Common Core Is What Hillary and Bill Clinton Have Worked Toward For Years

In this Nov. 17, 2015 photo, a student works in an eighth grade algebra class at Holy Spirit School in East Greenbush, N.Y.
AP Photo/Mike Groll

Emails uncovered by Wikileaks from the Democratic National Committee show a communications director warning his colleagues not to talk about Common Core because of its political volatility.

In fact, however, the unpopular nationalized standards are what Hillary and Bill Clinton have been working toward for years.

DNC deputy communications director Eric Walker directs his colleagues in the emails, courtesy of Wikileaks:

A) Common Core is a political third rail that we should not be touching at all. Get rid of it.

B) Most people want local control of education so having Cruz and Trump saying it on a DNC video is counterproductive. Would get rid of any references to that.

C) We wanted Christie in there bc he’s a trump surrogate / could be trump VP / most anti-teacher guy out there. He’s yelled at pretty much everyone, there HAS to be video of him yelling at teachers and looking like a bully

D) Need Cruz saying dept of ed should be abolished. If you can’t find it – use this<> from AFP summit: “The department of Education – which should be abolished”

Democrats may not mention the words “Common Core,” but their party’s platform — and Clinton’s history in the development of the plan that ultimately became the Common Core standards reform — informs voters the social justice education program is exactly what she worked toward while her husband was running for president.

The 2016 DNC platform states:

Democrats are unified in their strong belief that every student should be able to go to college debt-free, and working families should not have to pay any tuition to go to public colleges and universities…

The federal government will push more colleges and universities to take quantifiable, affirmative steps in increasing the percentages of racial and ethnic minority, low-income, and first-generation students they enroll and graduate…

We will ensure there are great schools for every child no matter where they live. Democrats know the federal government must play a critical role in making sure every child has access to a world-class education…

We will hold schools, districts, communities, and states accountable for raising achievement levels for all students—particularly low-income students, students of color, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities.

As Missouri Education Watchdog reports, according to the platform, the only feature of Common Core that Democrats seem to be rejecting is high-stakes testing used to evaluate teacher evaluations.

During her first campaign event last year, Hillary Clinton praised Common Core, referring to it as “the most important non-family enterprise,” and questioned how the nationalized reform could become so unpopular:

And a lot of states…do not understand the value of a core in the sense, a Common Core, yes, of course, you can figure out the best way in your community to try to reach — but your question is a larger one. How do we end up at a point where we are so negative about the most important non-family enterprise in the raising of the next generation which is how our kids are educated?

In April, Clinton told Newsday that she has always supported national education standards:

[W]hat I want to do, again, just like you were talking about Common Core and to set some standards, we need to have a common set of standards by which we judge all the schools, all the public schools, traditional, charter, magnet, whatever we call them. I have always supported national standards. I’ve always believed that we need to have some basis on which to determine whether we’re making progress, vis-à-vis other countries who all have national standards.

In making that statement, Clinton articulated the false narrative that the Common Core standards have been “internationally benchmarked.” And later on in the interview, she – like the teachers’ unions – blames a “disastrous” roll-out of Common Core for its lack of popularity.

Clinton acknowledged that she has “been involved in the past, not recently, in promoting such an approach” as Common Core. In fact, immediately following Bill Clinton’s election to the presidency in November of 1992, Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), was involved in the early stages of what would ultimately become the Common Core standards reform.

With Clinton’s presidency secured, Tucker proposed his agenda to the soon-to-be First Lady in his now well-known “letter to Hillary Clinton”:

I still cannot believe you won. But utter delight that you did pervades all the circles in which I move…

The subject we were discussing was what you and Bill should do now about education, training and labor market policy…

Our purpose in these meetings was to propose concrete actions that the Clinton administration could take — between now and the inauguration, in the first 100 days and beyond. The result, from where I sit, was really exciting. We took a very large leap forward in terms of how to advance the agenda on which you and we have all been working — a practical plan for putting all the major components of the system in place within four years, by the time Bill has to run again.

We think the great opportunity you have is to remold the entire American system for human resources development, almost all of the current components of which were put in place before World War II. The danger is that each of the ideas that Bill advanced in the campaign in the area of education and training could be translated individually in the ordinary course of governing into a legislative proposal and enacted as a program. This is the plan of least resistance. But it will lead to these programs being grafted onto the present system, not to a new system, and the opportunity will have been lost. If this sense of time and place is correct, it is essential that the administration’s efforts be guided by a consistent vision of what it wants to accomplish in the field of human resource development, with respect both to choice of key officials and the program.

Tucker continued with a description of his “vision of the kind of national –not federal – human resources development system the nation could have.”

He wrote:

This is interwoven with a new approach to governing that should inform that vision. What is essential is that we create a seamless web of opportunities, to develop one’s skills that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone — young and old, poor and rich, worker and full-time student. It needs to be a system driven by client needs (not agency regulations or the needs of the organization providing the services), guided by clear standards that define the stages of the system for the people who progress through it, and regulated on the basis of outcomes that providers produce for their clients, not inputs into the system.

As the Eagle Forum observed, Tucker’s plan was implemented in three laws passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1994: the Goals 2000 Act, the School-to-Work Act, and the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act. These new laws established the following mechanisms to restructure public schools:

  • Bypass all elected officials on school boards and in state legislatures by making federal funds flow to the Governor and his appointees on workforce development boards.
  • Use a computer database, a.k.a. “a labor market information system,” 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. The computerized data would be available to the school, the government, and future employers.
  • Use “national standards” and “national testing” to cement national control of tests, assessments, school honors and rewards, financial aid, and the Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM), which is designed to replace the high school diploma.

Tucker clearly saw Bill and Hillary Clinton’s advance to the White House as the start of the fulfillment of this “school-to-work” vision, one that is now actively shared by many governors of both parties, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and local state business and industry groups.

The Common Core standards and the student data collected through the Common Core-aligned tests are serving as a vehicle to provide big business with a government-guaranteed labor force – a genuine planned economy.

Kirsten Lombard, editor of Common Ground on Common Core: Voices from across the Political Spectrum Expose the Realities of the Common Core State Standards, told Breitbart News, “Where the true customers for education should be the parent and the child, school-to-work (STW) programs have replaced them with government and business, increasingly making of the classroom a career-tracking and a labor-fulfillment center.”

Lombard explains classical education that allows children and teens to think critically and prepares them for a variety of opportunities in careers or higher education has been replaced by the STW mentality.

“Where we used to talk about equipping children to determine their own futures through real and solid education, we now talk almost exclusively about strengthening the workforce through education and ensuring that our classrooms are producing students ready to work,” she said.

While some students will choose vocational training based on their own interests, Lombard says big business and government should not be making that decision for them.

“The bottom line is that, in a truly free society, business takes care of itself,” she said. “Neither the state nor the federal government has any legitimate role in either facilitating or managing the job training of private enterprise.”


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