Afterburner: Common Core from the Department of Education “overlords”

Bill Whittle is my Federalism hero. Don’t worry about the Common Core details, you just need to know one. The federal government’s Department of Education is creating common guidelines and standards for every school that gets federal dollars. They must follow that curriculum or funding levels are cut.

Before it was “No Child Left Behind” which implemented a pay-out system based on student scores from standardized tests. If schools preformed well, they got money in the future. Schools with low test scores could be closed. Well, that was no good, so now we have “Common Core.” Since teachers and administrators couldn’t get it right, the overlords and know-it-alls in Washington, D.C. at the Department of Redundancy Education will now write the curriculum for the schools. They will take care of it. They will get everyone on the “same page.”

Yeah. OK.

Watch the full video report below, but here’s a taste from the video, Whittle writes

Let’s scrap the Department of Education so that kids can get, you know, an education. So instead of one centralized curriculum written by the same best and brightest that brought you the Affordable Care Act website – – let’s imagine 14,000 Departments of Education, one for each school district in America. Let’s imagine that each one of them were trying different approaches. One bad idea didn’t ruin the entire country for a generation, and good ideas could be copied and modified and improved even more.

Competition in education! We have local schools with Department of Educations. We have towns and counties with Department of Educations. We have states with Department of Educations. Why the hell do we need a federal Department of Education? The “federalism way” dictates each individual school, each individual teacher, is on their own to show parents how great they are. That’s a lot of pressure, but in the cookie-cutter way of Common Core, all of that pressure is alleviated by the federal standards. There is little accountability. Getting bad results in the classroom? Blame the curriculum and let parents know you’re waiting to hear back from Washington for the updated version. Remember, funding is cut if you don’t follow the overlord’s way!

Please do watch the full video from Whittle. You can access the full transcript at the link above.

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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Shared Sacrifice on November 2, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    “I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.” ? Ronald Reagan

  2. bien-pensant on November 3, 2013 at 8:05 am

    CC is a consulting firm product and, I think, gets a royalty from its use. The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA) is the front name for the group. As far as I know, none of the originators are practicing teachers. It is a totally top-down package copyrighted by NGA and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). These consulting firms exist to create public policy that they peddle to governors and top school administrators. Comforting.Many teachers don’t like the one-size-fits-all approach; students are not let into the overall aims. I can see where administrators would like this teach-to-the-test program and evaluate teachers on a yes-or-no basis for implementation.
    ?It is too much like a Soviet central planner 5-year program.
    Another educational fad pushed by non-educators to achieve politically defined public policy goals.

  3. sammy22 on November 3, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I seem to recall that even when there were “14,000 or so Depts of Education” doing their thing, that things were not going so splendidly. I think? something else has been missing. Dare I say personal responsibility (that includes the parents) in successfully pursuing an educational path?

    • Dimsdale on November 3, 2013 at 1:36 pm

      I agree: personal, or more accurately, parental responsibility is key.? But we (they, really) have been conditioned to think that government is the know all and be all, and that they can sit back, watch some reality TV, and let the schools handle it.
      Replacing 14K or so Depts. of Education that worked individually (plus or minus) well with a single, monolithic entity that thinks “one size fits all” is a formula for large scale disaster, as we have, and will, see.? More than one chance to “get it right” is better than one.
      I refer you to the HuffPo article comparing a 1912 exam for eighth graders and comparing it to what eighth graders (and above) are taught today
      I know college level students that couldn’t handle this – even with their calculators.

    • sammy22 on November 3, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      “Depts. of Ed that worked individually” is a bit of a stretch (and they had decades to get it right). And if they really wanted to “go it alone” they would simply have to do w/o funding from the Feds (according to the 3dr sentence of the post). I think there is more going on than a rolling back to some “good old days” approach.

