Recruiting a Common Core Truth Squad

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Secretary Duncan still recruiting reporters to his Common Core ‘truth squad’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan used yesterday’s meeting with the Education Writers Association to strike back at critics of the new, nationalized learning standards known as Common Core.

truth squad“Anyone who says (the federal government) developed them or mandated them, they are lying,” Duncan told the education journalists. reports that “Duncan emphatically called on education reporters … to truth squad critics’ claims” about the Common Core standards.

This isn’t the first time Duncan has asked his media friends to silence his critics. He issued a similar call in June to a gathering of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

Duncan is very shrewd when he talks about Common Core publicly. He always emphasizes that the federal government had no role in writing the new math and English standards or in making states adopt them.

While he’s correct on those points, he never addresses the arguments of his more-informed critics.

For instance, Duncan doesn’t like to talk about how his Department of Education is working hand-in-hand with test makers to design Common Core-related assessments.

That’s a big deal, as anyone with a working knowledge of education can attest. Since teachers will be (partially) evaluated by how well their students perform on these Common Core-related tests, it’s a no-brainer that the topics addressed on state-mandated tests will eventually be taught in the classroom.

Does this test-writing power give the federal government a back door way of controlling K-12 curricula?

Duncan never addresses those criticisms, probably because the answer wouldn’t support his propaganda.

Likewise, Duncan never explains why his department changed longstanding student privacy laws (the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act) so third-parties – including educational technology companies that will use the data to design and sell learning software – can now have access to student data.

He’d rather mock critics who think the federal government is trying to collect personal data on K-12 students.

It’s easy to understand why Duncan doesn’t want close scrutiny of the federal government’s involvement in funding and facilitating the Common Core experiment.

What’s less understandable is why mainstream media is so willing to take everything Duncan says at face value.

If they’d do a little digging, like journalists are supposed to do, they might discover there’s a whole lot more to this Common Core story than Duncan is telling them.

By Ben Velderman at

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