Amid the controversy over whether the U.S. Senate will review a nominee from President Obama for the U.S. Supreme Court, an Obama nominee for another position is posed to do great damage to America if confirmed, charges the Home School Legal Defense Association.
The world’s premier homeschooling organization has posted a notice online asking constituents to urge their senators to oppose the nomination of New York Education Commission John King Jr. to replace Arne Duncan as secretary of education.
HSLDA provides a “toolbox” to help homeschooling parents contact their senators.
Why? Because of King’s ardent advocacy for federal influence over local education through the Common Core program.
HSLDA said King is one of Common Core’s “staunchest advocates and a firm believer in the power of educational bureaucracy.”
As New York’s education commissioner from 2011 to 2014, King “repeatedly shut down important political discourse, particularly involving the discussion of whether New York should adopt Common Core.”
“He canceled town hall meetings, limited comment time for parents and educators, and called concerned protestors ‘brainwashed,'” HSLDA said.
“Despite his efforts, opposition to Common Core remained strong. Nearly a quarter of a million public school students refused to take Common Core tests, and New York became a scene of the largest ‘opt-out movement” in the country,” the organization explained.
“Promoting King to U.S. Secretary of Education will have a negative effect on the progress states have made away from Common Core since Arne Duncan’s resignation. An outspoken proponent of student data tracking, King is known for his support of failed data hubs (such as inBloom) which compromise the safety and privacy of personal student information. Parents and educators should be concerned for his possible data-tracking policies at a national level.”
HSLDA said New York state Assemblyman Raymond Walter describes King as “somebody who doesn’t listen to teachers, doesn’t listen to parents, and pushes his own agenda.”
“We agree. We urge parents – whether they are homeschoolers, public schoolers, or private schoolers – to oppose John King Jr.’s nomination for U.S. Secretary of Education.”
There’s reason to opposed someone with a Common Core advocacy position, the group said.
HSLDA points out that while Washington is banned from controlling local education decisions, it holds great influence through its power to grant or withhold money.
“Three sets of laws prohibit the federal government from prescribing the content of state curricula and assessments, yet the United States Department of Education has propelled the Common Core more than any other organization and is funding the creation of standardized assessments,” the group’s report said. “First, the department conditioned education grants on states’ commitment to implement the Common Core. Second, the department offered waivers from the most burdensome portions of the No Child Left Behind Act in return for states’ promising to adopt the Common Core’s college- and career-readiness standards and corresponding assessments. Third, the department awarded millions of dollars to consortia of states to craft the assessments based on the Common Core.”
Among its biggest problems are the “philosophical threads” of “statism, moral relativism, and progressivism” that have been embedded, HSLDA said.
“The statist goals of the Common Core are implicit in the lockstep uniformity that is the central thesis of the program. Relativism’s influence on the Common Core is evident in the open-ended and research-based assessment questions and the expansive new student tracking systems, ideas which have been strongly promoted by relativist Howard Gardner. Progressive educator John Dewey argued for standardized curriculum to prevent one student from becoming superior to others and envisioned a workforce filled with people of ‘politically and socially correct attitudes’ who would respond to orders without question.”
HSLDA’s Will Estrada explains some of the problems:
HSLDA also noted there’s no evidence centralized education helps, and among its embedded threats are databases held by the states to track students.
“The authors of the Common Core are clear: the success of the standards hinges on the increased collection of student data – including demographics and postsecondary education performance – from preschool through the workforce. States that have adopted the Common Core to receive Race to the Top funding and states that are members of the assessment consortia have committed to expanding their data collection.
“It is important to note that this is not a Republican or Democrat issue. Education experts and analysts on both sides of the aisle have noted King’s inflexibility, inefficiency, and lack of approachability. Analysts from the Washington Post, Salon, and The Nation, along with commentator Michelle Malkin (among many others), have denounced his leadership style, pleading for the American people to look out for their rights,” HSLDA said.
WND reported only weeks ago that a video released by the undercover investigators with James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas caught a former textbook-publishing executive claiming that contracts for major projects are rigged and that the industry “is more about politics and money than education.”
In the latest video in a series about Common Core, Gilbert Garcia, who worked for Houghton Mifflin for more than 30 years, discussed a $1 billion-plus contract for iPads and curriculum to be delivered to students in the Los Angeles Unified District.
“I’m going to share this, but it never came from me, the reality was that the evaluations that were done on all the supposed competitors, Pearson was not the real winner, yet Pearson got the contract,” he said.
The 2013 deal was sought by many textbook publishers, he said, but Pearson, the country’s largest textbook publisher, got the money based on pre-determined factors.
“You have a conflict of interest, you have an evaluation that led to the selection of a company that wasn’t even clearly the number one company,” said Garcia.
The evaluation, he explained, “was done behind closed doors.”
“Thanks to these undercover videos, we’ve continued to inject faces into the Common Core debate,” said O’Keefe. “In an extraordinary sequence of events, Project Veritas released three Common Core corruption videos and three Common Core executives have been fired. But so far, none of this has been mentioned on the cable networks. There will be no journalism awards, but we have exposed and will continue to expose how the book publishers are all about the money with no regard for the actual needs of our children, how corporate cronyism and underhanded political deals have contributed to Common Core’s massive disruption and the unraveling of America’s educational fabric, and how taxpayer dollars are used with little accountability to enrich the major book publishing companies.”
Project Veritas said it was not the first time its journalists found a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt executive “revealing that the publishing industry prioritizes profits and politics before education.”
“It’s never about the kids,” is how Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt Strategic Account Manager Amelia Petties described the textbook industry’s prioritization of profits over students in a previous video.
Her statement echoed the comments of her colleague, Dianne Barrow, who was featured in the first Project Veritas Common Core video. Barrow’s employment with Houghton-Mifflin was terminated at the time of the video’s release.
The group had revealed Barrow, the West Coast accounts manager for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, saying: “You don’t think that the educational publishing companies are in it for education do you? No. They’re in it for the money. The fact that they have to align the educational standards is what they have to do to sell the books.”
At the time, Houghton-Mifflin CEO Linda Zelcher told the London Daily Mail that she was “appalled.”
“These statements in no way reflect the views of HMH and the commitment of our over 4,000 employees who dedicate their lives to serving teachers and students every day,” her statement said.
When Project Veritas spoke to Kim Koerber, a former Pearson executive who worked with the company for more than 20 years, the group reported, she agreed that the Los Angeles bidding contract was rigged in Pearson’s favor.
“The contract was written for Pearson to win. … All the companies knew that. … Everybody knew that it was written for Pearson,” said Koerber.
WND reported Koerber also stated, “Dead white guys did not create this country.”
O’Keefe said that her statements to Project Veritas journalists included, “Damn the Second Amendment,” and, “People that are not educated, Fox TV viewers, think that Common Core comes from the educated liberal groups, and that’s why they are against it.”
Common Core has been a flashpoint for conservatives for years, and lawmakers in some states have started backing away from its Washington-mandated social viewpoints.
See one earlier video:
WND reported another video showed education book industry insiders who “hate kids” and push a “bulls–t” system to “sell books.”
Project Veritas also videoed a Brooklyn, New York, school teacher identified as Jodi Cohen talking about Common Core standards, which are used in more than 40 states.
“It’s a joke. … It’s bulls–t. The thing is, what they do is they create some new f–king system that f–king sucks to sell more books, and then we have to learn something new with the students,” Cohen said, the Daily Mail reported.