By Dr. Gregory J. Brannon
Common Core is a standardized education system that does an injustice to our kids, to parents, teachers and to our country as a whole. Common Core goes against Biblical teaching and the Constitution. Common Core hurts our public schools, our private and home schools, and ultimately our colleges. Common Core is unacceptable and needs to be eliminated. The more informed citizens are about Common Core, the more outrage that follows.
God is very clear in His Word about education. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of The Lord is the beginning of knowledge. But fools despise wisdom and instruction”. James Madison said, “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must own themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” Knowledge is what we need to give our children, not Common Core Standards.
There are three questions that we must ask ourselves: “Who is sovereign?”, “What is the legitimate role of government?”, and “Who is in charge of our children?”. These questions will put Common Core in perspective and show why it needs to be eliminated.
The first question, “Who is Sovereign?” can be answered by first defining Sovereign. One definition of sovereign in Webster’s Dictionary is: “King or Queen.” According to God’s Word in Timothy 6:15, “which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” God is the ultimate Sovereign ruler and He made us in his image to be sovereign. Another definition of sovereign in Webster’s is, “having independent authority and the right to govern itself”. We, being made in God’s image, are sovereign and have the authority to govern ourselves.
“What is the legitimate role of government?” It is the rule of law, not of man. Simply put, the legitimate role of government is to protect the individual inalienable rights.
The last question is, “Who is in control of our children?” God created each man and woman and gave each child parents to love and nurture and offer guidance as the child grows. Parents are the ones who have control of their children and should maintain that control in every aspect of the child’s life, including education. James Wilson, one of the Founding Fathers, said, “It is the duty of parents to maintain their children decently, and according to their circumstances; to protect them according to the dictates of prudence; and to educate them according to the suggestions of a judicious and zealous regard for their usefulness, their respectability, and happiness.” Parents know and love their children more than anyone else and will always pursue the very best for them. With parental control of education, parents will advocate for their best education possible.
Common Core is a standard based education policy being forced on our children and it has no place in their lives. We are sovereign and therefore, rule over ourselves. The government has no right to impose these standards on our children and parents have every right and responsibility to protest this governmental intrusion into the lives of their children.
More evidence that Common Core has no place in our schools is, it is a direct contradiction to true Federalism. We are a country made up of dual sovereignty, which means there are two powers of government, each with separate functions. Though they have separate functions, they have one mission, to protect our individual inalienable rights. The state’s sovereignty comes from the individual. It is up to each individual to maintain that sovereignty. The United States Constitution lists enumerated functions, powers that are specifically given to Congress. These functions can be found in Article 1 Section 8. In those 18 enumerated functions, education IS NOT listed. Therefore, the federal government has no Constitutional right to be involved with the educational system of the states. In fact, the NC Constitution is clear about NC’s role in education. This can be found in Article 1, Section 15 of the NC Constitution: “The people have a right to the privilege of education and it is the duty of the state to guard and maintain that right.” The federal government has no legal right to reach into North Carolina and dictate what curriculum is used.
Looking back to the history of education, Woodrow Wilson wanted a two-tiered system. He said, “We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.” This frame of mind goes along with John Dewey’s philosophy of education. Dewey was a socialist, atheist and co-authored The Humanist Manifesto 1. Dewey is quoted as saying, “We must help the God-indoctrinated person realize that morals and ethics are man-made…(and thus teach him to) discard his outdated, immoral, or evil values (by) replacing them with RATIONAL ONES.” In his book, The Underground History Of American Education, John Taylor Gatto says this about the Education Trust of 1917: “the major administrative jobs in American schooling were under the control of “the Education Trust”: representatives of Rockefeller, Carnegie, Harvard, Stanford, University of Chicago, and the National Education Association. The chief end, wrote Benjamin Kidd, was to “impose on the young the ideal of subordination.” Gatto called Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and Henry Ford “The Four Architects of Modern Forced Schooling” who thought modern industry needed “workers who know nothing”. Dewey in 1933, advocated that “Man is responsible for what he/she gets out of life. There is no hereafter. There should be NO LIMITS to pleasure one can seek in life. UNLIMITED ABORTION RIGHTS, HOMOSEXUALITY, DIVORCE, EUTHANASIA, AND SUICIDE are exalted as an acceptable way out of an unhappy life!” This mentality is not what our education system needs to be made up of.
North Carolina’s Constitution says in Section 1: “Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools, libraries, and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” NC is obligated to protect education and keep its influences at a state level and the parental level. The implementation of Common Core in NC violates NC’s own Constitution as well as the US Constitution. The federal government enticed the states, including NC to accept Common Core, by offering federal dollars for programs like Title 1, Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind. Here lies the violation, the federal government has no authority to intervene in the state’s educational systems. While Common Core is being implemented in public schools, it is not mandated in home schools or private schools. However, the standardized tests are written to the Common Core standards and each private and home school must teach their students the material that they must know in order to pass the standardized tests. This includes PSAT/SAT and the Advanced Placement tests that are required for college acceptance.
Members of the Common Core Validation Committee have refused to sign off on the standards. The English portion of Common Core has students reading mostly nonfiction material. Which is not where literacy, imagination and cultural knowledge is learned. The Math portion has many missing math components like prime factorization, conversion with fractions, it replaces Euclidean Geometry with an experimental approach, and takes Calculus out of the curriculum for most students, the list continues. These deficits in Common Core’s teaching standards attack the STEM areas of education. Common Core does not challenge our students to a higher level of learning; it lowers the standards, therefore, weakening our educational systems in comparison to other high-achieving countries. “The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act is a federal law that protects the privacy interests of students.” Up until the amendments of 2008 and 2011, parents could view, change and have control over who has access to their child’s school records. After additional amendments were added in 2008 and 2011, sharing information between institutions is much easier.
NC received a grant in 2012 from the US Department of Education to develop and begin using “P-20W”. “General Statues 116E allows the NC Longitudinal Data System Board with creating an inventory of what student data will be collected and reporting it to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee.” What this means is there are over 400 portals of data collection on each child beginning in preschool and going until the child reaches 20 and in the workforce. Some avenues of data collection are attendance records, immunization records, doctor visits, prescription medicine ( a type of drug, reason, and dosage), standardized tests results, hobbies, attitudes toward school and many, many other portals. The danger with this is that a child’s records are readily available and the parent has no idea who is accessing the data and for what reason. This is a clear violation of all privacy laws. Common Core is a vital part of the collection of educational data on each child and is shared with other agencies.
John Taylor Gatto, a three-time teacher of the year, said, “When you take the free will out of education that makes it schooling.” Education does not equal schooling. I believe our greatest generation of educators was not our Founding Fathers, but their parents. They taught their children to question and challenge everything. With that, they built the first and only constitutional republic based on the individual over the collective. We must run back to those foundational Constitutional principles. We must not, we will not allow these central planning social engineers destroy any more generations! We must get back to individual freedom and liberty, where we should have never left. James Madison said, “A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.” We must instruct and educate our children in order for our country to remain a free country and not one of socialism. Common Core does not instruct our children, it leads us on a fast pace track to socialism and we must stop it!