This Week’s Trenton Musings….

Parents Rise Up Against Common Core

April 11, 2014

On April 1, there was a meeting just downstairs from our office, at Prezzo’s Restaurant in Warren. Maria Alberto, a friend of the Council and mother of a school child, told us that she was concerned about the Common Core program being instituted in her child’s school, and organized a parents’ meeting to educate others about it. Between 30 and 40 parents came out to learn what was going on.

Len gave an overview of how the Common Core is a federal overreach into educational standards that should be adopted state by state and district by district. The curriculum that is now being pushed by the federal government was created by what can only be described as a para-government organization that consulted with special interest groups in the drafting process. It’s not a stretch to compare the Common Core standards to universal healthcare—a sweeping change to a central aspect of life, brought about by mandates and funding stipulations from on high. We should be very concerned about these federal overreaches, no matter what area it is in.

Q Rim, the Council’s Director of Community & Clergy Relations, showed a map of states that have legislation in the works to pull out or otherwise push back against the Common Core. Indiana became the first state to pull out altogether late last month, deciding it was better to forego federal funding than to introduce such a flawed academic regimen. Nine states have pulled out of Common Core-related assessment programs, four more are actively considering doing so, and four others never joined in the first place. All but perhaps 10 states are considering some kind of push-back legislation on this issue. New Jersey’s is a bill from Senator Jeff Van Drew that would set up a task force to evaluate the Common Core and delay the accompanying assessment program until the task force issues its report.

The discussion grew lively when some pro-Common Core parents who were present accused the Council of being an anti-government agitator funded by the Koch brothers. (In case anyone is curious, we are NOT funded by the Koch brothers; if you read our last musings about human trafficking, or follow any of our publications, you know that we believe in and promote the legitimate use of authority for the common good.)

Maria brought the real issue back to center stage: that parents have a right to be concerned with the steep decline in educational quality that the Common Core standards are projected to bring about, and that the Warren community ought to know more about its options. In the end, she led the attending parents in signing a petition to Governor Christie and Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, who represents Warren in the legislature. Many planned to follow up with individual letters to the same parties. Meanwhile, Maria is organizing a follow-up meeting to which she plans to invite Senator Van Drew and hopefully a Congressman who is involved in fighting the Common Core at the federal level.

If you are not from Warren but want to learn more about the Common Core or organize similar meetings in your community, please let us know. We are happy to help get the word out and support grassroots efforts. Common Core may be big and well-funded, but its ideas are bankrupt, and our communities are both smart enough to figure it out, and more than a match for Uncle Sam.

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