Lessons from Texas
Texas is a right-minded red state, where patriotism is still a virtue and political correctness is out of vogue. So how on Earth have left-wing educators in public classrooms been allowed to instruct Lone Star students to dress in Islamic garb, call the 9/11 jihadists “freedom fighters” and treat the Boston Tea Party participants as “terrorists”?
Here's the dirty little secret: Despite the best efforts of vigilant parents, teachers and administrators committed to academic excellence, progressive activists reign supreme in government schools.
That's because curriculum is king. The liberal monopoly on the modern textbook/curricular market remains unchallenged after a half-century.
As Fox News reporter Todd Starnes noted last week, a 32-year veteran of the conservative Lumberton, Texas, high school led a world geography lesson on Islam in which hijab-wrapped students were banned from using the words “suicide bomber” and “terrorist” to describe Muslim mass murderers in favor of the term “freedom fighter.”
It was in the curriculum.
Top-down federalized “Common Core” standards are now sweeping the country. It's important to remember that while teachers unions are on board with the Common Core regime, untold numbers of rank-and-file educators are just as angered and frustrated as parents about the Big Ed power grab.
The program was concocted not at the grassroots level but by a bipartisan cabal of nonprofits (led by lobbyists for the liberal Bill Gates Foundation), statist business groups and hoodwinked Republican governors. This scheme, enabled by the Obama administration's “Race to the Top” funding mechanism, usurps local autonomy in favor of lesson content and pedagogical methods.
In practice, Common Core evades transparency by peddling shoddy curricular material authored by anonymous committees. Common Core's “constructivist” approach to reading, for example, is now the rationale for abandoning classic literature for “informational texts.”
Claims that Common Core bubbled up from the states are bass-ackward. A shady nonprofit group called “Achieve Inc.,” stocked with federal-standards advocates who've been around since the Clinton years, designed the materials. They were rubber-stamped by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers and subsidized by the Gates Foundation.
In states like Texas, which rejected Common Core, similar secretive alliances prevail. The Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative, a nonprofit group led by government officials, designed the “CSCOPE” curriculum now used in 80 percent of the state's schools. The state Board of Education, local schools and parents were denied access to the online CSCOPE curriculum database — which was exempted from disclosure rules.
Grassroots activists in Indiana, Alabama, Utah and nearly a dozen other states are now educating themselves and their state legislatures about the centralized education racket, whether it's under the guise of Common Core or any other name.
As Texas goes, so goes the nation. The fight against the federalization of academic standards is a national education Alamo.
Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2009).