Jan 8, 2015 by


“My Story As I Lived It in the Classroom: The Birthplace of Common Core”

By Donna Garner




This is taken from my memory as I lived through this era as a classroom teacher.


As you may know, I started teaching in 1963, left teaching to have children and stayed home with them for 10 years, then went back to the classroom as a substitute teacher and then a full-time teacher around 1975.  I was appointed by President Ronald Reagan and re-appointed by President George Herbert Bush to serve on the National Commission on Migrant Education; and then I served on the TEKS writing team in 1995-97.  I was the lead writer of the Type #1 Texas Alternative Document – TAD – that we current classroom teachers wrote as an alternative to the Type #2 ELAR/TEKS. After the Type #2 ELAR/TEKS ended up being adopted by the SBOE in 1997, I worked tirelessly in the background to help elect new SBOE members and then to help them write and adopt the Type #1 TEKS starting in 2006 through 2012.  I have taught in private, public, and homeschools for 33 years and also was the researcher/writer for an abstinence-only curriculum.  I also was the researcher/writer/consultant for an online tutorial to help students learn English proficiency. We had to give up the Type #1 website after four years because school administrators chose to purchase Type #2 curriculum.


During the early 80’s, Hillary Clinton worked hand-in-glove with Marc Tucker, Ira Magaziner, Gov. Cuomo, and the National Committee on Education and the Economy (NCEE), School-to-Work. It was Hillary and the NCEE that came up with the term “cradle to the grave.”  The idea was to create a three-legged stool – education, labor, and healthcare; and the federal government would direct people’s lives from the cradle to the grave.  All were to be joined together under one banner with school healthcare clinics providing abortions and contraceptives; classrooms dwelling on workforce development skills instead of academic knowledge; and the Dept. of Labor directing students into a career pathway at a very early age.  The government was to manipulate students into the career pathways (or career clusters) based upon whatever the labor market needed – not upon what students’ natural talents, desires, and interests were.  A certificate of mastery was to be awarded instead of a graduation diploma based on the Carnegie credits. 


The SCANS Report in 1991 (*Taken from: What Work Requires of Schools: A SCANS Report for America 2000. The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, a publication of the US Department of Labor, June 1991) is what helped to change the direction of our nation’s schools from knowledge-based, academic content (Type #1) INTO the Type #2 philosophy that is subjective, project-based, constructivist, affective domain, performance standards (know and be able to do), workplace competencies, etc.  Here is the link to the SCANS report:


The U. S. Sect. of Labor Robert Reich under the Clinton administration took the SCANS report, set up the Real World Forums in each state, and managed to drive the narrative that schools are meant to be for workforce development and not for students to gain a wide-and-deep liberal arts education.  


To make the public think they had thought of the changes schools needed to make, NCEE/Clinton/Reich established the Real World Forums.  These were local community meetings in which the facilitators used the Delphi Technique to make the attendees think they had actual input into the final Real World Forum report; however, what actually happened is that the final “report” had already been written by NCEE/Clinton/Reich and focused schools on collaborative learning, interpersonal relations, and the affective domain (feelings, emotions, opinions).  This took the emphasis in the public schools off deep content knowledge and individual learning and moved classrooms into group think, co-operative learning,  and outcomes based education.


Reich organized a huge survey (probably through the Chambers of Commerce) of businessmen across the country; and it was widely reported that the majority of businessmen had said something like, “What we want our employees to have more than anything else is good interpersonal skills.  We will take care of teaching them everything else.” 


I believe this survey was bogus and that what the majority of businessmen really said was “What we want is employees who can read, write, and compute accurately and quickly.”  However, Reich reported it the NCEE way which drove classrooms from the academic to the performance-based, socio-emotional level.


As if on cue, the standards movement popped up all over the country.  Texas appointed writing teams to rewrite all of the courses in K-12, and the new standards required students “to be able to know and be able to do.”  The emphasis in the classroom changed from students’ “knowing” to students’ being able to do; and it was this aspect that changed our curriculum into subjective assessments where the verbs used in the standards directed teachers into subjective evaluations.  You wouldn’t think that verbs would make a difference in standards, but consider this partial list of verbs and the way they direct the teacher’s lesson plans and testing: 

Type #1 (right-or-wrong answers):  omit, label, choose, recite, describe, select, identify, list, locate, match, memorize, name, recognize, state. 

