Thursday, March 7, 2013

Arne Duncan Explains the Common Core Standards Initiative

James Madison said,
“I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power than there are by violent usurpations.”

The following is a transcript of Arne Duncan's speech at the National Governor's Education Symposium on  June 19, 2009 , just before the formal announcement of the curriculum was made public.  He reveals which (Democrat) Governors were behind the initial push for a common core standard and reminds the Governors in attendance of their roles in defining the narrative that this was a "state-led" initiative....that just happens to have had a lot of help from leftist Foundations and the federal government. 

Did we mention it is state-led? 

I'd like to start by saluting Governor Hunt and Governor Romer (Democrats) for their vision and courage on the issue of education reform.

Governor Hunt called for common national standards when it was NOT politically popular. This institute (Hunt Institute where the meeting took place) has done important work with the National Research Council which shows that there IS the political will to accomplish the task today.

Likewise, Governor Romer led the call for higher standards as the Governor and as a Superintendent in Los Angeles. Throughout the 2008 election, he kept this issue on the national dialogue. We would NOT have had 46 states and 3 territories agree to adopt common high standards if it weren't for his hard work. That recent breakthrough is absolutely remarkable and it clearly signals this is an idea who's time has come. Creating common standards hasn't always been popular. Right now though, there's a growing consensus that this is the right thing to do.

(Still waiting for the "state-led" part)

The list of supporters is long. The NEA, the AFT, the Council of Great City Schools, and business leaders.

(Wait for it.....)

It is especially important that this is started at the STATE LEVEL because some people will raise concerns that common standards across states will lead to federal overreach.....So, let's be clear...this effort is being led by Governors and Chief State School Officers. This is YOUR work. This is YOUR agenda.

Tonight, I'm announcing that the Obama Administration will help pay for the costs of developing those tests. As you know, we have $5B of competing grant funds under the recovery act to help advance the four items on our reform agenda. Congress carved out $650M for "What Works in Innovation" funds for districts and non profits to push reform at the local level. The Administration will dedicate up to $350M in the remaining funds to help develop assessments. We know the financial stress you are under and want to remove the financial constraints. We haven't worked out all of the details yet but in the coming months, we will develop an application process that supports this effort. Collaboration makes it possible for this to happen quickly and to happen affordability.
Now again, some people will claim that a commonly created test is a threat to the state's control. Let's remember who's in charge.YOU are. YOU create the test. YOU will drive the process and YOU will call the shots.

This is your opportunity to be bold. To be creative. To think big and push hard on the kinds of reform that we know will create FUNDAMENTAL and LASTING CHANGE.

So, while this effort is being led at the state level, as it should be, it is absolutely a NATIONAL challenge that we must meet together or we will compromise our COLLECTIVE future.

(NOTE:  See how it works? It's classic community organizing 101. Using grass-roots organizing to unite otherwise opposing groups together under a common cause such as "common state standards." Then, make others THINK they are in control while you steer them, fund them and then attach some strings to remind them who is really in charge.

The federal government's strings?  Race to the Top money. Those states who applied for and received RTTT funding would later be REQUIRED to sign off on the Common Core curriculum)

Duncan continued:

But, let me be clear...this money will only go to states that are absolutely pushing reform in real and measurable ways.We've invited education stakeholders across the spectrum to get involved. We encourage you to work with your districts, with educators, with non-profits, (such as Achieve) and LABOR UNIONS to put together the very best application possible.
We have talked to leading Foundations (Gates Foundation, Noyce Foundation, etc) and they are eager to support your work. So, I urge you (tell you) to reach out to them and draw on their expertise and on their resources.
There's never been this much money on the table and there may never again be....

Once these standards are completed, I encourage you to ADOPT them so that everyone will know that you are serious. And that's when your leadership will absolutely be tested because people will push back.

The fact is, higher standards will make some of your states look bad at the same time. So, I promise to work WITH you to ensure that your states will NOT be penalized for doing the RIGHT THING.

Improving education is not just a moral obligation of society, it is not just an economic imperative. It's the

and the only way to achieve the vision of equality spelled out by our Founding Fathers.


We will continue everything in our power to fulfill your COLLECTIVE VISION of great schools, producing great citizens and great do-ers.

This certainly isn't the vision of the Founding Fathers WE know....

Attempting to equalize the curriculum standards throughout the country for the collective good will NEVER work.  It never does.

Thank you Governor Brewer, Rich Crandall, Tom Horne, John Huppenthal, the Arizona Board of Education, and all of the members of the House who voted for HB2047 imposing Common Core and PARCC assessements in our state for showing your ignorance of the tenth amendment.