What Is The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI)?
CCSSI is the effort that created and is attempting to impose on states a set of national K-12 standards (Common Core). Common Core was developed primarily by a nonprofit called Achieve, Inc., in Washington, D.C., under the auspices of the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The Standards cover mathematics and English language arts (although they also claim to cover “literacy” in other subjects such as science, history/social studies, and technical subjects). Currently, two consortia of states have accepted hundreds of millions in federal money to create national tests to align with the Standards.
Neither the National Governors Association nor Council of Chief State School Officers (which are merely trade associations with private membership lists) had a grant of legislative authority from the states to develop national standards. In fact, Common Core was written by the same progressive education reformers who have been trying to impose a national curriculum for decades. This time, they were savvy enough to invoke the “cover” of National Governors Association so they could paint Common Core as a “state-led” effort. To the extent states had any input, it was limited to offering suggestions that may or may not have been accepted by the people in control.
The U.S. Department of Education (USED) did not create the Standards, but it was deeply involved in the effort to gather together the various trade associations and private foundations to do the work that USED wanted done.
Once Common Core was created, USED “persuaded” the states to adopt it by tying adoption to the opportunity to obtain Race to the Top (RTTT) funding. No Common Core, no RTTT money. (Since then, USED has also attempted to lure states into the Common Core by dangling No Child Left Behind waivers as a reward for adopting the national Standards and national tests.
USED is funding the national tests that are being created by two testing consortia (called SMARTER Balanced and PARCC – Indiana is a member of PARCC). Obviously, what’s on the PARCC test will dictate what is taught in Indiana classrooms – in other words, it will dictate curriculum. So by funding the tests, USED will eventually control the Indiana curriculum – in violation of three federal statutes.
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