Author: Dr. A. Patrick Huff, PhD
While the general public is raging with fury over the evils of Common Core, the globalist who are managing the outcry are working behind the scenes to bring in the endgame of the school reform movement – privatization. For those not versed in the Hegelian Dialectic, rest assured that the dialectic is played out to perfection in the school reform movement. The reformers bring in one phase of the dialectic – Problem, Reaction, Solution – and with the solution, begin a new phase of the dialectic continuing the process until the end solution is reached. One can never be sure what the end will look like, but it appears that privatization of the entire public school system may just be where the school reform movement is headed.
One phase of the dialectic was, most assuredly, the ramping of the testing regimen under No Child Left Behind (NCLB). With NCLB the public schools came under federal accountability and a term called Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). With AYP came mass school failure and the rise of charter schools, which gave parents options to the “failing schools” their children were attending. Please reference School Accountability Madness, linked later in this article, for details about AYP and school failure.
With mass school failure President Obama ushered in, through executive order, the ESEA Flexibility Waiver that rescued schools from failure, but made as a condition the acceptance of Common Core and other draconian conditions that handcuffed public schools in what they taught and how they taught it. Common Core, now in its third year as the curriculum used by the public schools (if your state calls it something different, rest assured it is common core, just repackaged) has so outraged the parents and teachers that a full-scale revolt is set to unfold. This revolt will take place in the opt out movement, where parents either keep their children home on test day or instruct their children to go to school but put nothing down on paper or in the computer.
James O’Keefe’s latest adventure into corruption inside the textbook industry is an attempt to show the evils of Common Core and demonstrate the unworthiness of these standards for our children’s education. So far, Mr. O’Keefe’s efforts with Project Veritas have been aimed at executives within Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt Textbook Corporation. The two executives are shown on hidden camera making comments that would indicate they are most interested in sales and revenues; not what’s best for children. In fact one executive is quoted as saying, “I hate kids” in the first video that aired the week of January 11th. Common Core, as a set of standards for public education, is widely debated and viewed as a watershed topic for many conservatives. It is certainly a subject that divides the candidates running for president. The videos so far are directed at the textbook industry, specifically HMH and Pearson, and the executives that are selling the books to school districts. Certainly the executives featured in the first three videos have misplaced values and are not concerned that Common Core may not be the best set of standards for the students. Their language is harsh and demonstrates they only are concerned with the bottom line of their profit margin. In subsequent interviews Mr. O’Keefe promises to hit Common Core directly. He says in his interview by Anthony Noto from Upstart Business Journal:
There’s a data element to the Common Core issue. Some say the purpose of the testing is to collect information on kids, but others say it’s an ideological conspiracy to brainwash kids’ minds with historical revisionism. But this particular video is focused on greed and the cronyism between government and companies (Noto, 2016)
All of this is true. There is a data element to Common Core. Everything done on a tablet or laptop, or turned in by the student into a company for assessing a standardized test, is collecting data on the student. Also true is the influencing of a student’s mind in areas that are outside what should be the focus of curriculum, which is building academic skills. These areas outside academics deal with a child’s attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors. This type of “brainwashing”, if you want to use that term, has been going on a long time in education. Sometimes attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors need to be explored with skillful direction from a well-trained teacher. This area of “instruction”, however, used in an inappropriate manner has the potential to act in a very destructive way and, yes, brainwash a young mind. There are examples of this throughout history in the government run totalitarian regimes that we all learned about in our school days. Is Common Core used in this manner today? Some would say Common Core is, in fact, dealing a great deal with attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors. The fact that this type of instruction is being applied throughout the country in a one size fits all type of curriculum for every child beginning in Kindergarten, demonstrates that there is great potential for misuse.
