By Danette Clark
Below is a letter in response to Wisconsin Superintendent of Education Tony Evers’ October 22nd letter to the editor of the Vilas County News Review.
Evers has been a staunch supporter of Common Core, even threatening to take the matter to the Supreme Court if Wisconsin legislators attempt to oust the standards. His letter to the editor parroted the same baseless statements and empty promises we’ve heard from many education leaders across the country.
Although I submitted my response a few weeks ago, it wasn’t published until this week, one day after Arne Duncan publically stated that we need to have honest conversations about education. Ironically, that’s exactly what my letter to the editor demands (see below).
Letter to the Editor:
In response to State Superintendent Tony Evers’ letter to the editor on Common Core:
Although I’m not a parent in the state of Wisconsin, I am one of thousands of parents from more than 40 states who have been calling for our elected board of education members, superintendents of education, state representatives, and governors, to come out from behind their scripted protective podiums and have an honest conversation about Common Core.
I believe I speak for many concerned parents across the country when I ask for a conversation that does not include any of the following words: clearer, better, fewer, rigorous, 21st century, globally competitive, and college and career ready. We believe those words should be saved for a day when there actually exists data to support them.
Today’s conversation should be about trust, control, agenda, and accountability.
While Mr. Evers and others we’ve entrusted with the care of our children’s education continue to insist that local control is secure, their actions tell an entirely different story.
The sad truth is that our elected officials turned control of our children’s education over to the federal government the day they agreed to adopt the Common Core State Standards — standards that weren’t even written at the time, let alone tested.
The Memorandum of Agreement with the Council of Chief State School Officers that was entered into by 45 states for the adoption of the standards specifically states that one role of the federal government in supporting Common Core is to “revise and align existing federal education laws with lessons learned from states’ international benchmarking efforts and from federal research.”
In other words, it appears that our states signed a contract that not only offered no protection or guarantees against federal intrusion, but literally gave the federal government a green light to change education laws however it sees fit.
Both the Pioneer Institute and the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law have determined that the extent to which the federal government is involved in the Common Core State Standards constitutes an assault on federalism, parental authority and privacy rights.
Since the signing of these Memorandums of Agreement by our states, the U.S. Department of Education has, without congressional approval, stripped a 40-year old privacy law so that it no longer protects personal student data from being accessed by third parties without parental consent. So what’s next?
Our states signed onto standards created by socialists, communists and progressives with a political and moral agenda, who consider pornographic and profane texts to be educational. Although Common Core backers argue these disturbing texts are only recommended by the standards and not required, parents in many states are finding that their children are being exposed to this inappropriate material.
In 2009, the single largest financial backer of the Common Core State Standards, Bill Gates, stated:
“Identifying common standards is just the starting point. We will only know if this effort has succeeded when the curriculum and tests are aligned to these standards.”
Dozens of educators, including several creators of the standards and assessments, have called for common content, stating that “core curriculum must build a bridge from standards to achievement.”
Will President Obama and Arne Duncan answer that call using the green light our states gave them to change education laws?
Our state representatives had a constitutional obligation to maintain control of education at the state level so parents are guaranteed a voice. Many of us believe they’ve failed and we intend to hold them accountable.
Trust, control, agenda, accountability — we demand this conversation now!”