The following guest article was written by Dennis Ian who is a member of Stop Common Core in New York State.
By Denis Ian
Let’s play chess … because that’s exactly what the Gates and the Common Core pushers are doing.
They’re on their heels. Some states … and some individual school districts … have simply dumped Common Core. And there are seismic jitters from coast to coast. Our efforts have juiced up the CC issue in the media and now it’s a part of the election language as we swing into the fall. The anti-Common Core sites have become magnets for disgruntled parents and offended educators from all levels. If you can lift yourself up a bit … and spy the situation from a decent altitude … you’ll see the anti-forces are more muscled than ever. And it’s predictable that the Common Core patriarchs are in full-swing chess mode. They’re too clever by half. Can’t leave bad enough alone. Gotta ring the bells and push the panic-buttons pronto.
First, Arne Duncan’s out to castrate Oklahoma for giving CC the heave-ho. South Carolina is next in line for the knife. Duncan’s got his razor strop out for any state and any school district that dares derail the federal transfer of local and state control to DC big-wigs. Duncan’s activity resembles more a MASH unit … triaging the Common Core wounded in states like Indiana, Oregon, Georgia, and Michigan. In all, seventeen states have pushed back against Common Core — including Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia, which declined to sign on from the beginning. Duncan’s head looks more and more like a bobble-head … not quite sure where the next anti-Common Core brushfire’s gonna pop up. Let’s keep him busy.
Second, the American Federation of Teachers … in an infrequent moment of clarity … actually told the Gates Foundation to take his money-clip and shove it. Randi Weingarten, hardly my nominee for the "Esteemed Educator" plaque, blew off Gates and his money saying, "I got convinced by the level of distrust I was seeing …" Thanks for the head-knock, but keep any eye on her … she still slithers as far as I’m concerned. But I’ll take her knee-capping of Gates as a happy moment.
Last, Bill Gates has had a light-bulb moment and realized he just might have over-invested millions in a "black hole" … so he’s suddenly asking for a sort of desperate speed-reduction when it comes to the implementation to chill the chatter. A "moratorium". His empty peace pipe had few takers. In fact, his sappy sort of plea-bargain got super-slammed … and he’s wondering if he’s still the smartest man in the galaxy. Good. He’s not.
So, back to the chessboard. I guess Gates mused and fretted that this was an apropos moment for yet another genius swivel by enlisting the post-secondary Common Core knights to come to his defense. More than two hundred knights to be precise. Here are his marching orders to the pointy-headed wizards of the university world: "Members of the "Higher Ed for Higher Standards" coalition announced on Tuesday their intention to reverse anti-Common Core sentiments in their respective state capitals, as well as to work toward the successful adoption of Common Core standards. Members of the group hail from more than 30 states and consist mostly of administrators at public colleges and universities." You gotta love the name of the group … "Higher Ed for Higher Standards" … they’re very high on themselves, don’t you think? Hope they didn’t stay up all night teasing that shingle into existence.
This is the new Common Core phalanx … bought and armed by guess who? Yup! Our extraterrestrial genius … Gates the Great! Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York system, appears to be Gates newly unleashed queen. Of course, her palm has been properly greased by Dollar Bill. Here’s her semi-regal call-to-arms: "My fear is, if we start throwing in the towel now on Common Core, we won’t have another moment like this again." IF ONLY!
Gates and his consiglieres are now pressuring from the top-down … having hit rough roads with the bottom-up route. And these post-secondary educators have their palms out and their mouths flapping … defending a reform that’s been exposed as deformed. Their "woe is me" blurt about ill-prepared incoming students conveniently masks the obvious fact that the American college experience has been fluffed-out for the last two decades. They run away fast from the fact that they’re more ripe for reform than any other level in the American educational structure. Higher education’s dismal record of producing work-ready graduates is a comedic mother-lode … graduating student-debtors with such unmarketable majors as "Bowling Industry Management" and "Gender-Bending Studies".
Mike Row, of "Dirty Jobs" fame, said it best … “We are lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That’s nuts.” And it’s the "Higher Ed", Gates’ boot-lickers who perpetuate that sort of slop-education without a moment of sincere examination of their own more mighty missteps. Methinks we have a "pot calling the kettle black" moment. But fear not! They’re now going whole-hog on the pro-Common Core buffet … courtesy of Bill Gates and his billions. These are the new defenders. I sense desperation more than anything else.
Those high ed folks should have been with us from the jump. They never investigated the wretched turmoil Common Core has delivered into homes across the nation. And they were even less apt to even consult their elementary and secondary brethren about this reform. Now they’ve made a money-pact with the Lucifer of modern education. In truth, they’ve scheduled their own rendezvous in Hades.
It’s important, from time to time, to get a proper snap-shot of this movement with a wide-angle lens. Lots of time we allow ourselves to get mired in the day-to-day slog. It’s hard to see day-to-day progress. We get avalanched with articles and news clips and more pith than a person can logically absorb. It’s good, of course, to stay current and to have our antennae pricked-up. But let’s not lose sight of this fact: We’re winning. They’re on the defensive. They’re forever re-packaging the argument. They’re in trouble. They’re losing. Checkmate’s on the way.
Photo credit: David Lapetina (CC-By-SA 3.0)