Air date: April 1, 2016
Host: Jim Schneider
Guest: Duke Pesta
Dr. Duke Pesta is the academic director of Freedom Project Education. He has taught at major research institutions and small liberal arts colleges on a wide variety of subjects both at the graduate and undergraduate level. He has been active in educational reform and was instrumental in developing and implementing an elective Bible course that is currently available fro public high school students in Texas. He has had experience as an educational reformer, university professor, high school teacher and the administrator of an online home school curriculum. He has delivered over 400 talks on Common Core in 40 states.
According to Dr. Pesta all of the problems with Common Core stem from 2 main ones. The first is that Common Core exerts too much control and power over education from the national level. This is illegal according to the 10th Amendment of the Constitution and according to 3 different federal statutes dating from 1965 where the federal government is prohibited from creating national standards or a national curriculum. Once the federal government takes this kind of control it nullifies the ability of parents, teachers and local school districts to chart the course of education based on the needs of their children.
Common Core’s second major problem is that once the federal government accrues this kind of power, they use it to import numerous types of pro-government, anti-individualist ideology into the classroom. In other words, the classroom becomes a platform to indoctrinate rather than to educate.
Common Core was engineered by the federal government and Dr. Pesta believes they did a really good job of hiding their tracks. The knew they couldn’t legally abrogate this kind of power to themselves so they allowed some shadowy lobbying groups to put the standards together. They allowed David Coleman, who has no educational background, to be the architect of Common Core. Coleman brought a small group of individuals together and under the sponsorship of two Washington lobbying groups they crafted the standards.
Funding for Common Core came from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, another private entity with no educational background. The foundation has spent over 7 billion dollars, some of it going directly to the Common Core committee to put the standards together.
In essence, Common Core was put together by what Dr. Pesta described as ‘off the grid’ activists, liberal billionaires and lobbying groups who tailored them to the specifics of the Department of Education’s request.
In 2009 the federal government created the ‘Race to the Top’ program. That program gave the states money if they accepted the Common Core standards when they were finished. Most of the states who took the standards took it for the money which amounted to between 6% and 8% of one year’s state budget.
These are referred to as Common Core state standards when there’s no evidence that the states played any meaningful role in contributing to them. States were only consulted about Common Core after it was written. Then at the state level, states were only allowed to view the standards after they had bought into them with ‘Race to the Top’ and they couldn’t change them.
Dr. Pesta believes that Common Core is an attempt to treat your children as common. It’s a cookie-cutter, big government, one-size-fits-all program and there will be no deviations even if the math, for example, is failing. In other words, in the name of social justice, it’s better if everyone fails with the same system than having some children succeed with different systems.
Freedom Project Education