Government, corporate, and education elites, often supported by religious leaders, have championed both the Common Core standards and amnesty for illegal immigrants, issues that have long been enmeshed in the progressive agenda that includes labor and education.
In Part I, we examined how Marc Tucker, president and CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), was instrumental in the 1990s in helping the Clintons establish the direct funding route from the federal government to state governors and their appointees, circumventing local school boards and state legislatures – the very reason state boards of education, most of them unelected, were able to adopt the Common Core standards for their states with little, if any, public scrutiny.
Tucker also helped the Clintons establish the mechanisms of “national standards” and “national testing,” and, most relevant to the relationship between Common Core and amnesty, a computer database, “a labor market information system,” available to school, government, and future employers, and into which school personnel would scan all information about every schoolchild and his family, identified by the child’s social security number: academic, medical, mental, psychological, behavioral, and interrogations by counselors.
In 2004, NCEE launched a for-profit subsidiary known as America’s Choice to implement the school improvement model it had developed under Tucker.
Three years later, in March of 2007, Microsoft Founder Bill Gates, whose Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has now spent upwards of $200 million on the development, promotion, and implementation of the Common Core standards, told Congress that America needed a Center for State Education Data to collect student information.
As eschoolnews.com reported, Gates, testifying before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension, repeated his call for an overhaul of the nation’s schools and also asked lawmakers to reform immigration laws to prevent jobs from going outside the United States and to keep America competitive in the rising global economy. The nation would need a continual stream of workers who would be able to perform at competitive wages.
“The U.S. cannot maintain its economic leadership unless our work force consists of people who have the knowledge and skills needed to drive innovation,” Gates told the Senate committee.
Noting that 30 percent of ninth-graders in the United States fail to graduate on time, Gates said, “As a nation, we should start with this goal: Every child in the United States graduating from high school.”
“Data collection systems must be transparent and accurate so that we can understand what is working and what isn’t and for whom,” Gates said. He continued:
Therefore, we need data by race and income. I urge this committee to support the creation of a Center for State Education Data, which will serve as a national resource for state education data and will provide one-stop access for education research and policy makers, along with a public web site to streamline education data reporting.
However, Gates did not just call on Congress to support collection of student data. His intention was that the data be used to implement an agenda.
“We also need to use the data we collect to implement change, including by personalizing learning to make it more relevant and engaging for students – and thereby truly ensure that no child is left behind,” he said.
In his testimony, Gates called for a shift in curriculum and pedagogy from those suited for an economy based on manufacturing and agriculture to those more appropriate for an economy based on knowledge and technology.
“We simply cannot sustain an economy based on innovation unless our citizens are educated in math, science, and engineering,” Gates said.
Subsequently, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Tucker’s NCEE received a total of $5,740,000 from prior to 2009 and through 2013.
As Catherine Gewertz wrote at Education Week, NCEE then became the organizer of one of the three groups of states applying for Race to the Top stimulus funds to design what would be the new Common Core assessments.
Tucker also served on the feedback team for the Common Core English/Language Arts standards, and two senior fellows at America’s Choice, Phil Daro and Sally Hampton, served, respectively, on the math and ELA work groups that drafted the Common Core standards.
It also happened that in August of 2010, the year the Common Core standards began to be adopted by 45 states, Pearson, the London-based education company, acquired America’s Choice for $80 million. Proceeds from the sale created a $3.6 million-per-year endowment for NCEE. Daro later became senior fellow for mathematics at now Pearson-America’s Choice, and Hampton joined him there as senior fellow for literacy.
Ironically, though proponents of the Common Core standards, including Gates himself, tout their “rigor,” even without the benefit of any research to support that claim, most of the individuals who have participated in the writing of the highly acclaimed academic standards have found the Common Core to be actually “lowering the bar” and even “embarrassingly dumb.”
