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Thorner/O’Neil: Common Core curriculum fails to educate while incubating progressivism




By Nancy Thorner & Bonnie O'Neil - 

Mistakes are often the best teacher, as they force us to revisit a problem and consider how it can be improved.  We examine and rethink what has caused the problem, ultimately enabling us to produce a stronger product. Whether that might be a math problem, a difficult marriage, or a troubled nation, the challenge is to identify potential problems, find the source of the problem, and begin a course to correct all mistakes before they become destructive.  When the problem involves a decline of a once exceedingly prosperous nation, the challenge must become a priority and correct as soon as possible.

An example of a problem that could/should have been prevented is the controversial new national education program, Common Core, which was promoted by President Obama and a select committee who developed the program during his presidency.  This new education system was launched in spite of an uncommon amount of controversy and concern from parents, teachers, and even experts in various education fields.Highly respected professors and members of the validation committee (Professor R. James Milgram, Dylan William, and Dr. Sandra Stotsky) spoke out about serious problems they saw in Common Core but were ignored by the authors of the new program and the Obama Administration.  This prompted the professors to accept invitations from various groups around the country to express their concerns to those who were equally concerned and interested in their objections.

Common Core as Untested Federal Education Program

One specific complaint echoed by a huge number of concerned parents and patriots was that the Obama administration had ignored a long-held American precedent, established by our forefathers, and had been respected for well over a century. The education of America's children was designated to each individual state and not to the federal government. Why?  Our forefathers wisely understood that each state has different cultures, ideals, customs.  A one-size education system does not fit all children.  

Common Core was an experimental, untested education program introduced at the federal level, without an appropriate number of teachers, school principals, state officials, and parents having an opportunity to examine it. Many Americans found it shocking that an education system was unleashed into most every state, despite the absence of adequate testing first.

None of the warnings or concerns deterred President Obama or those who had heavily invested in this new education program. Since 2009, the Gates Foundation’s primary U.S. activity has focused on establishing and implementing Common Core, a set of centrally mandated curriculum rules and tests for what children are to learn in each K-12 grade, with the results linked to school and teacher ratings and punitive measures for low performers. The Gates Foundation has spent more than $400 million itself and influenced $4 trillion in U.S. taxpayer funds towards this goal. Eight years later, however, Bill Gates is admitting failure on that project, and a “pivot” to another that is not likely to go any better as it will be explicitly tied to Common Core and its cousin, the Next Generation Science Standards (which academic reviewers rate as even more obviously low quality).

American Schools Rank #13 in World

Even though American schools are among the most expensive in the world, American students are mediocre achievers in math, science, and other subjects.  In ranking the world’s educational systems, here are the top 5 countries.  American schools come in at #14.  

  1. South Korea
  2. Japan
  3. Singapore
  4. Hong Kong
  5. Finland

In a 2017 Pew report U.S. students’ academic achievement was shown to fall behind that of their peers in many other countries.In that American schools are among the expensive in the world, why is it that U.S. student5s are among the mediocre achievers in math, science, and other subjects.

Common Core Failed to Meet Its Advertised Promises

It was the decision of the Obama administration that the best way to entice states to buy into the untested Common Core program was to make a deal with each state: the federal government would forgive funds that the state owed them, due to their failure to meet promised goals outlined by George W. Bush's “No Child Left Behind” program, if they accepted Common Core sight unseen.

Once enacted in school classrooms, more and more parents expressed concern as they became acquainted with Common Core.  Finding their concerns politely ignored, parents enrolled their children in private schools, while others discovered home schooling programs to avoid being brainwashed by the progressive Common Core curriculum. 

Time revealed those who saw problems with Common were correct. The initial objections raised by professors and parents proved to be valid.  Common Core did not meet its advertised promises, nor did it raise national education test scores.  Some teachers tried to mix the new program with the old, others found creative ways to help students learn, but Common Core remained unpopular with most who were forced to use it. There is a general agreement, even by Common Core authors, that the new education system did not meet the promised results. Instead it caused parents to distrust our government and caused teachers to work overtime to find ways to overcome the inherent problems associated with teaching the new system. 

