By Elois Zeanah
A total transformation of traditional schools is happening at lightning speed. The Trojan horse is Common Core. State superintendents and school boards purposefully mislead teachers, parents, legislators and the public about what Common Core is because they know, as history reveals, that the public does not want nationalized education under the direction of the federal government. But Common Core is much more than just centralized standards.
Common Core authorizes the collection of private, non-academic information on students without the knowledge or permission of parents, puts this information in a national database, and shares this information with the federal government and private parties. It tracks students from preschool to retirement. It takes away parental and local control. It bases teacher performance on students’ test scores, yet teachers never see the tests and tests are so secretive that parents don’t have a clue what’s on them. It enables an unprecedented partnership between federal government and big business to control education. It “redistributes wealth” from wealthier school districts to poorer school districts. It introduces sexually graphic reading materials into classrooms. And it turns schools into service hubs, with the intent of replacing families as the hub of society. This article focuses on the latter.
Just as the authors of Common Core floated the myth that the standards were “state-led” to hide the fact that they were written in secret, went around the legislative process, and are copyrighted by private organizations (the first time in history that education standards are owned by private organizations), backers of Common Core avoid giving the public the big picture, instituting one piece of the puzzle at a time without public knowledge of their connections to Common Core. One puzzle piece, for example, is to expand the role of public schools to be community service centers. The Obama administration has created “Promise Neighborhoods” grants to entice states and local school districts to re-define family and to restructure the meaning of education. These community school hubs are embedded in the following:
- The Obama administration’s “A Blueprint for Reform: Re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).” Among other things, this extends the school day to all day, re-defines the family; offers mental health services; sets up school-based clinics in schools; provides medical care, pregnancy prevention, gang intervention, recreation programs; and encourages schools to become “hospitals” that can bill Medicaid.
- The waiver to No Child Left Behind (the ESEA flexibility waiver) redefines the definition of “education” and expands the role of government to intervene in family home life, creating more education administration bureaucracy, and increasing government dependency. The school is made the center of the community.
- The 2014 U.S. Senate Bill 1094 Re-authorization of ESEA is 1150 pages and replaces No Child Left Behind. It tells the story about community schools. There are several relevant sections; one is listed below. The full bill can be read at: http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/ESEA%20Bill%20Text%206.4.13.pdf
PART G—PROMISE NEIGHBORHOODS ‘‘SEC. 4701. SHORT TITLE. ‘‘This part may be cited as the ‘Promise Neighborhoods Act of 2013’. Page 731 ‘‘(8) FAMILY AND STUDENT SUPPORTS.—The term ‘family and student supports’ includes— ‘‘(A) health programs (including both mental health and physical health services); ‘‘(B) school, public, and child-safety programs; ‘‘(C) programs that improve family stability; ‘‘(D) workforce development programs (including those that meet local business needs, such as internships and externships); ‘‘(E) social service programs; ‘‘(F) legal aid programs; ‘‘(G) financial literacy education programs; ‘‘(H) adult education and family literacy programs; ‘‘(I) parent, family, and community engagement programs; and ‘‘(J) programs that increase access to learning technology and enhance the digital literacy skills of students. ‘‘(9) FAMILY MEMBER.—The term ‘family member’ means a parent, relative, or other adult who is responsible for the education, care, and well- being of a child.
- The education plans for states that adopted Common Core. Alabama’s plan, for example, is titled “Plan 2020”.
The federal government has severely harmed minority communities over the past 50-plus years by welfare programs that encourage and has resulted in more children being born out of wedlock and the disintegration of the family unit. The efforts to replace the traditional family as the hub of society with school hubs furthers dependency on government as family. (There’s even a Common Core worksheet that teaches students that “government is family”.) We must beware of the Trojan Horse.