Even one of Common Core’s own math standards’ authors, Jason Zimba, had this to say in 2010 about the centralized standards’ college-readiness:
In my original remarks, I didn’t make that point strongly enough or signal the agreement that we have on this– the definition of college readiness. I think it’s a fair critique that it’s a minimal definition of college readiness… Not only not for STEM, it’s also not for selective colleges. For example, for UC Berkeley, whether you are going to be an engineer or not, you’d better have precalculus to get into UC Berkeley.
As Pioneer Institute observed, yet another Common Core author of the math standards, William McCallum, noted about the original “College and Career Readiness Standards” (CCRS) in 2010:
The level set by the [CCRS} document, I completely agree, it’s not what we aspire to for our children… I completely agree with that and we should go beyond that… We should expect our children to go beyond that level as the K-12 standards will go beyond the level set by the college and career-ready document… The level that was set at the college and career ready document was not based on university admission requirements but was based on data about what students actually do, how well they succeed if they go to a certain level of mathematics.
Visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution Ze’ev Wurman, who recently completed a study demonstrating that there is no analytic evidence that the Common Core is rigorous, internationally benchmarked, or that it reflects college-readiness, wrote:
We know that CC’s [Common Core’s] “college-readiness” is aimed only at community colleges and is below the minimum that most 4-year state colleges routinely require today. We also know that today roughly 2/3 of high school graduates continue to 2- and 4-year colleges, but only about half of them, roughly 35% of high school graduates, earn any degree. In other words, we will be forcing colleges to accept even less prepared students than today, but instead of sending them to remedial courses, state colleges will now have to enroll them directly in credit-bearing courses. Finally, we know that many state legislatures are putting into law requirements that anyone declared “college ready” by Common Core assessment will not face remedial courses in a 4-year state college. Much of this is pushed by the federal No Child Left Behind “flexibility waivers” (granted to 43 states and counting) that require states to align their K-12 system with their colleges.
“Perhaps the most damaging aspect of the Common Core standards is not their low academic level, or the fact that they will likely result in less STEM preparedness in America rather than more,” Wurman continued. “Their worst damage is bound to come from the confusion they sow among teachers and parents as to what it really means to be ‘college ready.'”
Wurman observes that in attempting to lower the bar on what “college-ready” means for the purposes of giving low-income and minority students an advantage, Common Core supporters will likely damage these students the most.
“By interpreting that readiness in the narrow and non-standard sense of community college readiness, the Common Core falsely assures parents that their children are on a path to college when they are not, and removes parental pressure from schools and kids,” Wurman wrote. “Of necessity this will be particularly damaging to low SES students and first generation college aspiring students, whose families heavily rely on the school system for this type of information.”
Connecting what appears to be a lowering of standards for all U.S. students to the student data collection aspect of Common Core, Wurman told Breitbart News:
For the short term, think about the simple testing results from “common” national tests. Ask yourself – why is the federal Department of Education so eager to get them? They never wanted them before, after all. The answer is rather simple. If they have the individual test data in great detail, and if the details are meaningful – because on national tests they know which “standards” each test item is supposed to address – they believe they can do a lot of work around workplace and higher education planning.
Suddenly they can decide that Johnny is not suitable to go for an academic college because of his track record, even if an academic college accepted him. So what will they do? Will they refuse to give him his federal student loans if he chooses to go to academic college anyway? It’s only “saving your tax dollars, after all, because Johnny is bound to fail!”
“This is how they can effectively steer kids to particular colleges, particular disciplines, and particular degrees,” Wurman explained.
In the video below, eScholar CEO Shawn Bay explains how Big Data can plan children’s lives from cradle to workforce. In the last two minutes of the video clip, Bay discusses how the student data collected from the Common Core standards will be used.
Finally, Wurman comments on the Common Core’s agenda for an industrial “school-to-work” scheme.
“There are two main points here,” Wurman states. “That the low level of college-readiness was engineered on purpose because of the school-to-work concept; and that a national test with individual student ‘detailed’ data will allow the federal government to plan the workforce and steer students in the direction it desires.”