CMS Superintendent Wants Common Core Opposition to ‘Be Specific’

CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison wants the Common Core Opposition to be specific. I think he will be getting more than he bargained for.  Ann Doss Helms over at the Charlotte Observer’s Your Schools blog has the article up on this challenge. Go read the whole article, especially the bit she quotes from the Achieve, Inc. guy.  Relevant snippet:

Mike Cohen of the DC-based nonprofit group Achieve, who helped develop the standards with state leaders, said President Obama and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan inadvertently hurt the cause by “taking credit” for the Common Core push and using Race to the Top grants to prod states to embrace the standards.

Inadvertently hurt the cause?  That’s a laugh.  Race To The Top grants which arguably were monetary coercion (paid volunteerism)  for states to adopt the Common Core were funded with Obama administration stimulus funds. Most people don’t know that.  For some deeper reading on The Race To The Top, check out my three-part series here.

Beyond Race To The Top is the proposed education budget coming out of this administration.  Neal McCluskey at Cato Institute has a must read on this topic. This paragraph stabs at the heart of the matter:

The big story in the proposal is – or, at least, should be – that the president almost certainly wants to make the Core permanent by attaching annual federal funding to its use, and to performance on related tests. Just as the administration called for in its 2010 NCLBreauthorization proposal, POTUS wants to employ more than a one-time program, or temporary waivers, to impose “college and career-ready standards,” which–thanks to RTTT and waivers–is essentially synonymous with Common Core. In fact, President Obama proposes changing Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – of which NCLB is just the most recent reauthorization – to a program called “College- and Career-Ready Students,” with an annual appropriation of over $14 billion.

Cohen continued:

Opposition now comes from Republicans who call it federal intrusion and liberals who oppose the testing associated with the standards. “You’ve got this left-right dynamic that makes it particularly hard to move forward,” Cohen said.

Ya got that? Right-Left dynamic?  Opposition to Common Core has never been partisan. It’s been moms, dads, kids, students, teachers, retired teachers… Left, Right, Libertarians and Independents. You can’t paint this movement with the Tea Party is Racist brush, sorry.

It is important to note that Achieve Inc. has played an enormous role in the creation, roll-out and messaging about the Common Core Standards. They are not just some ‘well-respected company’ out there touting higher standards, for all intents and purposes, they ARE the standards and the tests.  Be sure to check out who is affiliated with them.

Achieve has received more than $36 million from the Gates Foundation. Over $9 million of that came in a single grant in 2012 that had a stated purpose of “to strengthen and expand the ADP Network, provide more support to states for CCSS implementation, and build strategic national and statewide alliances by engaging directly with key stakeholders.”

Back to the Morrison Specifics Challenge

The article opened with this:

“Name one Common Core standard you disagree with.

That’s the challenge Superintendent Heath Morrison says he puts to those who argue that North Carolina needs to scrap the reading and math guidelines that states have spent years hashing out. He said he never gets a specific answer, just comments about federal intrusion.”

Let’s ignore for the moment that Morrison is a member of the NC Large District Superintendent Consortium formed last year as a power clique  among NC school districts intent on pushing Common Core and they are some of the top paid Superintendents in the state pushing for raising teacher pay. Let’s ignore that my questions about that Consortium given to my Superintendent Jim Merrill, both in person and in writing, have gone unanswered. Let’s instead address Morrison’s comment above and the request for specifics.

I think it’s safe to say we have already demonstrated where the federal intrusion is coming from and would like to know what Superintendent Morrison’s definition of specific is. That seems pretty specific to me — also, very valid.

Now add to that federal intrusion the issue that the standards are copyrighted and you have the hands of North Carolina truly tied behind its back.  You’ll hear proponents rebut this by saying that 15% of new content can be added though. Yes, it can be – however, that extra 15% will not be tested on and given the amount of work the classes already have to go through in a year, what teacher do you know will add more to it? Especially if their performance might be tied to the results of their class?

That 15% misdirection, and it is a misdirection attempt, doesn’t address the original problem. The standards are copyrighted by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA). These are to D.C. trade groups with absolutely NO accountability to any taxpayer or voter of any state. WE CANNOT CHANGE THEM OR ALTER THE STANDARDS. We are at the mercy of outside groups for what we use in our schools.

AtkinsonPresElectThe CCSSO and NGA are also both well-funded by the Gates Foundation to promote Common Core.  CCSSO  has received over $84 million dollars from the Gates foundation. The NGA has received over $25 million from Gates. Our voices versus millions of Gates dollars. Who do you think wins in that scenario?  The money of course. Which is why they have enlisted the Chambers of Commerce. More money and influence to overwhelm and silence the average person.

Fun Fact: Our State Superintendent is also the President Elect of the CCSSO.

Have You Taken Morrison Up On His Challenge Yet?

Of course, I went right over and posted some of my objections. I limited it to the age and isnt-common-core great
developmental inappropriateness of the Elementary standards, specifically First grade… for now.

If Mr. Morrison really wants  a laundry list, I can provide that too or he can read any of the 370 articles I’ve done at or the over 100 articles I’ve done here at LL1885 Blog relating to Common Core.

Ann Doss Helms noted I had put in a worthy reply (below). Have you yet?


About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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