Badass Teachers oppose Common Core

With the Badass Teachers Association, made up of over 21,000 teachers from fifty states, opposed to corporate-created Common Core, it is hard for many to understand why Democrats in the Arizona Legislature are resisting efforts to repeal the standards.

Unfortunately the AEA (Arizona Education Association) is weak, and its presence is nearly non-existent across the state. As a result, they have had to make deals with the powers-that-be, which in Arizona are the chambers-of-commerce, and ignore the feelings of individual members as they crawl into bed with the likes of corporatist senators Bob Worsley, Jeff Dial, and Steve Pierce.

However, the Badass Teachers Association isn’t constrained by crony capitalists. Not only was it “created to give voice to every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality through education, it refuses to “accept assessments, tests and evaluations created and imposed by corporate driven entities that have contempt for authentic teaching and learning.”

Last June, “the Badass Teacher Association marched through downtown Seattle toward the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Thursday evening to demonstrate their disdain for the Common Core standards that have been implemented in 45 states, thanks largely to support from the Gates Foundation,” according to Geek Wire.

Most educators believe, as Geek Wire points out, that the Gates’ support for Common Core is not because the standards benefit “students, but rather for corporate interest and to help Microsoft’s bottom line because the standards support technology and data.”

Common Core strips out literature in favor of technical manuals so that kids can work on the program packaging assembly line for Gates someday.

During the Arizona House Education Committee hearing, Representative Lisa Ontondo, a former public school teacher, acknowledged Common Core’s literary shortcoming, but still voted against HB2190, which would replace Common Core standards in Arizona. Most likely she – like so many other public school advocates – believes that the standards would match the highest international standards and bring desperately needed education dollars.

But even James Milgram, a professor of mathematics at Stanford University and member of the Common Core Validation Committee, admitted that Common Core standards are two years behind the math standards in the highest-performing countries.

Because the United States’ public schools – not private – have produced more Nobel laureates than any other country in the world, one has to wonder how the corporatists thought they could get away with the lie. But they have so far because they have deep pockets and public school advocates don’t.

In his Washington Times review of Common Ground on Common Core, Logan Albright writes: “In the face of slick advertising campaigns by Common Core’s corporate backers and lofty speeches from politicians, the truth can be difficult to ferret out.”

The truth is that Common Core cannot be tailored to diverse populations, which makes it even harder to understand how progressives can support it. However, with the understanding that they would not be eligible for Race to the Top funding ($4.35 billion) unless they adopted the Common Core standards, they had little real choice due the under-funding of our schools.

Common Ground contributor, Tim Slekar, the liberal Dean of Education at Edgewood College in Wisconsin, has been a vocal critic of the standards,” writes Albright. Slekar, who has been blogging about the dangers of corporate-backed education reform for years at, high-stakes tests associated with Common Core are designed to label all public schools as failing. Slekar is joined by Morna McDermott in Common Ground on Common Core, a publication that focuses on opposition to the standards. McDermott an Associate Professor at Towson University in Maryland, has focused her scholarship and research “on democracy, social justice, and arts-informed inquiry in Kindergarten through post-secondary educational settings.”

Soon, Democrat lawmakers in Arizona will have an opportunity to stand up to the corporations and resist their efforts to turn our schools into their publically funded human resource departments. We shall see if they have what it takes to defend public education or if they fold like the cheap suits worn by chamber of commerce lackeys.

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