October 17, 2021


Last week I got a call from Rick Scott’s regional campaign manager to set a meeting with Dr Kim McDougal, the Governor’s chief advisor on education. Apparently, she is going around the state meeting with many of you in an attempt to dispel our concerns about Common Core in Florida. She claims that the Legislature made great headway on Common Core by passing SB 864 to allow for local districts to choose their own textbooks and have parental oversight.

As a member of the Lee County Schools textbook adoption committee, I can tell you that is a weak to non-existent tool. Pearson PLC controls 80% of the American market in education. We can only choose from Common Core aligned materials because our standards and high stakes testing drives teaching to the tests. The GED, ACT and SAT tests will all be Common Core aligned.

While we may be able to have public meetings on textbook adoption, who is going to read the entire texts, then gather public support to oppose errors? So long as they must all be Common Core aligned, there is NO Choice. Our children are still being fed anti-American propaganda and moral relativism at best. They are still deprived of the classical education they need.

SB188 pretends to protect us from data mining. It is non-functional on its face. It relies on FERPA to stop data sharing. Here’s a complete explanation why that fails: http://crazycrawfish.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/ferpa-does-not-protect-student-privacy-and-never-did/ While the bill does say that our state will not collect 3 items of data, there are over 400 items required by the agreement they signed to adopt Common Core.

Dr. McDougal is a likable and intelligent person, but worked for Jeb Bush and completely swallowed the argument on “rigorous” Federal standards and accountability. Neither of those has been effective in truly changing education results. Here’s a quote from Wikipedia (of all places): “on the Standards movement which was an evolution of the earlier OBE (outcomes-based education) which was largely rejected in the United States as unworkable in the 1990s” “merely a re-labeling of a failed, unrealistic vision. It is believed to be the educational equivalent of a planned economy which attempts to require all children to perform at world-class levels merely by raising expectations and imposing punishments and sanctions on schools and children who fall short of the new standards.”

During our meeting, McDougal asked me, “Don’t you want any standards?” Of course we need to set standards, but perhaps we should revert to a time before standards were dictated from above. Parents and local districts should provide standards. Competition drives improvements, not government dictated, inflexible, dumbed down standards. In fact empirical evidence shows that more and more government involvement results in lower scores and much higher cost. Our founding fathers were very well educated, yet there were no “standards.” People were individually accountable. Lindsey Burke of The Heritage Foundation has produced many articles on the negative effects of standards. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED516509.pdf

The Cato Institute has produced interesting data showing the increased Federal spending and Federal programs exploding costs while students learn less. Here’s one short report to Congress: http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serials/files/cato-handbook-policymakers/2003/9/hb108-28.pdf . Here’s a more recent report: http://www.cato.org/publications/congressional-testimony/impact-federal-involvement-americas-classrooms

This Cato report graph says it all:

cato report graph


Over the last 100 years, our education system has been under attack by those who would like to undermine and defeat America. Common Core is the latest and most comprehensive attempt.

It’s not just that our kids are not learning the 3 R’s. It is that they are not learning foundational skills and facts, but attitudes and beliefs are the key goals of Common Core.
From an excellent article on UNESCO http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/0013/common-core/1-common-core-lighthouse.htm: Dr. Thomas Sowell summarized this mind-changing process in a 1993 article titled “Indoctrinating the Children”:
“The techniques of brainwashing developed in totalitarian countries are routinely used in psychological conditioning programs imposed on American school children. These include emotional shock and desensitization, psychological isolation from sources of support, stripping away defenses, manipulative cross-examination of the individual’s underlying moral values, and inducing acceptance of alternative values by psychological rather than rational means.”[2]

“America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville

The positive Psychological tone in this lesson in the 1834 McGuffy Second Reader is a striking contrast to current lessons featuring “Johnny has Two Mommies” or worse in first and second grades.
So, Dr. McDougal is right. I do not want state or federally imposed standards. Empirical evidence shows that this does not accomplish the goal of education, to help each student reach their highest potential. The accountability aspect is likewise counterproductive. By some accounts, approximately 40% of time in school is testing, and not learning. A simple reduction of learning time alone would account for the lower results we are achieving in public schools.

In conclusion, we need to remind her that Common Core is unconstitutional, unaffordable, unwise, ineffective, and intrusive. No matter what you call it, we want it out of our schools and we want Governor Scott to listen to growing opposition instead of those who stand to gain money and power by its implementation.