Common Core Standards: What Would George Orwell Think?

Recently one of my clients hired me to do a series of blog posts. Like most of the jobs of this type, he gave me a list of topics I was to write on; one of them being an economic theory known as “human capital.” In developing the text I found my thoughts wandering until I was writing about the Common Core State Standards (CCS) in a way I had never thought of before. It brought to my mind George Orwell’s worst nightmare.

Let me explain by first defining the concept of human capital. In the 1960s an economist by the name of Theodore Schultz coined the term to describe the philosophy of taking advantage of each individual’s skill sets, knowledge, perspective, and goals in order to maximize productivity. In theory human capital values individualism (though today the principle has been watered down by Marxism), understanding that every human being is different. Rather than trying to conform everyone to the same way of doing things, human capital takes the best each one has to offer and makes the best use of it.

In essence this is the very foundation on which the United States was born. Individuals free to pursue liberty and happiness building a strong country by combining the best each one had to offer. Some were great builders, others outstanding thinkers. They were farmers, tradesmen, homemakers, preachers, soldiers, and just about everything else you could think of. And while they all shared some common things like faith and morals, it was the individual contributions of each one that accomplished great things. Furthermore, as each individual got better at what he did, he had more to invest in his community.

What would you say if I told you that CCS created an environment completely opposed to the original idea of human capital? What if I told you implementing the CCS would remove the idea of individualism from education and replace it with collectivism? What would you say if I told you CCS is exactly the type of thing George Orwell tried to  warn the world about?

It is, it will, and it is.

If you take a look at the various websites promoting the common core standards you’ll find lots of impressive language that tries to make the case that CCS is good. After all, don’t we want our kids to achieve to the extent that they’re prepared for college and a great career?

That’s what they tell you CCS is all about. They tell you that by creating a set of universal standards implemented all across the country every child will be taught what he needs to know to succeed in the modern world. They also tell you the standards hold the system accountable by making sure every student, parent, and teacher knows what’s expected of him.

Do you believe everything you read? I hope not.

It’s not reasonable to expect those who support CCS to tell us how damaging and evil it really is. Of course they’re going to promote it with lots of impressive words, promises of an educational miracle, and a bit of demagoguery thrown in just for effect. But I’m not interested in what they have to say; I’m interested in what they produce.

And what they produce is frightening.

Dumbing Down American Students

In order to reach the Orwellian nightmare the first thing government schools need to do is dumb down American students. Now to be fair, the process of making kids dumber did not start with the CCS. It began way back in the days of John Dewey and his colleagues who determined the only way to introduce socialism to America was to purge the schools of any real academics and replace them with the practice of socializing students.

Dewey wrote in the third article of his Pedagogic Creed:

“I believe that we violate the child’s nature and render difficult the best ethical results, by introducing the child too abruptly to a number of special studies, of reading, writing, geography, etc., out of relation to this social life.  I believe, therefore, that the true centre of correlation of the school subjects is not science, nor literature, nor history, nor geography, but the child’s own social activities.”

Remember, this is the man who is credited as being the father of modern education in the United States. The single most important goal to him was not academic achievement. It was to prevent children from learning useful things like science, math, and reading because it promoted individualism and free thinking. Instead, Dewey wanted children to be instructed to think as social creatures who were nothing outside of the collective.

The CCS takes Dewey’s thinking and expands it exponentially. It does so in two ways:

  • making some material so pathetically weak as to not teach children anything at all
  • making other material so incredibly complicated as to make it impossible to learn

Alabamians United for Excellence in Education addresses the dumbing down of students in the Cotton State in calling for legislators to draft a bill that would prevent implementation of the CCS. On their website they write:

“Common Core dumbs down education. Six examples: (1) algebra will be pushed back one year. (2) “College and Career readiness” is defined as training students for nonselective 2-year community colleges, not 4-year universities. (3) Grammar, spelling, punctuation, and paragraph structure, will be de-emphasized. (4) Classical literature will be reduced and replayed by “informational texts” such as computer manuals, executive orders, IRS forms, etc. (5) 12th grade reading level will become what is now 8th grade reading level. (6)Teachers will be turned into facilitators.”

Truth in Education also addresses the dumbing down issue with a quote from New York University professor Jonathan Goodman:

“Professor Jonathan Goodman of New York University found that the CCSS math standards imposed “significantly lower expectations with respect to algebra and geometry than the published standards of other countries” yet we are supposed to be implementing this farce to bring our education standards UP to meet those countries standards.”

Where It All Leads

I won’t take any more time to cite examples or give you more details about CCS. There are enough quality websites out there already taking care of that. But I do want to pose this question: where does it all lead? If the CCS isn’t really about improving education and making American students smarter, what’s the point?

