Panelist Defends Common Core at Center For American Progress Forum: 'The Children Belong to All of Us'

Panelist Defends Common Core at Center For American Progress Forum: 'The Children Belong to All of Us'

Channeling Hillary Clinton’s philosophy of “It takes a village to raise a child,” a panelist at a Center for American Progress (CAP) forum on the Common Core standards said their critics were a “tiny minority” whose lack of support for them was unfair because “the children belong to all of us.”

The liberal CAP was founded by John Podesta, former Clinton chief of staff and current adviser to President Obama.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has been the primary source of private funding for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, awarded CAP $550,000 in 2013 to support the standards initiative.

At the CAP forum, held on January 31st, asked about the critics who argue that federal Race To The Top stimulus money was used to incentivize states to adopt the Common Core standards.

Paul Reville, former Secretary of Education for Massachusetts and a Common Core supporter, said, “To be sure, there’s always a small voice – and I think these voices get amplified in the midst of these arguments – of people who were never in favor of standards in the first place and never wanted to have any kind of testing or accountability, and those voices get amplified.”

“But those are a tiny minority,” Reville said. “An overwhelming majority of teachers are saying this is something – as [panelist] Toby [Romer] said – that makes sense.”

Reville is parroting the words of Randi Weingarten, president of American Federation of Teachers (AFT) who continues to falsely say that most teachers are supportive of the Common Core standards.

Educator and Common Core historian Dr. Mercedes Schneider noted last May:

Randi Weingarten really wants to promote the illusion that teachers have bought into the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). She hired Hart Research Associates to conduct a survey of AFT membership regarding perceptions about CCSS, and Hart did so March 27 – 30, 2013. Weingarten has used this survey as a platform to proclaim that “75% of AFT teachers surveyed support the Common Core.”

Schneider, a statistician, explains that one of the Power Point slides composed by Hart for AFT is titled “Teachers Overwhelmingly Approve of Common Core State Standards:”

The first deceptive issue with this slide is its title: This leads readers to “see” what they are being told to in the slide – not only do “teachers” (not AFT teachers, but teachers in general) “approve,” but by a landslide they approve. The clearly-intended message: Teachers in general really are for this Common Core. Readers are then told that teachers were asked this question:

Based on what you know about the Common Core State Standards and the expectations they set for children, do you approve or disapprove of your state’s decision to adopt them?

Yet this was not the survey question. The actual survey question was as follows:

Q3 Based on what you know about these standards and the expectations they set for children, do you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove, or strongly disapprove of your state’s decision to adopt the Common Core State Standards?

…This is key. In the Power Point, Hart/AFT have collapsed categories in order to present the illusion of “overwhelming approval.”

Further ridiculing the parents, teachers, and education experts who have spoken out against the Common Core standards as “fringe voices,” Reville added at the CAP event:

Again, the argument about where it came from I think privileges certain sorts of fringe voices about federalism and states’ rights, and things of that nature, when really what we’re doing at the national level here now, state by state, is what a lot of our states thought made sense individually.

Why should some towns and cities and states have no standards or low standards and others have extremely high standards when the children belong to all of us and would move [to different states in their educational lives]?

“And the same logic applies to the nation,” Reville said. “And it makes sense to educators. It makes sense to policymakers, and it’s why people have voluntarily entered into this agreement.”

The notion that “people have voluntarily entered into this agreement” continues to be a falsehood propagated by Common Core supporters. The “people” never voted on the adoption of the Common Core standards and neither did their elected representatives in the state legislatures.

As Dr. Sandra Stotsky and Jane Robbins wrote last June at the American Principles Project:

For many months after the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) was launched in 2009, the identities of the people drafting the “college- and career-readiness standards” were unknown to the public. CCSSI eventually revealed the names of the 24 members of the “Standards Development Work Group” in response to complaints from professional organizations and parent groups about the lack of transparency…

The final version released in June 2010 contained most of the problems apparent in the first draft: lack of rigor, minimal content, lack of international benchmarking, lack of research support. None of the public feedback to the March draft has been made available.

So this was the “transparent, state-led” process that resulted in the Common Core standards. The standards were created by people who wanted a “Validation Committee” in name only. An invalid process, endorsed by an invalid Validation Committee, not surprisingly resulted in invalid standards. Now that the curtain is being pulled back on the real origins of Common Core, states would do well to reconsider their hasty decisions to adopt this pig in an academic poke.

Interestingly, Reville was Secretary of Education in Massachusetts while Stotsky was a member of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (MBESE). Stotsky, who is credited with having developed the Massachusetts standards for K-12 students – one of the country’s strongest sets of academic standards – was not reappointed to MBESE in 2010 after making known her criticism of the Common Core standards.

According to, in 2010, then-Massachusetts Secretary of Education Reville dismissed the claim that Stotsky was not reappointed to the MBESE because of her opposition to the Common Core standards.

“It’s never assumed that anyone in an existing seat automatically gets reappointed, and usually with a new governor [Deval Patrick], there is turnover on boards,” Reville said.

One of the replacement members on the MBESE was Vanessa Calderon-Rosado, who said she could bring a “unique perspective to the board” and “expressed her hope that she would draw more participation from the Latino and low-income community.”


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