On October 29, legislators and guests were invited to a Common Core rally, “Perspectives on Education Reform ” at the Legislative Office Building in Concord. The keynote speaker was Dr. Marc Tucker, from the National Institute for Education and the Economy (Economy?). Dr. Tucker has a colorful past and I have to say, he is a slick progressive bureaucrat who knows how to stack the deck in his favor. But, after sitting through his hour long presentation, I was amazed at what Dr. Tucker COULDN’T tell us. When I asked Dr. Tucker about FERPA (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and the Dec. 2011 regulatory amendments which replaced parental consent with that of “authorized representatives” to include non- governmental agencies, trade unions, and companies who develop educational products and services, his response was “…well, I would not be in support of that…but I don’t know anything about it…”. Really? I find that most difficult to believe.
When I asked Dr. Tucker about specific information regarding the so-called “testing” and “benchmarks” of the Common Core Standards, he again said he “didn’t know which countries were included in the testing”. I may believe this because I do not believe the Common Core standards were EVER benchmarked. It doesn’t matter how many times the “Powers That Be” say these standards have been “tested”. We cannot find any verification of such (and neither could Mr. Smarty Pants), so they are empty words for me.
But, perhaps the most egregious moments of Dr. Tucker’s presentation may rest with his obvious distain for anyone who questions the power of the government in education. His very first sentence was, “These are hysterical times. My visit to NH to talk about the Common Core Standards was heralded by the NH Tea Party Coalition in an article that describes me as a Socialist, an advocate for federal control of education in the US…” He begins his presentation by demonizing the opposition – you know, good ole Alinsky tactics. (This is supposed to shut down dissent, but mostly, it just makes me more determined to have my say.)
Actually, I agree with the Tea Party. Mr. Smarty Pants Tucker is indeed a Socialist. He believes in federal oversight in education. He has suggested the government “Bypass all elected officials on school boards and in state legislatures by making federal funds flow to the Governor and… appointed boards.” In his hour at the podium, Dr. Tucker spoke almost constantly of a “global” world and of America being behind other countries with regard to education. His presentation was tinged with fear – oh, no ‘the sky is falling’, except it really isn’t. Dr. Tucker has suggested we need “to remold the entire American system” into “a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone.” But the quote I love most in my research was, “…local control is the source of many of the nation’s problems related to education.” Now, if that is not Socialism, then you simply are not paying attention.
While a “uniform” education may be promoted as the goal of Common Core, personal exceptionalism is totally obscured. Indeed, in the ideology of the Left, personal or national exceptionalism HAS to be downplayed. For the Left, the power of GOVERNMENT is all that is important. Dr. Tucker can rant and rave about how this country NEEDS federal oversight in our education, but I believe our towns and school boards are capable of offering high quality education to our children WITHOUT Big Brother running the show. Dr. Tucker may be a very intelligent man. But, his ideology doesn’t embrace the spirit or energy or differences among individuals. The “One Size Fits All” Common Core education doesn’t seem very “smart” to me. But, who am I? Just one of those ‘mistaken’ individuals who embrace local control and small government. Oh, well.