When You’re Losing Bring Out The Military?

The headline at the Greenfield Reporter reads, “Military generals gather to support common core standards for public schools“.

Once you’re done rolling your eyes. Stop and listen.

Do you hear that? That’s the sound of nails of Common Core supporters raking the chalkboard in a vain attempt to reclaim their carefully crafted narratives.

Political junkies know that in politics, which is what pro-Core people are making the fight about, when you are going down you bring in your military and police supporter to praise you.  There’s more to it than that however. We’ve seen how the Chambers of Commerce have been brought in, this is their call for reinforcements so to speak. There’s more to it than meets the eye. Keep reading.

Back to that headline

There are multiple outlets running similar pieces. All of them flimsy and all of them grasping. The piece at Greenfield reporter  is incredibly short, in fact, the comment I left on it (below) is probably just as long. It is an AP piece, which means you’ll find it on multiple sites, for example ABC 11 is carrying the identical item. I left the same comment on the ABC 11 article.

“Marvin Covault, a retired Army lieutenant general, said Common Core doesn’t tell teachers how to teach and asked the General Assembly to allow the teachers who created the standards to allow them to work.”

All due respect, this Lt. General Covault doesn’t know a thing about Common Core. 

Yes, it does tell them how to teach. Standards drive the curriculum, which is being dictated to them in many cases. It also drives the materials, resources and testing. 

“..allow the teachers who created the standards to allow them to work.”

Good grief, does he think that teacher in NC had anything to do with Common Core? The standards were created by two D.C. trade groups with the help of the Gates Foundation’s pet, Achieve Inc.
Very few real classroom teachers were involved in the writing of these standards, sir.

It is likely a good thing the article was short. The alternative would have been to bring up the weak talking point that Common Core is essential for military families that move around a lot. The reply to that nonsense should be delivered with the proper sarcastic tone, ‘Gee, how did they ever make it in our schools for before?’

Expanding On Desperation

The News and Observer, which has been the mouthpiece of the NC Chamber of Commerce on Common Core, has a longer article. The article gives it away who pulled these military folks in: Department of Public Instruction.

Apparently, while CCSSO President elect/NC Superintendent Atkinson is hopping around India this week, her staff is still carrying on the assault for her. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Let’s ‘dig deeper’ and do some ‘close reading’, shall we?

These Generals and military leaders are from a group called Mission:Readiness, which is a 501(c)3 located at 1212 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005.

That’s also the address for Council for a Strong America, Ready NationAmerica’s Edge, Fight Crime: Invest In Kids and Shepherding the Next Generation. I’m sure there are others.

Go back to the first one on the list, Council for a Strong America. They are the anchor at that address. They also seem to have a strong anchor at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Council for a Strong America received $1.7 million last year alone to promote Common Core. By the way, you might have figured it out already by checking out the “Members in Action” drop down menu on the Council for a Strong America site that all the others on the above list are offshoots of Council for a Strong America. This includes Mission: Readiness.

Nicely done DPI, News and Observer and AP, you’ve just trotted out another set of paid Gates Common Core shills. Did you think no one would dig into who they are and where they get their funding?


Higher Ed for Higher Standards Coalition

News & Observer’s article would be just as short as ABC 11’s and the Greenfield Reporter’s if it weren’t for the bit about “Higher Ed for Higher Standards”.  Relevant snippet:

Earlier this week, more than 200 leaders from 33 states launched a coalition called Higher Ed for Higher Standards. The group aims to mobilize the higher education community for the Common Core State Standards as other states have moved to drop them.

“This is a call to action and I urge my colleagues in higher education to stand up and make their voices heard on Common Core,” said Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York and chair of the National Association of System Heads.

Among the leaders who signed a statement of support for Common Core were UNC President Tom Ross, Appalachian State University Chancellor Ken Peacock, UNC Charlotte Chancellor Phil Dubois and UNC School of the Arts Chancellor James Moeser.

Higher Ed for Higher Standards coalition? Why not just get the Core writing band back together?

Let’s break this down.

Nancy Zimpher is Chancellor of NY state’s college system (SUNY) that’s similar to our UNC system and chair of the National Association of System Heads. Both received Gates funding.  Zimpher is a huge fan of high stakes testing and thinks testing should be even tougher. She is likely going to end up being chased by moms with pitchforks up there in NY, who saw the biggest testing opt-out movement to date with over 35,000 students refusing the tests statewide.  Next to Ed Commissionr John King, she’s persona most non-grata in NY. At the end of the day, she’s worried about her job not the kids. Read this article at Rochester NY’s Democrat and Chronicle, it’s quite transparent.  Bonus quote: “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath,” Zimpher said. How many times have we heard that here in NC?

 UNC President Tom Ross – UNC has received Gates money; frankly who hasn’t would be a better criterion at this point. UNC has a vested interest in Common Core — they, along with Duke, want the data coming out of it.  It makes sense that Ross is in this article given his history with the Veterans Administration and recruiting vets into higher ed. Ross is also responsible for initiating a re-vamping of the UNC strategic plan in 2012 which included a “common core of knowledge“:

Another crucial matter concerns Ross’s call to “strengthen academic quality” by increasing “the focus on preparing graduates with the core competencies needed to succeed.” It is likely that, in this case,the rhetoric may not match the eventual policy. In recent years, the UNC system has moved away from true general education programs that emphasize a common core of knowledge. Instead, it has given students a vast array of general education courses with which to satisfy requirements and by promoting the teaching of writing “across the curriculum” rather than through intensive training in specific courses.

You’ll have to pardon me for being skeptical of UNC at this point, given the ‘high standards’ they hold their students to like the requirement for an “A” being ‘just show up‘ and the fact most of the athletes have 3rd and 4th grade reading levels.

Appalachian State University Chancellor Ken Peacock – I have my doubts about his judgement. There is little in the news about Peacock supporting Common Core before, but his impending retirement might have something to do with it and this nugget; note the Jim Hunt ties:

“Chancellor Peacock serves on the Investment Advisory Committee for the AACSB-International, the Watauga Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors, and the Grandfather Home for Children Board of Directors. In 1995, Dr. Peacock was appointed by Gov. Jim Hunt to participate in the inaugural program of Leadership North Carolina.” – AppState.Edu

Now factor in he is on the board of directors for the American Council on Education among a few other local business ties. Probably a good friend of the area’s Chamber of Commerce.

UNC Charlotte Chancellor Phil Dubois – What you need to know about his support can be found in this one sentence: He is head of the Charlotte Chamber’s economic development committee.  Dubois fails to mention that in his bio. Dubois is all in, likely because he thinks it will create more workers.  Dubois and UNC’s Tom Ross talk about businesses driving education – watch it here courtesy of the Charlotte Chamber.

UNC School of the Arts Chancellor James Moeser – Perhaps he should be focusing on the school’s accreditation problems first, but then again that’s someone else’s problem now since he was only interim Chancellor of UNC’s School of the Arts. He led UNC Chapel Hill from 2000-2008. Finding much to tie him to a love of Common Core was a challenge, which makes you wonder about the strength of his support. Having said that, it would appear Moeser, and most of the aforementioned gentlemen, all seem to run in the same circles.


About A.P. Dillon

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