Editor’s note: Rebellion against Common Core is increasing – and so are the government’s threats to those who dare to refuse to participate in the “required” testing.
Public resistance to Common Core is exploding across America, and officials are not happy about it. The Obama administration’s Department of Education, along with pro-Common Core government officials across the country under pressure from the feds, appear to be in panic mode. Facing a growing nationwide “opt out” movement to refuse participation in the unconstitutional federally funded testing regime aligned with the Obama-backed national school standards, senior bureaucrats, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, have actually started resorting to lawless threats against parents, teachers, students, and entire state governments. Some parents were threatened by officials with jail time. Even small children are being punished by the state for “opting out” of the deeply controversial tests, with one California mother telling The New American that her daughter was publicly denied ice cream in retaliation.
But so far, the threats are only emboldening the opposition.
Perhaps the most outrageous threat so far came from Obama’s education chief, Duncan, who boasted in recent years of using government schools to create “green citizens” with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) as a “global partner.” Late last month, Duncan, who was greeted by protesters urging him to “stop test bullying,” threatened federal intervention to force Americans to take the Common Core tests if states would not do the job. “We think most states will do that,” Duncan proclaimed at an Education Writers Association conference in Chicago. “If states don’t do that, then we [the federal government] have an obligation to step in.” In reality, of course, the federal government has an obligation under the U.S. Constitution to butt out. But despite swearing an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, including the 10th Amendment, Duncan has led the charge in recent years to finish federalizing the government school system — and to use it as what he called a “weapon” to “change to world.”
Sounding oblivious to America’s federalist system of constitutional government, Duncan proclaimed that he expected state governments to hold “districts’ and schools’ feet to the fire on this,” as if state governments were mere administrative units to enforce decrees from the all-powerful federal executive branch. Hundreds of thousands of students in New York recently opted out. Almost nobody took the tests in some districts amid a full-scale uprising by teachers, students, and parents. In Chicago, where even the teachers’ union has blasted the federal takeover, school officials were threatened with the loss of more than $1 billion in state and federal “education aid” if not enough students were successfully coerced into taking the Common Core aligned tests. Still, few details were provided on what it might look like to have the Obama administration “step in” and force students to take the controversial tests — an outrageous threat he also made in a discussion with Motoko Rich of the New York Times.
Critics, however, ridiculed the threat, daring the administration to try it. “Assuming that Duncan is not planning to call in the National Guard to haul off opt-outing 8-year-olds, the only possible ‘sanction’ would be withholding funds,” observed Carol Burris, an award-winning New York principal who recently stepped down to fight back against what she sees as problems with the public education system. “That would surely lead to court challenges forcing the Education Department to justify penalizing schools when parents exercise their legitimate right to refuse the test — an impossible position to defend.” Noting that students of all races and backgrounds were opting out of the testing scheme, Burris pointed out that the rates “defy the stereotype that the movement is a rebellion of petulant ‘white suburban moms.’”
In a recent statement published by the Washington Post, the New York “2013 High School Principal of the Year” also highlighted a number of troubling government abuses targeting parents. Among other concerns, she said, citing activists and teachers, that administrators in some districts took advantage of non-English speaking parents by lying to them about the tests, saying they were mandatory or that children would be held back for refusal to take them. One critic called it “blatant discrimination at best.” Burris also lambasted the Common Core tests and noted that Duncan’s own children go to a non-Common Core school — as do the children of Common Core financier Bill Gates, and Common Core strongman Obama. She concluded the scathing commentary by noting that the movement to refuse the tests puts the entire “education reform” agenda in serious trouble.
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Contributed by Alex Newman of The New American.