Type #2 (subjective, fuzzy, values-and-opinion based):  dramatize, generalize, paint, prepare, sketch, survey, construct, design, make up, role play, hypothesize


Up until this time, the USDOE laws had required schools to offer students equal opportunities; but under the Clintons, there began to be a shift toward equal outcomes. In other words, teachers were pressured to grade subjectively to make sure that the “outcomes” were the same for all students…that everyone passed and felt good about themselves. No more red pens were to be used on students’ papers because it would hurt their self-esteem. This soon degenerated into not grading students’ compositions at all but to grade them holistically with a number score of 1, 2, 3, 4.  Holistic scoring was tied to whole language. I believe this was an intended consequence to make sure that students could not read well since the Bible is the WRITTEN word of God.


When President George W. Bush came into office, there was a legitimate effort made to implement the NIH’s empirical reading research which emphasizes phonemic awareness and decoding skills (phonics).  Reading academies were set up all over the country to train teachers in these methods, and actual improvements in students’ reading skills (particularly among the low-income children) were recorded and became a part of the reading research.


However, the Type #2 people desperately did not want students to learn to read because then they could not be so easily manipulated; and these Type #2 people set out to destroy President Geroge W. Bush’s efforts.  Where he and his administration went astray is when they set up NCLB and its “impossible” goals and based them upon states showing average yearly progress.  To get AYP, the states quickly figured out that they needed to set up state-mandated tests that could be subjectively scored so that students’ scores could start out very low and then be raised artificially and at will to show AYP!  In other words, schools learned how to “rig the game.”  Texas and the other states set up Type #2 standards with Type #2 subjectively scored assessments that were steeped in multiculturalism and political correctness. This then drove the curriculum into the same Type #2 philosophy of education.


I believe the main reason GWB’s administration collapsed in the last two years of his second term was a direct result of Karl Rove’s bad counsel to GWB throughout his Presidency.  Rove believed that the end justifies the means, and I believe he was capable of instigating almost anything to accomplish his goal. 


After GWB was vilified and his administration collapsed when the House and Senate both fell into the Dems’ hands (last two years of his second term), the reading academies vanished; and the idea of nationalizing education went into full gear. Of course, GWB and his family are all globalists; and they set in motion many of the foundational pieces that allowed the Common Core Standards Initiative to blossom.   


Obama was exactly the candidate to resurrect School-to-Work, NCEE, Marc Tucker, Achieve, Inc., Hillary.  However,  Obama brought something more to the table.  He brought the social justice ideology that fitted perfectly into the Common Core Standards Initiative, and his ruthless administration (followers of Bill Ayers, Saul Alinsky, Linda Darling-Hammond, Robert Marzano, Arne Duncan, David Coleman, Marc Tucker, Hillary Clinton, etc.) understood full well that national standards lead to national curriculum which leads to national assessments which lead to teachers teaching the national curriculum each day because their own teacher evaluations depend upon their individual students’ scores.  The end game is the national database in which personally identifiable information can be gathered on every student, family, and teacher in America; and everything can be sent to the NSA.  Obama’s social justice ideology also includes a heavy emphasis not just on tolerance for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) lifestyle but on a total acceptance of the LGBT lifestyle as normal.  His ideology also includes a heavy emphasis on victimization, white supremacy, pro-Islam/anti-Christian/anti-Judeo, fake climate change, race baiting, redistribution of wealth, multiculturalism, and political correctness.   




2.13.14 – PODCAST – Starting at marker 7:20 [technical difficulties before that marker], Donna Garner gives the historical background on Hillary Clinton, NCEE, Common Core, English Success Standards (curriculum standards written by teachers for teachers), inexpensive tools parents can use to teach their children to read/spell/write/compute —



*In giving a personal example in the interview, I failed to go on to say that through much hard work my husband successfully completed his master’s degree, mid-management certification, and taught for 36 years.  Our two sons successfully learned to read/spell/write/compute and graduated with solid GPA’s from Texas A&M University, College Station.





2.14.14 — POSTED BY TRUTH IN AMERICAN EDUCATION – “English Success Standards” – This is the only curriculum standards document (K-12) ever written by current classroom teachers who were working with real students in real classrooms each day.  Originally the document was called the Texas Alternative Document but was updated in recent years. To see what a Type #1 curriculum standards document looks like, please go to this link:

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1 Comment

  1. Ned

    Summed up very well!