Exclusive: Grass Roots Groups Join in Campaign to Terminate Common Core Standards Project
Breitbart News has learned that American Principles Project (APP), one of the nation’s leading organizations working to defeat the Common Core standards, will release a letter on Monday morning addressed to Gov. Mary Fallin (R-OK), chair of the National Governor’s Association (NGA), asking her to terminate the Common Core project.
The letter, signed by grass roots groups and individuals opposed to the Common Core initiative, is addressed to Fallin as governor of Oklahoma and as chair of the NGA. The NGA is co-author of the Common Core State Standards and co-owner of the copyright to the centralized standards along with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
Fallin has been supportive of the Common Core standards, but a bill that repeals the standards in Oklahoma has passed both chambers of the legislature and an amended bill may end up going to conference. The repeal of Common Core and a decision not to simply “rebrand” them in some fashion could place Fallin in an uncomfortable position due to her role as NGA chairman.
Indiana became the first state to officially repeal the Common Core standards, but Gov. Mike Pence (R) has drawn the ire of grassroots groups who oppose the standards by signing off on replacement standards that are strikingly similar to Common Core and, in some cases even inferior.
“I support passing legislation that increases classroom rigor and accountability while guaranteeing that Oklahoma public education is protected from federal interference,” Fallin cautiously said in a statement that reflected the NGA position that the Common Core standards were led by states without intrusion by the federal government.
“The American people know that government has drifted away from them and no longer responds to their will,” said Emmett McGroarty, director of APP Education, in an email statement to Breitbart News. “This letter details how state government has been turned into the tool of the federal executive branch, rather than responding to the will of the people.”
“Governor Fallin, though, has a wonderful opportunity to stand up for the American people and the Constitution that is intended to protect their rights, including their right to have a say in what their children learn and who teaches it to them,” McGroarty added.
Accompanied by a “Joint Statement Regarding the National Governors Association’s Common Core Standards Initiative and the Constitutional Structure,” the letter to Fallin was sent exclusively to Breitbart News in advance of its release, and states:
NGA’s activities, including its ownership, development and propagation of the Common Core, have caused profound harm to our constitutional structure. NGA has enabled corporations and other private interests to drive education policy and, concomitantly, compromised the power of parents. It has enlisted the power of the federal government to bring about these changes and, in so doing, has weakened the power of states to defend the authority and rights of parents and other citizens.
More specifically, NGA has assisted the federal government in employing a strategy against the states that has divided and conquered the state checks and balances that are intended to guard against federal overreach. It has presided over the development of math standards that lock children into a defective education, one that does not prepare children for studies in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) or for admission to competitive public and private universities. It has presided over the development of English standards that fail to prepare children for authentic college work in the humanities and that weaken the formation of strong citizen-leaders and individuals of substance who are fully capable of exercising their liberties.
The pushback against the Common Core rests on parents’ love for their children and their defense of the Constitution that protects their rights to form their children and direct their education. It is a movement based on truth, and on highly informed citizens –citizens who follow in the footsteps of the Founders. It is a movement that continues to grow and which will be victorious.
We respectfully ask that, as chair of the NGA, you end the Common Core project. We respectfully submit that your decisions on this matter will define your legacy.
Signers include Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins of American Principles Project; Phyllis Schlafly and Glyn Wright of Eagle Forum; Jim Stergios and Jamie Gass of Pioneer Institute; Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America; Tim Wildmon and Sandy Rios, American Family Association; Paul Caprio of Family Pac Federal; Stacy Mott of Smart Girl Politics Action; William A. Estrada, Esq. and J. Michael Smith, Esq. of Home School Legal Defense Association; Michael Farris of Parentalrights.org; talk show host Donna Hearne of Bott Radio Network; and Michelle Malkin, Conservative syndicated columnist.
Parents and other visitors to the letter’s website may also sign the letter.
In their joint statement, the signers emphasize that NGA is “not a governmental entity,” “does not have grants of legislative authority from the states,” and, as a private organization, is “not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests of other sunshine laws.”
The statement retraces the genesis of the Common Core initiative, including the United States Education Department’s (USED) Race to the Top (RttT) program, that lured states into adopting the Common Core through stimulus bill competitive grants, and Common Core’s massive funding by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has awarded grants for the development, promotion, and implementation of the standards to: NGA, CCSSO, the National Association of State Boards of Education, PTA’s, the American Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers Educational Foundation (teachers union), the National Education Association Foundation for the Improvement of Education (teachers union), the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and WestEd, among many other groups and organizations.
“NGA has taken the lead role in persuading the federal government to foist the Common Core standards, and indeed the entire Common Core system, onto the states,” reads the joint statement.
The signers go on to describe the Common Core standards as being “of poor quality,” and “age-inappropriate for young children.” The initiative’s changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations in order to collect student data are identified as “patently unfaithful to the underlying statute.”
In addition, the joint statement argues, “the NGA’s Common Core efforts pose a grave threat to the constitutional structure and to the rights of parents and other citizens.”
With regard to the role of the USED in the Common Core initiative, the signers describe it as “constitutionally incoherent:”
USED does not interact directly with the citizen, but rather works through state departments of education, which it funds in exchange for policy obedience. This deceives parents and other citizens. What appears to have been a decision by a state board or state department of education to change a policy or regulation or to request the legislature to change a law is often, in truth, an adaptation made at the behest of the federal government. State government loses its integrity when this happens.
As NGA chairman, Fallin has presided over the organization’s America Works initiative in which the need for the Common Core standards is emphasized in order to prepare students for “skilled” labor jobs, a goal that demonstrates the desire of government and corporate elitists to manage the workforce in the United States.
According to the NGA:
Preparing America’s 21st century workforce to stay competitive not only calls for national attention but demands gubernatorial leadership. Governors across the United States are providing that leadership. As demand for skilled workers continues to rise, governors are playing an increasingly pivotal role in aligning states’ education and training resources with the needs of their growing economies. Because governors are responsible for both public education and economic development, they are uniquely positioned to foster stronger connections between education and the workforce. Using a combination of the policy components outlined above, governors can do more to align the education pipeline with the needs of employers and thus benefit their citizens and their economies.
Through Governor Fallin’s leadership, the National Governors Association will continue to support governors and other state leaders in their efforts to increase the educational and economic opportunities available to all citizens.
According to APP and its collaborators, however, “It is inexplicable that the NGA and its partners would not condemn the federal government’s incentivizing education policy-making - pitting one state against the other in a scramble to change policies to garner points in a federal grant competition.”
“The Common Core scheme represents the worst of opaque, quasi-governmental chicanery accomplished at the expense of individual constitutional rights,” the letter’s signers conclude. “The Framers never would have imagined this.”