Powerful Teacher Unions as Impediment to Education

It would be unfair to place the entire blame on Common Core for not improving this nation's educational system. There is another much greater problem that everyone wants to ignore.  It is the powerful Teacher Unions that refuse to fire teachers who have proven to be ineffective.  Instead they shift under-performing teachers from school to school, until most finally end up in poverty areas where parents are too busy surviving to complain about the problems they see in the educational experiences of their children. This takes a huge toll on their children in general and particularly on their children’s learning experiences.

Another negative trend found in America’s schools is that of introducing material that tends to emasculate boys and men, while at the same time pushes girls and women to be more aggressive and compete with boys and men.  This practice has opened once closed doors and opportunities for women, but it has also created new societal problems in the workplace and at home.  There are always exceptions, but most women are not naturally as tough as our current society and schools portray them to be.  Most men, however, have remained as they have for many thousands of years:  bolder, less sensitive, and more aggressive, all qualities that are often necessary in the world of business.

Common Core Designed to Brainwash Children

Common Core must be recognized for what it is, a failed government education system, designed as a way to brainwash children so they grow up to accept, without question, that which elites in our government want established:   a new society based on Socialism — one in which we are all members of a one world order and where our citizens individual liberties and freedoms are reduced if not eliminated.  In its place government would control our lives. 

As has already happened in our public schools through Common Core, all aspects of religion, except that of Islam instruction, has been removed. In this new society parents would also become less important.  Even now children are being told to listen to what their teachers are telling them and not to their parents.  

Common Core also discourages critical thinking, that there is only one right way to think and that is the progressive way.  This leads to the acceptance of political correctness and demands that we accept that which has destroyed once great nations in the past: rampant immorality and oppressive government.  Progressive thinking has led to other irregularities in our society that many Americans now accept as undisputed fact.  Can Socialism be far behind when such issues have begun to dominate our society with few serious objections?

Parents Must Take Responsibility

We should review our American history in classrooms, but that is not happening.  Most of our schools today do not spend time teaching American History.  Civics has also been eliminated from the school curriculum.  It was Winston Churchill who said:  "A nation that forgets its past has no future.” It was Winston Churchill who said:  "A nation that forgets its past has no future.” 

Parents need to be aware of what their children are learning with Common Core.  The future of this nation depends on our actions now, as these classrooms of children will one day be making the decisions.  

As evidenced by Common Core, federal involvement in education has been an epic failure.   It must end.  Power, authority, and responsibility must be returned to the state and local government, and parental choice must be implemented for the citizenry.  These common-sense practices are what made America great and will do so in the future.   


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  1. Well done, Nancy and Bonnie. I think everyone familiar with the issue agrees that Common Core has failed magnificently. And yet, now that it has been implemented throughout the country – in both public and private schools – how do we purge it from the system? Both the ACT and SAT tests are now aligned with Common Core, so college-bound students need to be able to navigate those treacherous waters.
    Common Core appears to be a multi-headed hydra, creating more costly challenges which misdirect dollars and energy. We should be focused on teaching our children effectively, rather than on how to cleanse ourselves of this toxic snake oil.

  2. Great article! I wish the federal government would keep its nose out of education. The DOE should be abolished. First, Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” was a disaster and Obama’s Common Core — foisted upon schools with bribery — is an even bigger disaster and cost billions. The losers in all this are the teachers and children who keep having to train and retrain at the whim of every new administration.
    There are definitely problems with our education system but we will NEVER solve them by throwing money at schools or burdensome new “programs.” We need to look at realities that the politically correct simply will not do.

  3. When looking at the international tests you must keep in mind those tests compare apples to hammers. The US also has an extremely high poverty rate as compared to many other countries involved in PISA and TIMSS test. The manuals for both PISA and TIMSS CLEARLY state these tests should never be used to determine academic achievement between countries because they understand that education is different in each country. in the US we include ESLs and children with disabilities where other countries do not. In the US graduation rate is determined a success when a child finishes HS in 4 years even though our disabled children are in school until they are 21. In Singapore 15 year olds must pay for the remainder of their education so generally only the rich are educating their kids at the age of 15 (that is the age which is tested). So you see there are so many variables that you cannot just take the published data. Dr. Chris Tienken of Seton Hall in NJ is an expert and digs into the data. When you compare apples to apples instead of apples to hammers the US does extremely well inspite of the planned dumbing down of America. Also, Pearson has rewritten PISA (the easier and more touchy feely test) to align with Common Core standards. Now THAT is what should bother people. This proves CC is global and the agenda is global. That can never turn out good for America.