February 24, 2014 | By: Matthew and Ellen Gerwitz
All of the recent campaigns, conversations, and efforts to stop the Common Core State Standards (which I wholeheartedly support, by the way) have caused me to pause and consider what would happen if we did manage to get rid of it. This reflection brought to mind the children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. In this book, one action leads to another action which leads to another, and so on.
What would happen if CCSS were eliminated? Would we have to do more to really solve the problem or would that be sufficient? To examine the answer to these questions, I’d like you to do some imagining with me. Ready? Great! Let’s go.
You have inherited a rather nice house with some great features. It has wonderful rooms with large windows and great views. The house is completely furnished and you can move in whenever you are ready and it won’t cost you a nickel. Sounds wonderful, right? A dream come true – free housing.
You move in the following week and revel in the fact that you have no housing payment to worry about. Life seems wonderful. However, a few days later, you notice some brown and black stains on some of the walls. Each day, those stains grow larger and larger. You soon realize that you are dealing with mold and decide to call in some mold-removal experts.
After inspecting the house, they inform you that the mold is in the walls and those walls should be removed immediately. Of course, you want to continue to have a free place to live, so you agree to the plan. But, more bad news awaits. Once the experts remove the drywall, they discover that the mold was not just in the drywall, but also all over the interior wood framing. Of course, you cannot simply put up new walls because the mold will just come right back. You must also completely remove all the interior wooden framing.
But even worse news is right around the corner. After all of this demolition, the experts examine the exterior walls and the foundation of the house and determine that they too are mold-infested. Apparently, the house was constructed badly from the beginning. They sadly inform you that the only way to completely get rid of the mold is to demolish the entire house and start from scratch. This free house has become a disaster and a nightmare.
What you may not realize is that our educational system is like that free house. When it was first constructed and offered to citizens around 200 years ago, it looked like a good deal. After all, it was FREE EDUCATION, right? However, there was a flaw in the construction process which would allow mold to grow – and that was the mold of government control.
In the beginning, this mold of government control was not very noticeable – just like the mold in the house. In fact, several generations lived in the house of free government education without noticing a problem. Of course, occasionally, a repair had to be made or a new piece of furniture had to be purchased, but those issues were dealt with and our predecessors considered the house of free government education just fine to keep living in. However, just like the mold in the physical house, the longer the house of government education existed, the more the mold of government control continued to spread.
This spread is easy to see if one examines the historical record. We went from individual states taking control of education away from parents beginning in 1820 to compulsory attendance laws enacted from 1852 to 1913. Government control continued to grow throughout the early 1900s. It then progressed to the National Defense Education Act in 1958 and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965. The government gained even more control in 1980 when the Department of Education was made part of the president’s cabinet. From there, we moved on to Outcome Based Education, Goals 2000, No Child Left Behind, Race To The Top, and now the Common Core State Standards. All of these actions are simply the mold of government control spreading further and further.
After generations of Americans living in the house of free government education, the mold of government control is finally becoming so apparent that even the most non-observant among us cannot help but notice it. We quickly call in experts to help us rid our education system of this problem. To our dismay, we realize that the entire structure is infested to its core.
Some believe that if we can get rid of the CCSS, things will be fine, but that would be the equivalent of only removing the interior walls of the mold-infested house. The problem goes much deeper than just the CCSS. We have to deal with the fatal flaw of the mold of government control in our “free house of government education.” Just getting rid of the CCSS will not eliminate the agenda of government control nor the years of INDOCTRINATION that have gone on in this country.
The evidence is clear. Unless the government’s agenda is completely eradicated, their efforts to control will just surface again and again. We need to demolish the entire structure and start from scratch. So with the goal of removing the “mold of government control” in mind, let me tell you the story of “If We Get Rid of the CCSS…”
If We Get Rid of the CCSS…
- If we get rid of CCSS, we must get rid of programs like RTTT, NLCB, Goals 2000, OBE, etc.
- If we get rid of programs such as these, then we must remove federal control of education.
- If we remove federal control of education, we must undo the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as well as the National Defense Education Act.
- If we undo those two education acts, we must repeal the compulsory attendance laws.
- If we repeal the compulsory attendance laws, we must re-examine the control the state has on the education of its citizens.
- If we re-examine state control of education, we must take personal responsibility for the education of both our children and ourselves.
Then, and only then, can we be sure that we have eliminated the possibility for the mold of government control to grow again in our educational processes. You may not think that this is possible. Well, consider the fact that for over 200 years of this country’s history (c. 1610 to c. 1820), we had no government control of education and yet we managed to produce fine, upstanding, well-educated citizens who were able to think and care for themselves. Clearly, our forefathers have proved that it can be done if we are willing to rise to the challenge.
For further information about the early methods of education in this country and their levels of success, I recommend reading this essay by Robert A. Peterson from 1983: http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/education-in-colonial-america#axzz2n6REyc5J
Lastly, if you are not familiar with the history of government schools, these two essays we have written that contain more information about that topic.
1) Peterson, Robert A. Education in Colonial America. The Freeman. 1983. Web 2014-02-15
2) A Brief History of Education in America – http://www.cblpi.org/ftp/School%20Choice/EdHistory.pdf