Frontpage Mag sums it all up by saying this:

“SBAC [ Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium; one of the companies being paid by the federal government to develop CCS standards for testing] recently released 16 sample test questions.  They reveal that the “transformation” of American education that Darling-Hammond had eagerly anticipated will be fulfilled—toward making students into global citizens, devoid of a sense of cultural heritage, and content with performing quick tasks that require little concentration.”

The CCS is being implemented for one reason and one reason only: to give the federal government control over American education in order that they might produce loyal citizens unable to think for themselves. They want an entire generation of adults – beginning with YOUR children – who will go to work, do as they’re told, and never think a single thought contrary to government. They want exactly what George Orwell was afraid of when he wrote his now infamous novel 1984.

The Government Would Never Do That

It’s sad to say the most terrifying part of the CCS is not the curriculum, the testing, or even the actions of the government. It is the naive belief among the American citizenry that the government would never go so far as to turn this country into a totalitarian state. John Dewey and his ilk have been banking on that naivete that for more than 100 years. But why would we believe such a thing? Why do we think it’s so far beyond Washington and the various statehouses to seize total control?

In New York our state legislature, in its wisdom, recently passed one of the strictest gun control laws in the country. When opponents of the law voiced fears that state government would begin confiscating the guns of innocent civilians, Gov. Cuomo went to the podium and assured us they had no such intention.

But guess what happened just last week?

The state police sent erroneous information to the Erie County clerks office naming a Buffalo area resident as someone who may pose a threat due to medication he had taken in the past. That prompted the county judge to revoke the man’s pistol permit and demand he turn in all his firearms.

There was no formal investigation, no warrant of any kind, no court hearing, no nothing. The man was given no opportunity to defend himself against the accusations questioning his mental fitness. Thankfully common sense prevailed when the man’s attorney intervened. Nonetheless, despite the promises of Gov. Cuomo and his cohorts it happened anyway. And it will happen again.

A few years ago I wrote an article about the Clean Water Restoration Act; a controversial piece of legislation that would change the language of existing regulations in a way that would give Washington control over just about every drop of standing water in the United States. I made the case that changing the language would also allow Washington to exercise control over private property based on any flimsy claim of trying to preserve clean water. I was assaulted by angry readers who insisted Washington was not out to take control of the land of American citizens. But guess what happened?

The EPA has been caught red-handed using drones to conduct surveillance on Midwestern farmers to make sure they’re not polluting waters on their own lands. They’ve also been caught releasing personal information about those farmers to environmental groups with intentions to begin spying on farmers.

Again I could continue with item after item showing that people who think “the government would never do that to the American people” are foolishly blind and ignorant. The fact of the matter is government  has but one agenda: to control the masses. That’s exactly what the CCS is all about.

By creating a federal curriculum and federal testing standards Washington will be fulfilling the old proverb that says “he who controls the schools control the world.” Once Washington gets to decide what and how children are being taught they will be able to transform this country into whatever they want. And if you’re foolish enough to think they won’t do it, you need to study a little bit of history. There are lots of examples you can look at; Adolf Hitler will do just fine for starters.

In closing, let me just address those of you who think the CCS is nothing to worry about. When Israel wanted a king back in the days of Saul they told Samuel the prophet, “now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” ( I Sam. 8:5)

Prior to having a king each individual Jew was responsible for himself; each one was responsible for obeying the law and serving God. The only time the judges were brought into play was when there were violations of the law the people could not settle themselves. By saying they wanted a king Israel was essentially saying they no longer wanted to be responsible for themselves. They wanted someone else to rule over them in order to alleviate them of the responsibility.

In the United States we have become accustomed to letting the government do everything for us. Like Israel, we have become accustomed to not being responsible for ourselves. We have become comfortable with the idea of letting government do everything just as long as we have our Internet, cable TV, and a smart phone. And while we’ve been paying attention to things that really don’t matter Washington has been slowly strangling us from behind.

We’ve turned over our children to politicians and bureaucrats only interested in using them as pawns in a power grab. And we’ve allowed this to happen through the public school system.

As for Israel, they got their king all right, but he wasn’t what they expected. Below is Samuel’s description of what they could expect in their king. With very few exceptions, most of the kings of Israel fit the description perfectly. If you read closely you’ll discover it sounds an awful lot like Washington today.

Beware the CCS. It is just one more step leading us down the exact same path.

10 “And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king.
  11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
  12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
  13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
  14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
  15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
  16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
  17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
  18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.”
(I Samuel 8:10-18)

4 Replies to “Common Core Standards: What Would George Orwell Think?”

  1. Ron Lemon

    In NYS, it is my understanding that, schools are being threatened already with funds being withheld if their teachers & students don’t measure “up” to the CCS standards! I chuckle at the term “up” in their definition!

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