By Elois Zeanah
Immediate Past President, Alabama Federation of Republican Women, 2010-2014
“Yes, Dr. Bice, If you like your doctor and your health insurance, you can keep them.” Your promise that Alabama can maintain full “state control of our public education system” is right up there with this promise. Alabama has signed agreements with the federal government to implement Common Core K-12 education standards one hundred percent as written. Common Core is a one-size-fits-all national standards for K-12 that will be compulsory and will replace existing state standards for curricula, textbooks, testing, teacher instruction, teacher evaluation, and assessments. Despite your careful parsing and clever spins, these are “stubborn facts.” But facts didn’t matter from the beginning when the state board of education agreed to adopt Common Core to replace Alabama’s tradition educational standards without public debate.
Like ObamaCare, neither you nor the state board of education knew what would be in the Common Core curriculum when you rushed to sign up when the federal government dangled billions of dollars to states who would sign on to Race to the Top to usher in revolutionary education reform, which was not written, untested and unresearched, and would be used by the Obama Administration as official education policy. You obligated parents, teachers, and legislators (who have final authority over public education) without their approval and took away parental and states rights. Neither you nor the state board of education had that constitutional right. This is a “stubborn fact” that you ignore.
The Application of Race to the Top and Waivers to No Child Left Behind Mandated the Implementation of Common Core
While it’s a “fact” that Alabama was not awarded Race to the Top grants, Alabama applied and was refused twice but nevertheless Alabama had to agree to adopt and implement one hundred percent the Common Core Standards, not yet written, whether or not Alabama received the federal bait. The same was true to get the Obama Administration to grant Alabama a waiver to No Child Left Behind. Yet you continually omit these “stubborn facts.”
Common Core is Copyright and Cannot be Changed by States
You also never mention who owns the copyright to the Common Core Standards. You should since you are a member of one of those two private organizations, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), which has partnered with the National Governors Association (NGA). The writing and marketing of the Common Core standards, written without transparency and without legislative authority, were written under the auspices of these two lobbying organizations. Both organizations have accepted hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government and Gates Corporation to convince states to approve national, one-size-fits-all K-12 education standards. Changes to Common Core can only be made by the copyright holders. Importantly, the copyright that your organization holds includes a disclaimer that the organization cannot be held liable or accountable for any harm that might come to our students from the implementation of the standards.
Children’s Privacy is Breached
Parents are spooked that changes have been made to the FERPA law that allows the collection of confidential student data and its storage in a giant database online, which will be shared by federal agencies and private parties. Such sharing (illegal until the Obama Administration changed the FERPA law, again bypassing Congress and without a whisper of alarm from Dr. Bice about this presidential abuse of power and how it would remove protection from our students.) As exposed by crack investigative journalist Stephanie Simon and stated by Diane Ravitch, a former Reagan education cabinet member, now, our children’s and grandchildren’s “personal and confidential data will be sold or given to entrepreneurs for marketing purposes” such as to the Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, Compass Learning, Pearson, and others. Instead of blindly and silently giving into the lawlessness of the Obama Administration, and working with big business to boost their profits at the expense of our children’s privacy and safety, the Alabama state board of education should be shouting from the rooftops about how FERPA endangers our children.
Dr. Bice also ignores the fact that Common Core textbooks and suggested reading materials that teach that: (1) “Government is like a nation’s family because it sets rules and takes care of needs such as health care and education. So says a worksheet for social studies homework … complete with a drawing of Uncle Sam cradling a baby that represents the citizens.” (2) Some textbooks and related materials include porn, incest, profanity, promiscuity and encourage having children out of wedlock, writings that condemn Christianity, capitalism, and praise Castro and communism.
Does Alabama Want to Help President Obama use Education to Fulfill his “Battle for Social Justice?”
President Obama’s Secretary of Education has characterized Common Core as a “revolution” to help in the “battle for social justice”. Why should Dr. Bice, the state board of education, and the Alabama legislature play any part in embracing Common Core and be used to fulfill a socialist fantasy so against Alabama values and in violation of the Tenth Amendment?
The only way to stop this travesty, and to restore parental and states’ rights over local education is to replace incumbents who support Common Core and convince Alabama legislators to repeal Common Core before it, like ObamaCare, is embedded.