Conservative Agenda 2014: Fight Common Core for Educational Freedom

Though there are still Americans who have never heard of the fight against the Common Core standards, they may want to find out about it soon if they value their freedom.

Just as Americans have been fighting to defend their Second Amendment rights whether they own a gun or not, the fight against Common Core is not just for people with kids in school; rather, it is for the future of the nation and for the preservation of parental rights, a fundamental element of the family unit that is central to American culture.

As Stephanie Simon reports at Politico, the fight to defeat the Common Core State Standards is quickly and efficiently developing into a major conservative agenda that is focused on educational freedom and the rights of parents to decide how and what their children are taught.

Simon relates what are now recognized as the “talking points” of Common Core supporters: "The Common Core standards, which have been adopted in 45 states plus the District of Columbia, are meant to guide rich and rigorous instruction in math and language arts."

The phrase “adopted in 45 states” and similar buzzwords like “state-led” have falsely given Common Core an air of credibility, as if American citizens really voted for these standards. The fact is, not one citizen-elected legislature has had any input into the standards, their design, or development. In addition, most states agreed to implement the Common Core before the new standards were even released, without state legislative approval or public hearings. The approval process was conducted largely through state boards of education which rarely obtain media coverage.

Proponents of Common Core also like to use the word “rigorous” to describe the new standards, a word that helps them to justify why students who have taken the tests aligned with the standards have performed so poorly on them. Related to the supposed “rigor” of the standards is the phrase “college-ready.”

As Truth in American Education observes, however, even the Fordham Institute, a supporter of Common Core, has admitted that several states previously had standards superior, or more “rigorous,” to Common Core and that many states had standards at least as good.

In reality, the new standards are meant to provide nothing more than an industrial-level education – a “race to the middle” in some ways – that even one person who helped draft the Common Core math standards described as preparation for a nonselective two-year community college.

“The Common Core standards, as a national standard, employs the ‘one size fits all approach’ which cannot meet the individual needs of students, nor will it raise the bar for academic excellence,” Maureen Van Den Berg, policy analyst for the American Association of Christian Schools, told Breitbart News.

“Regarding the assertion made by some that the lower test scores prove the standards are rigorous, it really is too early to tell,” Van Den Berg added. “The low test scores can be attributed to rigorous standards or to other factors, such as lack of preparation for students or teachers, a problem with the test itself, or a rough transition to a new set of standards and tests.”

Politico describes the transformation in the movement to defeat Common Core as starting as a “ragtag opposition led by a handful of angry moms” and becoming a “sophisticated national movement supported by top donors and strategists on the right.”

Education freedom activists say the movement is taking off.

Conservative advocacy organization FreedomWorks has developed a draft action plan to kick off a campaign for educational freedom. Once Common Core is defeated, the campaign hopes to expand school choice; end the Department of Education; reform teacher training, pensions, and tenure; and, ultimately, return power to local communities, rather than special interest groups.

“This is going to be a huge campaign,” said Whitney Neal, FreedomWorks’ director of grassroots activism. In just weeks, Neal will launch the campaign with a series of videos that will “connect the dots” between defeating Common Core and achieving educational freedom, a foundation to ensuring limited government under the Constitution.

Neal believes the plan to take on the cause of parental rights will help the movement draw in minority communities as well.

“Common Core is bringing in people who are brand-new to activism,” she said. “They’re coming out of the woodwork. That’s huge for us.”

Similarly, Sean Fieler, a hedge fund manager who chairs the American Principles Project (APP) and a social conservative who is a leader of Common Core opposition, told Politico, “The grass-roots support for this is stronger than for anything else we work on. This is an issue with great political promise.”

Advocacy group Americans for Prosperity is also advancing similar themes, according to Politico.

The education freedom movement has drawn in parents of children who attend private, faith-based schools and homeschooling families as well.

William Estrada, Director of Federal Relations for the Home School Legal Defense Association, told Breitbart News he believes this is just the beginning of the outrage against Common Core.

“Homeschoolers are fighting alongside public school parents against this takeover of education,” Estrada said. “Even though homeschoolers and private schools are currently exempt from the Common Core, we know that top down education approaches are bad for children, and bad for freedom.”

Estrada agrees that the movement to defeat Common Core is becoming a significant education freedom movement that is encompassing people from different educational perspectives.

“We need to take the grassroots outrage and turn it into legislative action,” he said. “HSLDA and numerous other local and national organizations are poised for a major lobbying push at the state level this year to start to roll back the Common Core in states which have adopted it.”


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