    • Dimsdale on November 3, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      But that begs the question: if they “got it right” after decades of experience, then why did the fed feel the need to reinvent the wheel (unsuccessfully, I might add)?? “Funding from the fed” usually implies having them take the money first, then deciding if you have jumped through the proper hoops to get it back.? I think you are right: there is certainly more to this than meets the eye.? Conspiracy time?? 😉

  4. bien-pensant on November 3, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    While the little red school house fits well with romantic nostalgia, it was grim. And, extremely limited. Comparisons with the demands of a passable education for now and in the future could not be adequately addressed in such a limited format.
    I think that Mr. Whittle is eluding to the fact that the current Department of Education is merely a funneling mechanism for big government. O.K., that is a simplification. Its purpose is to grant money to the states. Under the current system, there has to be some way to make that equitable after political considerations. The point, to me, is that the Common Core is not an intelligent way to measure how and by how much any state should receive money. Our money. If it was educationally based, I could try to see its centralized merits. But, it is not.
    Realize this, though, that the Department of Education does not educate anyone. It currently exists to fill patronage jobs for liberal academics — is that redundant? The salient issue is that too much power is being usurped by a Department through highly questionable methods.The Common Core is a blunt instrument. This should be a matter for the states to decide their own education standards, not some bureaucrats in…

    • bien-pensant on November 3, 2013 at 6:33 pm


    • sammy22 on November 3, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      O.K. let me offer another simplification. The local boards (read the parents), the towns and the States have abdicated their role in education. As we all know, “nature abhors a vacuum”. Enter the Federal Government……

    • Dimsdale on November 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      As noted above, I think they were financially “persuaded” to “abdicate their responsibilities.? The federal government created the vacuum.

  5. bien-pensant on November 4, 2013 at 7:37 am

    I welcome anyone to be on a Board of Education. There are many hours spent by many good people who really care about the direction of their town’s school system. It is all for naught. The state promulgates the edicts, regardless of the desires of the locals. Issues such as Common Core and Best Practices are presented as a fait accompli backed by the force of federal money. If a Board does not want to toe the line, I guess it could pay its own way. But, I suspect not.
    Before blaming parents and claiming dereliction, learn about CC and BP. They are not benign teaching packages. They are complete systems, brought to us by politically connected and highly paid, non-educators whose goal it is to inculcate instruction into students so they will pass the standardized tests. The dirty secret is out. These are methodologies for teaching to the tests. The national tests. Its not about engendering natural curiosity nor is it about maximizing individual potential. It is about lock-step conformity. And, it is all about political correctness and the money.

  6. sammy22 on November 4, 2013 at 11:24 am

    I deal w/ kids who are getting into CC. I see plenty of latitude to engender curiosity, dig deep etc…. Every activity that I have been associated with has some metric to evaluate success/failure of said activity. Standardized tests are a metric that can be applied nationwide. Without one, everybody is on his own: my school is better than your school, “I know better”? etc.

    • Dimsdale on November 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      So critical thinking and tests are the hallmark of CC?? Why are individual school districts etc. the problem, when it wasn’t before?? To be clear, I have no problem with standardized tests (until the dumb them down like the SATs), but when the three R’s were replaced by the “new math” etc., by government edict, it was supposed to be good too.

    • sammy22 on November 4, 2013 at 11:46 pm

      O.K. so nothing is working, the K-12 system graduates semi-literate students, who need all sorts of remedial instruction as they show up in college. What to do, what to do… perhaps roll back to 1912? Any solutions other than to eliminate the Dept. of Ed and everybody has a solution?

    • Steve McGough on November 5, 2013 at 10:01 am

      You know sammy22, I’m seeing a pattern with you. Statements like “nobody is proposing solutions” and the “GOP never had a plan” keeps coming up. You’re frequently stating the GOP, conservatives and libertarians never propose solutions. That’s a total lie. It’s becoming clear you are tone-deaf when it comes to solutions that have been proposed.

    • Dimsdale on November 5, 2013 at 11:36 am

      I am curious as to why we need yet another government “cure” for a government “cure” that didn’t work.? You disparage the 1912 test, but clearly, kids today aren’t learning much of this material.? Handwriting alone has become so abysmal that sometimes I think I need a Rosetta stone to do the translations!? Writing skills are down the toilet and math skills are nonexistent.? But let’s apply yet another “fix” to a system that you accurately notes had already “got it right”.?? That’ll fix it.
      I get the feeling that government creates problems that they need to “solve” by hiring more and more federal workers, usually as a committee.? Much like the war on poverty, the war on educational poverty has little prospect of accomplishing much but costing plenty, both monetarily and educationally.

  7. Brenden 2 on November 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    The CC Standard was Copyrighted by NGA and CCSSO
    So we are working under a Copyrighted Standard that can’t be changed
    Per the Race to the Top program which CT did not initially recieve funding for, but applied anyway to get relief from the No Child Left Behind Act, States are only allowed up to 15% additions to the CC Standards.
    After 10 years of no significant improvement under the teach to the test NCLB act, we have another teach to the test Standard that will by default, continue teachers to teach to the test.
    We are supposed to believe in this new curriculum by blind faith.
    No way, not me.
    We are also signed on the the Smarter Balanced Testing curriculum, which is the vehicle by which personal and private information with be stolen form your child without written notification or parental/legal guardian consent.
    Don’t believe me, see what other states are finding out….

  8. Brenden 2 on November 4, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Also, the main Author/Architect of the english Common Core Standards(ELA), David Coleman, is now the College Board President, which is responsible with aligning the Common Core to the SAT’s.
    Interesting that Mr. coleman has enlisted Former Obama Campaign Data Mining experts to help him in this journey..
    The same people that left off the typical credit card safety guards for people donating online during the last two Presidential Elections…. Nice!

    • bien-pensant on November 4, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      How do we get partisan politics out of education? The liberals control the content, make the rules and occupy the positions of authority. They construct the curriculum, devise the tests and define what is a correct response, especially in the areas of critical thinking and problem solving?
      Just to name two.

  9. sammy22 on November 5, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    @Steve. O.K. you may see a pattern. I am more than willing to support proposals from the GOP, conservatives etc. that show a willingness to work toward solutions that can be accepted by both sides. Solutions that advocate the elimination of the Dept. of Ed are DOA. If CC is not the “best” way forward, let’s hear how the increasingly dismal educational system we seem to have can be turned around. And that does not mean throwing more money at it! Complaining that (as above) “The liberals control the content, make the rules and occupy the positions of authority” does not constitute a solution.

    • Dimsdale on November 5, 2013 at 1:36 pm

      Why is elimination of the Dept. of Ed. off the table?? You did use the magic words “turned around” which is what I am advocating.? Not necessarily back to the early part of the last century, but certainly something more than the latest “brainstorm” by some education/sociology majors being sold as the “next best thing”.
      And I agree: liberals controlling the content, making the rules and occupying the positions of authority are clearly not solutions, and in fact, the crux of the problem.

    • sammy22 on November 5, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      O.K. you can keep the elimination of the Dept. of Ed. on your table, the elimination notion is, has been and will be DOA. As to the liberals controlling……. If that is the crux of the problem, then solve it and stop complaining.

    • Steve McGough on November 6, 2013 at 9:13 am

      We’re trying every day. Of course, we’re labeled as racists, but we’re trying.

    • Steve McGough on November 6, 2013 at 9:12 am

      Again. You’ve missed the point. Eliminating the DOE at the federal level is certainly part of the solution, but a small part. During this discussion, I’m willing to bet you never even thought of solutions brought forward by conservatives. Here’s just one THAT WORKS – vouchers. But of course, vouchers are “off the table” and DOA for liberals, so we’re being “unrealistic.”

    • sammy22 on November 6, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      I applaud your dedication to vouchers. As to missing a point I cannot tell what I missed, but I also accept your oblique reminding me of it.

    • Dimsdale on November 6, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      Black families in DC (and elsewhere), much like people who want to keep their current healthcare insurance, *LIKED* the voucher program they had/have but the Democrats keep attempting to rip it away from them.
      Doing it “for the children” no doubt…

  10. bien-pensant on November 7, 2013 at 6:57 am

    Interesting Fox News piece about specific problems with Common Core and Pearson Educational.
    Please click on the link, it is worth it.

  11. Brenden 2 on November 8, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Funny how the AFT President is claiming that the Common Core Roll Out is worse that Obama Care…


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