Kennedy: Taking a closer look at the new core curriculum standards - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

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Kennedy: Taking a closer look at the new core curriculum standards

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Don Kennedy

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Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012 9:49 am

Few of you know about this new government takeover of our education system. It’s being touted as the greatest thing since The Bill of Rights. As Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education said, this is “absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lift American education to a new level—and make us more competitive in the global economy.”

It slipped under the radar and was adopted by our state’s education department last year with no fanfare, and little or no notice to the public. It was just adopted. Why?

In a word, money. States had to accept the Common Core national standards in order to participate in the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program.

To make matters worse, the standards had to be followed in order to continue to receive Title 1 funding for disadvantaged students. However, a state could choose not to use the Core Curriculum Standards and not to receive the Title 1 funding. How’s that for governmental extortion? So far, 46 states have accepted the plan. After all, who wants to be the ogre that refuses to fund education for the disadvantaged?

What do these new standards do?

Ostensibly, they’re to enhance the learning experience for our kids. However, in actuality some changes have been made which weaken the system. For instance, on a national level (I’m not certain about Arizona) algebra has been dropped from the eighth grade math plan and has been replaced with a pre-algebra program, and euclidian geometry is being restricted, if taught at all.

Generally speaking, English (language arts) and science are given a lot of emphasis while American history is barely mentioned. As a matter of fact, history of any kind is given short shrift. Of 66 pages of descriptive data on the details of CCS only one page was given to the subject of history. Not a good thing.

Further, it appears the program is suspect in that it is being given publicity and support by an independent firm known as LitLife West, a literacy consulting firm located in Ahwatukee. The funding source is unknown. The entity just popped up one day like a mushroom in the dark.

When I first learned of LitLife, I tried to arrange an appointment with the Executive Director, Debbie Lera, to discuss the program and its merits. After discussing my thoughts with her secretary, I was told an interview couldn’t be arranged. No transparency there. Therefore, it’s my conclusion there must be something to hide.

Vladimir Lenin said words to the effect that if you gave him the children for eight years, they would be Bolsheviks forever. Today, we refer to Bolsheviks as Communists. Hitler followed a similar idea with his Nazi Youth Program. It works. I had one of them as a college roommate in 1953. Deutschland Uber Alles was his favorite music. Scary.

You have to ask just what is the objective of our government? Is it to destroy the moral fibre upon which our nation was established? Is it to replace our original moral foundation with the “religion” of humanism? Briefly stated, humanism believes in salvation by the rule of man’s law rather than salvation by the rule of Nature’s Law.

Now it’s time to ask ourselves...are we going to be students of history and learn from it, or are we going to be victims of the ignorance of history? Are we going to be the good men who did nothing? Or are we to be the good men who did something to solve the problems facing us today?

The education system is the foundation of our learning standards and all they encompass. We can no longer count on a government which has become so secular regarding the subject of religion that it’s difficult to discuss in the public forum unless it’s in a class on religious studies.

As for me, I’ll take liberty and all that it embraces. And I shall do all I can to preserve it, even for those who don’t understand the meaning of the word.

• Don Kennedy is a graduate of Dartmouth College with a degree in sociology. He has been a resident of Ahwatukee Foothills since 2002.

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