Hamilton — Common Core: Dumb and dumber
January 8, 2015
In 1785, the original 13 States and the newly formed federal government agreed that America's vast unoccupied lands would be held in trust by the federal government until needed by the existing states or needed for the creation of new states.
Eventually, all of the lands — except those essential for military forts and coastal defense — were to be returned to the states. Hello. According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the federal government still controls 635-640 million acres or 28 percent of America's land mass.
Early on, the Founders promoted education, in general, but were careful not to dictate control over what was being taught. For example, in 1785, congressional land grants merely decreed that Section 16 (one square mile) of each Township must be dedicated to education. When the federal government became more concerned with national defense, the Morrill Act of 1862 made land grants to colleges that agreed to include military tactics in their curricula. Eventually, that led to R.O.T.C. programs at the land-grant colleges. Following World War II, the GI Bills helped war veterans toward college educations.
In the 1960s, the federal government became more serious about taking over public education and started making grants of taxpayer money to states, local school systems, for student loans, and grants to students, traineeships, fellowships, disabled programs, and for preschool children from poor backgrounds. With each taxpayer dollar loaned or granted, the federal government exerted more and more control over those who accepted taxpayer dollars.
Now, the Obama administration, aided by left-leaning groups who believe that American education must be leveled to a common denominator, is pushing a curriculum called Common Core which, if adopted, would govern K-12 public education. Unfortunately, seeking a common denominator often results in a lowering of standards just as the military — in order to accommodate women within its ranks — has had to lower the standards of its physical-fitness tests.
One of the more daunting aspects of Common Core is that each enrolled student must provide family income, family voting status, health-care history, disciplinary records, and religious affiliation to a federal data base. A hacker's delight and Big Brother on steroids.
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But, in addition to dumbing down local, public education, Common Core, perforce, must also dumb down college entrance requirements because the dumbed-down Common Core graduates would have a difficult, if not impossible, task of meeting today's college-entrance requirements. To quote from "Power Grab" by Dick Morris and Eileen Gann, there are entries in the "Federal Register, April 9, 2010, Vol. 75, No. 68, proposing that States adopt: "…policies that exempt from remedial courses students who meet the consortium-adopted achievement standard (as defined in this notice) for those assessments [meaning Common Core]…" That means that once you graduate from a Common Core high school, you are in — no questions asked."
Some pro-Common Core politicians, such as presidential wannabe, Jeb Bush, have either not bothered to read Common Core or need their own course in remedial reading. Thoughtful, affluent parents will put their children in non-Common Core private schools, further widening the gap between the well-educated wealthy and the poorly educated poor. The Law of Unintended Consequences is always at work.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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