Common Core Exposed: Standards Set by Whether or Not “Obama Likes Them”
A website Achive the Core is dedicated to promoting the Common Core. According to that Website, the lead writers of the Common Core State Standards were David Coleman, Susan Pimentel and Jason Zimba. The Governors and the CCSSO did not write the standards. Rather, Coleman, Zimba, and Pimentel wrote them and got the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Best Practices (NGA) to buy in.
This admission is has long been suspected by Anti-Common Core activists. In a speech earlier this year, David Coleman describes the Common Core Standards origins as “think of a napkin” and “few people in a room with an idea.” In the excerpt below,
In other words, he was at a bar with a couple of friends and cooked them up. This is hardly “state led” or “written by governors” as common core advocates claim. Further, since Coleman, Zimba, or Pimentel have had no background in writing standards or in K-12 teaching prior to the Common Core Initiative. It is unlikely they would have been selected to write standards had the CCSSO or the NGA decided to undertake such an endeavor.
As Coleman says in the video above, the standards were adopted because “Obama Likes Them.” Coleman was part of the data team that helped Barack Obama get elected. That is abundantly clear from the video.
Exposing the Core
Anyone who has ever been involved in addressing the common core initiative knows that the first argument one encounters is that the initiative was “State Led” and “Written by Governors.” Neither Coleman, Pimentel, or Zimba were governors or officers of a school at that time. It appears the trio were able to lure then Executive Director of CCSSO Gene Wilhoit with assurances of future employment once his stint with CCSSO was concluded.
This is exactly what happened when his term was up in January. At a press conference, Pimentel said of Wilhoit,
There is no single person who has worked harder on behalf of the Common Core than Gene. He has been essential to this effort since the beginning. Given the breadth and depth of his experience, across every facet of our public education system, his leadership will be invaluable in the months and years ahead
These standards are a pay-off to those in the Obama Campaign and those that facilitated his election. This is partisan politics at its highest levels. Nor does the cronyism end with the Common Core Writers. For example, the Senior Adviser to Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia, Linda Darling Hammond, also served as an adviser to Barack Obama in his election campaign in 2008 and again in 2012.
It is time for Stop Common Core Activist to challenge the narrative promoted by Common Core proponents. This is crony capitalism.
Diane Ravitch, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education under both the Clinton and Bush Administrations, has observed that if CCSSO and NGA were to undertake such an endeavor to write standards of their own volition, the standards would be voluntary as an guideline, not mandatory to obtain funding from the federal government. She also notes that input into such standards would be broad based, undertaken under public scrutiny, and not in the manner in which they were implemented.
Adoption of the Common Core standards is required for states to obtain funding through waivers to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). These are also commonly called No Child Left Behind Waivers, because they exempt states from certain provisions of No Child Left Behind provisions of the ESEA Act from the Bush Administration.
The Common Core initiative has adversaries on both the right and the left. The left opposes the high stakes testing component and the blatant involvement of corporations in the education process, and tying teacher contracts to the results of a test that has not been piloted. The right sees these issues, but focuses on constitutional issues such as violating the tenth amendment, the loss of local control of education, the use of non-literary readings which have a propaganda tone, focus on “Everyday Math style” non-standard math solutions being taught. The cause has brought two opposing forces together to form a large grass roots coalition of opposition.
45 States originally signed onto the common core and one of two consortia, Partnership for Assessing Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) or Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia (SBAC). However, there has been a growing movement away from these standards and consortia. Over this past year, Michigan, Indiana, Georgia, Maine, and Florida have withdrawn from the initiative, or provided local districts with opt out provisions. Several other states, such as Pennsylvania and New York, have pause legislation or pending legislation or have governors who are reviewing the initiative.