Blasting the Obama administration-pushed national education standards as “deeply flawed,” the powerful Chicago Teachers Union this week became the latest heavyweight organization to join the bipartisan war on Common Core. In its resolution against the controversial nationalization of K-12 schooling, adopted on May 7, the union noted that children and education were being harmed by the “overreaching” federal meddling. As such, the CTU vowed to lobby state officials until the use of Common Core is entirely “eliminated” across the state of Illinois. Labor leaders say other unions may be on the verge of doing the same.
In a statement posted on its website, the Chicago union, which represents some 30,000 teachers and educators in Obama’s home base, said the federally funded Common Core testing regime disrupts student learning. Preparing for the assessments and administering them also consumes “tremendous amounts of time and resources,” the group said. In response, the union vowed to “work to organize other members and affiliates to increase opposition to the law that increases the expansion of nationwide controls over educational issues.”
Echoing concerns from teachers and parents from across America and the entire political spectrum, CTU President Karen Lewis also lambasted the administration’s meddling in state and local education issues. “I agree with educators and parents from across the country, the Common Core mandate represents an overreach of federal power into personal privacy as well as into state educational autonomy,” said Lewis, who is also a nationally board certified teacher. The criticism is especially devastating coming from Chicago, where a former top-level Obama official now dominates the city.
Like countless experts across America who have examined the standards — including those selected to serve on Common Core’s own Validation Committee — the CTU chief said education was suffering as a result of the plot. “Common Core eliminates creativity in the classroom and impedes collaboration,” she explained. “We also know that high-stakes standardized testing is designed to rank and sort our children and it contributes significantly to racial discrimination and the achievement gap among students in America’s schools.”
Another one of the oft-cited complaints surrounding Common Core is the way in which states were bribed using “stimulus” funds into accepting the standards before the public even knew what was going on. Also key in imposing the national education regime were waivers from the disastrous Bush-era “No Child Left Behind” schemes, another deeply controversial intrusion into state and local affairs that is not authorized by the Constitution. Like state lawmakers, parents, and teachers all across the nation, CTU pointed to both of those federal “incentives” in its statement blasting Common Core.
“Common Core’s origins can be traced to the 2009 Stimulus Bill which gave $4.35 billion to the federal Department of Education which created the ‘Race to the Top’ competition between states,” CTU said on its website. “In order to qualify for funding, the states needed to adopt Common Core with the added incentive that participating states would be exempted from many of the more onerous provisions of George Bush’s ‘No child left behind’ program.”
In the resolution, approved by the union’s “House of Delegates,” CTU said the “purpose of education is to educate a populace of critical thinkers who are capable of shaping a just and equitable society in order to lead good and purpose-filled lives, not solely preparation for college and career.” While conservatives may disagree with the notion that education is supposed to train students to create an “equitable” society, the so-called “college- and career-ready” talking points have come under attack from all across the political spectrum.
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