Every so often, there comes an issue that really and truly unites Americans in a way not seen often. We are a divided country, separated by factions left and right in a manner not seen since the last time we were divided by factions of left versus right. Even with this bitter division, there exists one issue that finds both left and right united in fevered battle with political leaders, both left and right. That issue is Common Core, and the fevered battle against all politicians is being led by the ultimate weaponry of grass roots movements, anyone with a kid or grand kid.
Don’t blame this crap on Barack Obama, at least not exclusively. He’s just the last guy holding the bad filled with this turd. While it’s true that he’s jumped on this bandwagon, it’s also true that this one started rolling during the day’s of Jimmy Carter, and not one single President since has failed to heap himself upon it. If ever there were an issue to make one a Libertarian, this is it. We can go back to the roots of the Department of Education, the absolute folly that led us to that creation, and call that our starting place. Carter proposed and pushed through Congress this new Cabinet level Department within the Federal behemoth as a vehicle to funnel massive amounts of tax payer money from households to Washington D.C., ostensibly in an effort to raise the standardized test scores of American Students as compared with foreign kids. It has been nothing short of an abject failure in its original mission. But like all good baby gorillas, it has grown into the 800 lb. variety. That original intention of course was eschewed for others, including a lucrative money laundering scheme that has enriched public sector unions and shifted considerable political clout to that fine group of thugs. Indeed, the 10 worst performing school districts in America are coincidentally at or near the top in terms of money spent per student. Coincidentally, those same school districts are still crying out for more and more funding, since there is no evidence that any money being spent per student has actually made into those class rooms. (We keep getting promised that our good friends, fraud, theft, and waste, will be eliminated as a means to save the taxpayers money.)
Ronald Reagan campaigned on eliminating both the Department of Energy and the Department of Education. In an 8 year Presidency, he attempted neither. I realize that Reagan never had a Republican Congress to help him get things passed, but he also had a knack for taking his case straight to the American People and having individual communities pressure Congress Critters to pass his agenda. Reagan’s economic boom was a tremendous testament to his policy achievement, but let’s not forget that much of that success should also be attributed to Paul Volcker and his refusal to bow to political pressure designed to force him into loosening the money supply.
George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton both expanded the roles of these Departments, and by the time those 12 years had passed, the Department of Energy and the Department of Education had become permanent entities that Americans believed we could not live without. Many may have actually contemplated how could we have survived past our Bicentennial without them. Never mind that like many of the pitched boondoggles, neither agency came close to accomplishing the original mission which was sold as being the vital reason for its creation, they are still what’s best for we mere subjects of the worker’s paradise formerly reserved for the free and and brave.
Enter George W. Bush and that perfect lesson of how dangerous vague legislation can be. With the framework that No Child Left Behind created, the apparatus to make Common Core a reality for every lucky girl and boy in the land was created. Now, it is true that this program is, “voluntary,” and left up to each individual state as to whether or not they’ll play along, but that belies the point that Federal Dollars to the States for education are being held hostage to insure compliance. Federal Matching funds are why a lot of states decide to voluntarily go along with federal suggestions on a variety of issues.
Now in the public debate over Common Core, many things are said, and a lot of them, while not technically true, or technically true, (picking the pepper from fly shit so to speak,) I’ll hear that Common Core is nothing more than a raising of our national bar in regards to education, and that minimum standards need to be set in order to keep us competitive. Technically, this is true, Common core is only the set of standards, and not the individual lesson plans that have us all shaking our heads.
The lie to all of that of course is found in the picture above. We didn’t see that kind of crap coming home with our kids prior to Common Core, nor can that wonderful example be found anywhere within the very vague text of the law. So, when you read Common Core, all it actually says is that we’ll establish some national standards, and that the Secretary of Education will be responsible for what is considered adequate to satisfy those standards, disburse the money necessary, establish a methodology of tracking progress, and hold states and school districts accountable.
Politicians from both major political parties have pimped this mess to us. The difference this time around is that parents, almost all of them, are not willing to just take it. The common core lesson plans, not found in the law itself, but within the rules drawn up by the Secretary of Education, something most people never think to bother with, include this new methodology of doing math, Socialist dogma, a revised version of American and World history, and many other surprises that American Parents find troubling.
Common Core had been originally signed onto by 45 States, and of those 45, 5 have reversed course. The political pressure from angry parents will continue to build, as more and more children pass from grade to grade, believing that these bizarre number lines are the best way to solve simple math problems, where getting the right answer is no where near so important as how pretty you draw the picture corresponding to description of the problem introduced.
I know many teachers, and shockingly almost all of them are solidly left of center. Most of them have bitched about Common Core. They tell me, a solid member of the anti-Common Core choir, that this new method of teaching is tying their hands and preventing them from doing the right thing by their students. I have found in my life time that teachers actually do care a great deal for doing a good job, and actually imparting knowledge to those young skulls full of mush that pass through their class rooms. They agree with the goals of Common Core, establishing standards by which kiddies actually learn something, and truthfully, it’s hard to argue with that. Then they’ll give that tried and true Leftist argument, “we just didn’t have the right people running things.”
Such is the danger of all vague government programs, they depend upon the right people running things, a mythical beast I’ve yet to meet. Local control of our schools complete with parents of children running the school boards in those communities had worked well for 200 years prior to the Department of Education. Our standards then were much higher, and our kids were graduating with far greater knowledge and skill.
I will predict that this government intrusion into perpetrating damage upon the fabric of our society will fail. Anyone with skin in the game is really pissed off, both teachers and parents alike. That upset is national and unifying across ideological lines. The proponents of this pig can place as much lipstick on their beauty queen as they wish, call us liars for balking, and even spend millions to air slickly produced adverts telling us all how important it is to raise educational standards, but as long at the above homework assignment keeps coming home, the truth will be seen. Messing with someone’s kids is that tipping point to stir up real grass roots anger.
Cross Posted from Musings of a Mad Conservative.