Though he never mentioned the controversial Common Core State Standards by name, President Obama took credit for funding the initiative in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, promising to urge expansion of the funding to include pre-K students, as well.
Race to the Top, with the help of governors from both parties, has helped states raise expectations and performance. Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C., are making big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy – problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math. Some of this change is hard. It requires everything from more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test. But it’s worth it – and it’s working.
“The problem is we’re still not reaching enough kids, and we’re not reaching them in time,” Obama also said. “That has to change.”
“So just as we worked with states to reform our schools, this year, we’ll invest in new partnerships with states and communities across the country in a race to the top for our youngest children,” Obama added. “And as Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’m going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K they need.”
President Obama took credit for the fact that schools across the nation have been required to adapt to the increased technological demands of the Common Core assessments, which students – even those as young as third grade – must take completely online:
Last year, I also pledged to connect 99 percent of our students to high-speed broadband over the next four years. Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we’ve got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and twenty million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.
We are working to redesign high schools and partner them with colleges and employers that offer the real-world education and hands-on training that can lead directly to a job and career … And I’m reaching out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential.
The President’s mention of his work to “redesign high schools” in the context of assisting “more young men of color” also echoes one of the major goals of the National Equity Project, a San Francisco branch of Theodore Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools (CES), the reform movement that indoctrinates students with a Marxist-communist political, moral, and social ideology. CES is supported by the Chicago Public Education Fund, which was created in 1998 by Barack Obama and radical activist Bill Ayers.
The National Equity Project’s website states that one of its major goals is to “redesign” school districts, and it lists one of its “major accomplishments” as its support of “the comprehensive redesign of two urban school districts (Oakland and Emery Unified) to create systems of equitable resource allocation, accountability, central office support for schools, and community engagement.”
Prior to President Obama’s address, Politico reported that Common Core supporters were hoping Obama would not mention their cause.
“It’s imperative that the president not say anything about the Common Core State Standards,” said Michael Petrilli, executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. “For two years running, he’s taken credit for the adoption of these standards, which has only fueled critics on the right who see this effort as a way for the federal government to take over control of the schools.”
“If he cares more about the success of this initiative than credit-taking, he will skip over it,” Petrilli said.