Are their merits to what Mr. O’Keefe is exposing? Yes; it is good to see the connection between the textbook industry and the greed and corruption that goes with many corporations that exist in our country and the world. Is this a new revelation? It certainly is not. The textbook industry is just like every other huge industry that deals in sales and profits. In fact, I suspect that many people looking at the videos put out to date, are having a, well duh, everybody knows that, type of moment. What these videos do have the potential for eliciting is exactly what many people in the anti-common core movement are fighting in the standards. The videos, produced through hidden camera, are having an impact on the watcher’s beliefs, and behaviors. In watching these videos, once you get beyond the duh moment, the next behavior one has is anger. It’s not right that the textbook industry is using the education profession and our children in this manner. A company that deals with education materials for children surely must be working in the best interest of children and parents. A company the size of a large textbook manufacturer is in the industry, however, to make money. Is this not what industry does? A company is about the bottom line, or pretty soon they are not a company anymore. What is so alarming in the videos are the misplaced values and negative behaviors of the sales executives interviewed.
Through watching the Project Veritas videos the viewer is being drawn in a direction of action. I fear the action will be directed at the wrong people. I fear that when more people watch these videos it will only strengthen their resolve to opt their children out of taking the test. Is this a bad thing? For a parent to take their child out of the data mining, brainwashing, dumbing down of a Common Core based test certainly has merit. In fact it seems the only way a parent has to fight back against the education machine, is to opt their child out of the test. Opting out, however, could be playing right into the hands of the globalist education reformist who are seeking to move public education into privatization where the parents will be eliminated from any voice. Opting out is becoming a nationwide phenomenon. I do see their parent’s dilemma. What is happening in Philadelphia in February of this year is indicative of how big the opt out movement is becoming. Organizers of United Opt Out are taking advantage of the national sentiment and conducting a huge conference that will generate more support for this movement. The United Opt Out Conference has as its mission statement:
United Opt Out National serves as a focused point of unyielding resistance to corporate ed. reform. We demand an equitably funded, democratically based, anti-racist, desegregated public school system for all Americans that prepares students to exercise compassionate and critical decision making with civic virtue (United Opt Out, 2016)
That sounds like a serious mission statement. Among its high-powered list of speakers is none other than Bill Ayers. I wonder how much these speakers are being paid and who is behind the funding for this impressive conference? Look at the list of other speakers and you get a feel for the importance placed in this movement. Or, are the parents across the country being manipulated. Parents are more awake than ever and they are ready to make a move of resistance. The Opt Out movement is very attractive at this point in time. It is their avenue to vent their frustration.
Focus back now on the local school. Please understand, I don’t place your local school in this mega conglomerate beast. The local school is only doing what it is required to do by law. I am talking about the government-education-corporate industry that controls academic instruction in the public schools today. Some refer to this as the Education Industrial Complex. Whatever name you want to give it, it is huge and the officials in your state government are in bed with the federal government, who are all bed with the large corporations that tie in with the globalist agenda. For many of you, I know that does not come as a surprise.
Here is something, however, that maybe you didn’t know. Unraveling this complex issue of school reform and trying to truly understand its nature is like peeling an onion. One layer leads to another that leads to another. Each layer is connected and it all comes together to make-up the onion. The same is true with the school reform movement. There are many layers and it goes very deep, but it is all going to end up in the same place. Let me explain. The school is the conduit for the laws of the state and the unwitting victim of the policies enforced through the state education agency. Focusing our attention on the textbook industry is a distraction. The textbook industry is not the problem. Now, this next statement may shock some of you, but Common Core is not the main problem either. As bad as it is, it is just the latest in a long line of instructional programs that have taken away the traditional input based, teacher led instruction that was centered around learning academics. The instructional end of education has now morphed into an outcome based type of instruction that focuses on the student’s ability to perform on a standardized test. This is a whole different topic, so I won’t go into this in detail now. If the reader would like to go into more on this topic, the web is awash in sites you can visit. Of course, anything written by Charlotte Iserbyt will give you all the information you need in understanding Outcome Based Education (OBE).
In part two I will detail where the danger lies in the opt out movement and how this well intentioned action by parents, could possibly be playing straight into the globalist hands.
Patrick Huff is the author of “ The Takeover of Public Education in America: The Agenda to Control Information and Knowledge Through the Accountability System”, 2015. The book can be found at http://www.aphuff.com. Dr. Huff is a retired middle and high school principal with 34 years in the public education profession. He lives with his wife of 35 years in Tomball, Texas and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org