Some Wisconsin residents are rallying the troops in an effort to stop the implementation of Common Core State Standards. Opponents say the Standards allow the federal government to control curriculum at the cost of local control and that, “they promote educational mediocrity and highly political content that undermines Judeo-Christian Values”.
Duke Pesta, a University of Wisconsin Oshkosh professor, spoke with opponents at a seminar recently. He told of what he believes are “dangers and threats” related to the Common Core Standards and that they are similar to socialism. He said they were funded by “leftist lobbyists, including Bill Gates” and pose an underlying threat to liberties and Christian values.
Pesta said that states did not see the standards before they were adopted.
“No state legislators, no governors, no teachers, no moms and dads had a say in this, All Common Core is is No Child Left Behind on steroids. It’s one-size-fits-all education. It’s mindless testing. It’s the elimination of excellence.”
Gitte Laasby of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on the story and wrote that according to Pesta, forty-five states adopted Common Core, but 22 states have efforts to fully or partially remove them. He continued by saying that if Wisconsin implements the standards as scheduled in the 2014-2015 school year teachers would be forced to teach to the Common Core test and force students to memorize things instead of teaching them to think. He also expressed concern with the Common Core English standards saying they drop some classical literature from the curriculum in exchange for government pamphlets and political documents that could indoctrinate students in believing global warming instead of discussing character, morality, and ethics.
Pesta also warned those in attendance about sexual education standards, saying they could be extremely graphic and age-inappropriate and that math standards will be lowered drastically.
“He validated what I suspected as to the lack of meaningful content of math,” she said of Pesta. “I think Common Core has already brought down the math instruction in my son’s schooling. Common Core has brought us down two years. Whoever developed Common Core does not have the interest of parents and teachers. I prefer local and state-controlled curriculum versus any federal mandate.”
Advocates for Common Core say that the states previous state standards were outdated, and they want to align with other states creating a “more rigorous set of academic expectations”. They also dismissed the assumption Pesta made that states did not have a say in what was in the standards.
Education experts say Common Core standards were developed by state superintendents, governors, and curriculum experts. The federal government had no role in drafting the standards, but the Obama administration encouraged states to use the new standards through its Race to the Top education grants.
Pesta has plans to speak in several venues across Wisconsin. He is working with Freedom Project Education, a Christian-based organization that is working to stop Common Core.