Bill Bennett paid to pimp for Common Core

Sep 17, 2014 by

shills gonna shill

By streiff – Last week Reagan administration Secretary of Education Bill Bennett appeared on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal called The Conservative Case for Common Core.

That’s the fundamental idea behind a core curriculum: preserving and emphasizing what’s essential, in fields like literature and math, to a worthwhile education. It is also, by the way, a conservative idea.

In the op-ed, Bennett dangles a bewildering series of non-sequiturs before the reader:

When I was chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities in the 1980s, I asked 250 people across the political spectrum what 10 books every student should be familiar with by the time they finish high school. Almost every person agreed on five vital sources: the Bible, Shakespeare, America’s founding documents, the great American novel “Huckleberry Finn ” and classical works of mythology and poetry, like the Iliad and the Odyssey.

The Common Core curriculum doesn’t recommend any books, per se, but only excerpts from books. Homer and Shakespeare are represented along with some predictable modern and PC dross. Huck Finn has been banished. The Federalist Papers are missing from the curriculum entirely.

Governors, state education administrators and teachers used these principles as a guide when they developed a set of common standards that were later presented to the country as Common Core. Forty-five states signed up originally. But the process was contaminated by politics, and that brings us to the debate we have now.

In 2009 the Education Department created Race to the Top grants, federal funding for states that met certain educational benchmarks. To qualify, states were required, for instance, to demonstrate that they had a common, high-quality set of standards. Common Core standards satisfied the criteria.

This is technically true, but the fact is that the federal government has not approved any Race to the Top grants to any school districts not using Common Core. As Cato’s Neal McCluskey says:

Let’s be clear: States adopted the Core, in the vast majority of cases, only after the federal government all but said they had to in order to compete for $4 billion in Race to the Top money. Federal force was further applied by the No Child Left Behind waiver program. And all this occurred in the context of federally driven standards and testing since at least 1994. So, would most states have adopted the Core on their own? We don’t know for sure, but the evidence is heavily stacked against it.

via Bill Bennett paid to pimp for Common Core | RedState.

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