2010, Gov. John Baldacci signed “emergency” legislation that committed Maine to the Common Core State Standards Initiative and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia. These agreements require that Maine turn over all student data to SBAC, which SBAC then provides to the U.S. Department of Education (as a food pellet treat, in return, Maine received its federal education funding dollars).

As she noted, “those computer-generated testing results will determine the academic path our children will take. The human factor will be essentially removed from education, and children will be treated like cattle, given a number and a specific destiny.”

She went on to explain that even worse than Outcome Based Education, “under the CCSS regime, a child’s interests will be narrowed and their education will be tightly focused on the end goal: passing the SBAC. Our coming CCSS-SBAC era is no more than putting a child in a maze just like lab rats. Give them a reward and they’ll eventually do what you want. Believe it or not, this is the underlying philosophy to the entire monumental educational reform being foisted upon us.

“Children have dreams, desires, emotions, thoughts, ideas, internal drive, and the vital free will. None of these can be effectively quantified by data collection methods. Our children are not animals and should not be treated as such.

“But the truth is that the standards are just the tip of the iceberg. The full story is the combination of the standards, high-stakes testing, data collection, and teacher evaluations that are based on the CCSS.

“A vast amount of personal information will be collected through these ‘assessments.’ Working in concert with a few key organizations, over 400 personal data points will be collected and ultimately stored in the Statewide Longitudinal Data System. Every state received millions of dollars in early 2009 for the express purpose of building a Statewide Longitudinal Data System. In November of 2009 the US DOE hosted a strategic planning meeting with all the states, specifying the details they wanted in each states longitudinal system.

“Maine never received any Race to the Top funds for embracing the Common Core Standards Initiative, but we did receive over $7 million for our Longitudinal Data System, which is to be completed by June 30. The information to be gathered covers a wide range of data: behavioral, psychological, emotional, attitudinal, medical, disciplinary, family finances, parental political persuasion, family religion, family practices, etc.”

The CCSS masquerading as only achievement standards for our children is like Planned Parenthood touting itself as a caring place for women to go to receive “health care.” It’s all smoke and mirrors: point to the shiny object on the surface so you can ram through the rest of the nightmare underneath. Where’s Nancy “you-have-to-pass-Obamacare-before-you-know-what’s-in-it” Pelosi when you need her?

And that’s just the structure of the CCSS. The stress that children as young as kindergarten age have been subjected to as a result of supposedly enlightened and brilliant “standards” could fill an entire newspaper. Piaget’s “Stages of Cognitive Development” in children have seemingly been completely ignored in creating this latest federal takeover of education, and children are left feeling stressed out, worthless and stupid, where they had previously been excelling.

Thomas Jefferson, recognizing that the cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate, said that “whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.”

From the inception of the (unconstitutional) federal Department of Education, to OBE, to Common Core, to the elimination of any type of historically based education of our children, our electorate is now decidedly uneducated, and the current destructive nature of the CCSS is yet to be realized.

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Julie McDonald is a registered nurse, former Capitol Hill staffer, and chairwoman of the Cape Elizabeth Republican Committee. Her column appears every other week.