KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – High school senior Ethan Young delighted a capacity audience at last week’s meeting of the Knox County school board with a crash course on the history of Common Core, the new learning standards that are being implemented in Tennessee and some 44 other states.
In five minutes, Young, explained how Americans are being hoodwinked into believing Common Core is a state-led effort that’s going to reestablish the nation’s education system as a world leader.
The following are excerpts from Young’s speech:
“Here’s the history of the Common Core. In 2009, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers partnered with Achieve Inc., a nonprofit that received millions in funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Thus, the initiative seemed to spring from states, when in reality it was contrived by an insular group of educational testing executives with only two academic content specialists. Neither specialist approved the final standards, and the English consultant, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, publicly stated she felt the standards left students with empty skills sets, lacking literary knowledge.
“While educators and administrators were later included in the validation committee and feedback groups, they did not play a role in the actual drafting of the standards. The product is a ‘rigorous’ preparation for career and college, yet many educators agree that rigorous is a buzzword. These standards aren’t rigorous, just different – designed for an industrial model of school.
“Nevertheless, Common Core emerged. Keep in mind the specific standards were never voted upon by Congress, the Department of Education, state or local governments … .
“The president essentially bribed states into, via Race to the Tope, offering 4.35 billion taxpayer dollars to participating states, 500 million dollars of which went to Tennessee.
“And much like No Child Left Behind, the program promises national testing and a one-size-fits-all education because, hey, it worked really well the first time. …
“If nothing else, these standards are a glowing conflict of interest, and they lack the research they allegedly received. …
“Creativity, appreciation, inquisitiveness … they’re the purpose of education – why our teachers teach and why I choose to learn. And today, we find ourselves in a nation that produces workers. Everything is career and college preparation. Somewhere, our Founding Fathers are turning over in their graves, pleading, screaming, and trying to say to us that we teach to free minds. We teach to inspire. We teach to equip. The careers will come naturally. …
“I attended tonight’s meeting to share my critiques, but as Benjamin Franklin quipped, ‘Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, and most fools do.’ The problems that I cite are very real and I ask only that you hear them out, investigate them and do not dismiss them as another fool’s criticisms.”
Young left the podium to loud applause from the capacity crowd. His full speech can be viewed below: