BIOGRAPHY: Karen Schroeder is President of Advocates for Academic Freedom, a member of Wisconsin’s Educational Communications Board, an experienced public school teacher, and an educational consultant.
Wisconsin legislators invited Kathleen Porter-Magee of the Fordham Institute to testify before a joint committee about Common Core Standards. The author of “The Truth about Common Core” lacks a basic understanding of the reasons that tax payers are opposed to Common Core. Parents and teachers reject Common Core because federalizing education will severely limit local control of schools and make reforming education nearly impossible.
The federal government has used its power and tax dollars to develop curricula guidelines even though the Constitution, The General Education Provisions Act, the Department of Education Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 place limits on the federal government’s authority to direct or supervise instructional materials. The federal government has used federal tax dollars to motivate textbook publishers and testing consortiums to create texts and tests that align with Common Core. Leaders from both parties fail to recognize the relationship between lower academic achievement and each new federal program.
For example, during the 1970s, our history book contained two sentences about a republic. The rest of the chapter focused on democracies. Teachers were free to provide supplementary material on the historical significance of a republic. Our students understood that the American Constitutional Republic provided God-given freedoms which could not be taken away, and that many founders warned future generations that democracies become self-destructive.
The final exam included the question, “What form of government was shaped by the American Constitution?” Students who chose democracy as their answer remembered the emphasis on the positive aspects of democracies provided by their history book and were led to that mistaken belief.
Citizens and teachers across the United States tell Advocates for Academic Freedom that textbooks no longer identify America as a republic; they refer to “American Democracy”.
These changes are seen by parents and teachers as a direct result of educational standards shaped by the federal government. Many private and public schools across Wisconsin are using the text American Pageant, fourteenth edition, which defines republicanism as collectivism.
Now that the federal government has provided federal tax dollars to consortiums to shape tests (including ACT and SAT college-entrance exams) to be aligned with CCS, home-school parents or teachers in any educational setting will be unable to teach children the truth when falsehoods are being tested.
Parents who believe that the educational system plays a significant role in protecting and defending America’s republic and her founding documents, object to the federal government’s imposition of greater control over every aspect of education. Taxpayers reject standards that do NOT provide the academic rigor promised while spending educational time creating students with a “world view”, a prominent goal of every federal educational program since Bloom and Skinner began pushing national goals in the late 1950s.
Parents reject control by experts who have not been required to carry responsibility for their failed policies. Parents and teachers no longer accept blame for those failed academic policies.
The American educational system was once the envy of the world before educational experts surrendered our children’s academic future to ever-increasing federal control.