Is the Tea Party Right About the Common Core?

Jun 3, 2013 by

By Anthony Cody

In your heart you know there right!

Yesterday’s Washington Post carried a banner story about growing Tea Party opposition to the Common Core. We learn that across the country, Tea Party activists have been organizing around opposition to the Common Core, and have succeeded in blocking or delaying the standards in at least nine states.

There has been a contemptuous reaction from the highest levels of our educational system. Arne Duncan has implied that opponents are tin-foil hatted paranoids: “It’s not a black helicopter ploy and we’re not trying to get inside people’s minds and brains,” he said last week. A week before he responded to questions at Capital Hill, saying “Let’s not get caught up in hysteria and drama.” And of course corporate-funded conservatives like Jeb Bush, and the Fordham Institute are still on board all the way.

The problem they have is that the substance of the Tea Party criticism of Common Core standards is solid.
And it aligns pretty well with what many of us a bit more to the left have been saying for years. Let’s take the arguments, as presented by this Washington Post article and elsewhere, and check them out.

1. Sharing of student and teacher data with third party developers of all sorts, with no guarantees of privacy. As noted in this post, there are plans in place in some states such as Illinois and New York, and others as well, to collect massive amounts of data, which will be housed in a cloud based databank maintained by inBloom, a non-profit created by the Gates Foundation for this purpose. Given the many ways data has been abused in recent years, there are sound reasons to question this threat to privacy.

2. As the Post notes, “Critics also charge that Common Core was thrust onto schools with little public debate.” This is a huge problem. What hubris it must take to believe that you can assemble a small group of people, and, working largely in secret, completely overhaul what is taught in a supposedly democratic society. When I first got wind of the project back in 2009, I wrote this:

And what about a democratic process? We are apparently about to be handed a set of standards that will dictate what is taught in millions of classrooms across this nation. How will these have been arrived at? Who, besides the Gates Foundation millionaire’s club, and the standardized test companies and the publishing companies will have been engaged in this profoundly civic process?

via Is the Tea Party Right About the Common Core? – Living in Dialogue – Education Week Teacher.

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