Over the last century, America has gone through a radical transformation in terms of its worldview, and political governance. This fundamental transformation has been in overdrive for the past 50 years, and on steroids during the last six. Regardless of which political party sits at the helm of the federal government, the opposing side points fingers as if they are to blame. When examined, an honest person will point their fingers three ways, at both parties, and at themselves. Nonetheless, we are living today and must address what is happening on our watch.
During the last six years, the Obama administration has taken three major actions that have changed 150 years of traditional education in America. These control points are the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the application and interpretation of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, and No Child Left Behind Flexibility Waiver. In part 1, I will address CCSS and will examine the next two in part 2 and 3, respectively.
Cash-strapped states were coerced by the federal government into turning over the remainder of their sovereignty in the area of education policy in exchange for a piece of the $4.3 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2009) (Stimulus Act). In 2010, Arne Duncan told the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
…each governor in the 50 states had to provide assurance” they would pursue reforms in four areas in exchange for their share of funds from a Recovery Act program designed to largely stem job loss among teachers and principals (Duncan, Arne. (November 4, 2010). The Vision of Education Reform in the United States: Secretary Arne Duncan’s Remarks to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Paris, France. Retrieved on November 19, 2014 from http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/vision-education-reform-united-states-secretary-arne-duncans-remarks-united-nations-ed.
This assurance begins with states adopting standards that were deemed by the centralized planners as “college and career ready.” States could improve their own standards, create new ones, both of which would not be completed by the grant deadline, or they could adopt the CCSS that was going to be written and already deemed college and career ready.Another point here: CCSS were not written, yet already deemed to be college and career ready by the U.S. Department of Education. Doesn’t this smell like, “we have to pass the bill to see what’s in it”?
Before I go further let’s just define what standards are anyway and some background information. “Standards” refer to what skills, knowledge, and abilities students should know at a particular time. The “curriculum” is the vehicle as to how they obtain those skills, knowledge, and abilities. Another point to be made is that both sides of this debate will argue national curriculum is illegal per the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESA). However, the federal government has funded the creation of CCSS and the assessments to assess the skills, knowledge, and abilities of students. The federal government has funded teacher training in CCSS and assessments.
The federal government has paid for teacher cadres to develop unit plans, lesson , plans, and reading list aligned to CCSS to be used as examples to other teachers. Proponents of CCSS will argue standards and curriculum are not the same and they are correct, but it is extremely important to understand standards and curriculum are intertwined and cannot be separated. Federally funded Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) controls the standards. Standards comes before the teaching, and these two groups control the test, which comes after the teaching. They control the teaching through the curriculum. Simply put,the federal government has created, implemented, and mandated a national curriculum and national testing, mandating individual students to meet individual standards, similar to the Obamacare individual mandate, and this is accomplished through the U.S. Department of Education’s proxies.
Why is this a game changer? History teaches us very clearly why. We all have heard it said something like this, “Whoever controls the education system will set the goals for the nation, define and establish its, moral values and ultimately rule the future in every area of life.” Three major governments from the 20th century clearly demonstrated this: Stalin’s, Mao’s, and Hitler’s. Nazism destroyed body, mind, and soul of the German people by capturing the youth through education. In Mein Kampf, Hitler stressed “the importance of winning over and then training the youth in the service ‘of a new national state’” (Shirer, William L. (1960). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Simon and Schuster: NY. pp. 248-249. Mr. Shirer was an eyewitness to the rise of Hitler and Nazism).
In a November 6, 1933 speech, Hitler declared:
When an opponent declares, ‘I will not come over to your side, I calmly say, “Your child belongs to us already…What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community (The Nizkor Project. Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression Volume I Chapter VII. Means Used by the Nazi Conspirators in Gaining Control of the German State. Retrieved November 15, 2014 from http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/nca/nca-01/nca-01-07-means-44.html).
On May 1st, 1937 Hitler also declared:
This new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take the youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing (ibid).
The Nazi party also changed the curricula and textbooks by placing emphasis on particular subjects and topics they wanted the next generation to be indoctrinated in. Furthermore, children were required to obtain an “efficiency record” from an approved organization. The high school curricula were changed through a series of executive orders from their Secretary of Education in order to ensure no one at the local level was subverting the top-down indoctrination (ibid).
These education reformers also needed complete control over teachers in order to carry out their education reforms. They changed the laws and regulations that govern teacher qualifications and re-certifications so that each teacher would be put through a reexamination and any that did not meet the new requirements, of obedience, were deemed “harmful and untrustworth” and removed (ibid).
As a fail-safe measure, the centralized government also replaced local education control with a top down education control by decreeing the head of any school fully responsible for the conduct of his or her school. Other words, the principal was responsible for the school falling in line with the official party ideology, or CCSS. Teachers committees were abolished and a “confidential instructor, “was appointed and assigned to each school. The “Parents Advisory Committees” in the public schools were dissolved” (ibid).
Am I comparing Obama’s administration to Hitler’s, of course not. But we do not know what ten, fifteen, twenty or even five years will bring. I am saying all competing worldviews were expunged from the State educational curriculum. Educational control was taken away from parents and local authorities and everyone in the education profession was forced to obtain certification from the State. Teachers were forced to take an oath to uphold the Nazi’s educational professional standards which forced the teachers to execute the ideology of the Statist doctrine. We already require teachers to have proven they are in alignment with the centralized government through certification and they are required to uphold educational professional standards. Moreover, it is beyond dispute that there is only one worldview presented in public school and that is humanism. The foundation has clearly been laid has it?
This doctrine was to remake the social, cultural, political, educational, and moral climate. It was this fundamental transformation of the educational system that truth became the Statist truth, a political Statist truth, a Statist economic truth. a Statist social truth, a Statist religious truth, to which all others had to subscribe to or be purged. Neutrality was never an option for Hitler. In fact, neutrality is not even possible. The comparison is explicit.
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