The Madison County Record Oct. 5, 2015, 11:53am


To the Editor:

By now most Americans are familiar with Common Core as a scheme by the federal government to rewrite education. This experimental program was sold to state governments, sight unseen, without a shred of proof it was better than the program it replaced. This maneuver was largely accomplished through taxpayer-funded bribes, deception, and federal bludgeoning. Common Core proponents used vague language about "excellence" in education, "raising the bar," and "getting this nation's children ready for the workforce,” as selling points that new standards were needed. Little or nothing was mentioned about the accompanying curriculum, rewritten textbooks, or the extensive, expensive new testing programs.

Now that Common Core is entrenched in most American classrooms, a multitude of problems have been exposed and experienced by students, parents, teachers and administrators. The extensive testing program is why parents are becoming activists to get Common Core out of their schools. It is why many teachers, child psychologists, and education experts are continually speaking out against the flawed program and why some states are regretting their hasty decisions to accept it.

Because Common Core is copyrighted, it cannot be altered by anyone other than the owners of the copyright. The NGA Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) have been granted a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to copy, publish, distribute, and display the Common Core State Standards for purposes that support the Common Core State Standards Initiative. These uses may involve the Common Core State Standards as a whole or selected excerpts or portions. This license extends to the Common Core State Standards only.

Under Common Core, an Orwellian nightmare is already taking place through the data-mining of students and their families. An unprecedented monitoring and tracking of students, including everything from biometric data to information on children's beliefs and personal family values has become far too common. Privacy rights are being abused, and most parents are either unaware or too trusting of their schools and government to understand the potential harm.

It stands to reason that all the data collected will be shared with the U.S. Department of Education and other entities both within and outside the federal government. Consider also how advancing technology will likely increase the scope of data gathering and expand it beyond most people's wildest nightmares. Facial expression cameras are already being strapped to wrists of students to detect emotion and capture facial expressions. How long will it take before all vestiges of privacy are stripped from vulnerable students?

However, as controversial and unsettling as Common Core has proved to be, prepare yourself, because there are even more disturbing educational programs currently being designed and enacted at the federal level. Blame it on the “slippery slope” explanation or possibly the progression of a determined administration that knows they have just one more year left to put forth their liberal plans to “fundamentally change America.” Either way, every conservative should be exceedingly alarmed with the most recent change in education that this administration has planned for America.

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse...

Despite campaign promises by Republicans to reign in the Obama administration on issues such as healthcare, illegal immigration, and education, little or nothing has been achieved. Even though Common Core is now recognized as an educational disaster in the making, there has been little action from either party at the federal level to reign in the continually expanding federal Department of Education or preferably eliminate it altogether. The education of our children was assigned by law to the States, not the federal government.

A Communists’ dream education bill is currently in the Senate as witness to the danger of allowing the Department of Education to exist. It is S1787 or "The Full Service Community Schools Act” bill, crafted to amend Title V of the Great Society Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. S1787 gives the current administration virtually everything it wants, and then some, even when our laws do not give the federal government any right to meddle in what has been granted to individual states. Actually, they are more than just meddling, they are making enormous, radical changes. Unfortunately, these changes will most likely shape the future of America and thus the future of our children and grandchildren.

The essence of the new education system, Community Schools, is to provide every need (every meal, health care), to the student.

Although the bill sounds friendly, it is not. Any initiative that shifts the center of a child’s universe away from home, church, and family to that of complete dependence upon a government entity should be seriously questioned. Community Schools go further than just strengthening government's authority over our children. It robs parents of their role, their responsibilities, and the time honored family unit that allows families to unite in a bond of cooperation and love that can only be fully realized by those who have nurtured the child from conception to birth and each stage of that child’s life. Parents are not perfect, but even with all their flaws, nobody loves that child as much as they do.

It is in the home in which bonding occurs and most often lasts a lifetime. Is there anything more important for a child than the unconditional love of parents and family? The government thinks there is. They believe they can do a better job of raising our children than we can. No, they cannot!

Nancy Thorner

Lake Bluff, Ill.

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