To the Education Committee
In Support of HB 1461
February 2, 2015
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am Beth Brown. I represent the members of Concerned Women for America of North Dakota. CWA is the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization. Education has been established as one of our seven core issues on which we focus our efforts. We are working to see excellence in academic achievement without governmental mandates that are detrimental to parent’s rights.1
CWA of North Dakota is in strong support of HB 1461 to withdraw North Dakota from Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Smarter Balanced Consortium. It is of great concern that the “one size fits all” plan was never voted on and lacks involvement by teachers, parents, and state and local legislators. If these standards are adopted, state and local leaders cannot change Common Core content or the assessments. No adjustments can be made, even by a local school board. The repeal will help ensure that our state standards and the assessment process are an open and transparent process.
The simultaneous introduction of the Common Core and high-stakes testing of our student’s mastery of those standards is troubling. Those opposed are not, as the Education Secretary Arne Duncan remarked, “white suburban moms who – all of a sudden – (realize) their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”2 Actually, the estimated 16 billion dollar standards are opposed by prominent educators, bi-partisan policy-makers, teachers, parents and tax-payers.
We are not a splintered group of suburban mothers or right-wing extremists as the North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ms. Kirsten Baesler has tagged us. Instead we are concerned North Dakotans who desire that our children not be subjected to an unscientific, untested educational experiment. We join a large group of concerned citizens from across our country. States that have thus far declined adoption of CCSS are South Dakota, Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia, Indiana, Minnesota which declined math standards and Mississippi which will sever ties from the Common Core testing consortium known as PARCC. 3
Today, many states’ current legislative bodies are debating the implementation of CCSS. There were about 100 bills to stop or change Common Core requirements introduced in state legislatures across the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.4
In Iowa, a law to roll back Iowa Core to the 2006 standards is in subcommittee. In Kansas, the Committee of education is considering modification of the Common Core standards, to not allow dissemination of data without consent, and to not collect certain types of data. Wisconsin and Tennessee are considering modifying the requirements to implement Common Core.
Concerned Women for America of North Dakota agrees with North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s recent testimony that Common Core’s one-size fits all approach to educational standards won’t work in our diverse country.
We are asking that North Dakota join other states in severing ties with the Common Core testing consortium. Please take into consideration how the Common Core State Standards Initiative was created by progressive, private educational insiders in Washington, D.C., and dangled as an incentive to the states by being tied to “Race to the Top” grants and “No Child Left Behind” waivers. The power to set educational standards is constitutionally reserved to the states, but the federal government is essentially bribing states to relinquish their rights.5 Common Core uses untested standards and corporate sponsors’ products. It is the end of state sovereignty over education.6
Data privacy is a concern, not only for consumers who have their private information in cyberspace hacked, but also for any family with children in school if we do not stop this federal takeover of education and withdraw North Dakota from Common Core and Smarter Balanced Consortium.7 Regardless of promises by our Department of Education, the dissemination of data though the Council of Chief State School Officers, a co-holder of the Common Core Standards copyright, is another important reason to halt the implementation of Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balance in our state. The development of a system of statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDSs) that will track students from pre-K through college (and career) and undermines the rights of parents and students must be stopped. Target, Home Depot, JP Morgan and more than ten other financial institutions were hacked in a short period of 2014.8 In fact our own military families’ social media sites were hacked by Islamic State Sympathizers in January! 9 Student data entered on the internet though the submission of each child’s statistics is not only a violation of privacy, but it also has the potential of disclosing personal information to those with harmful intent.
I conclude with this, it is not the government’s job to impose educational standards or take over the nation’s schools. Education should be left at the local level where parents have the ability to interact with the school board and advocate for what is best for their child. CWA of North Dakota is committed to fostering and developing education at the state and local level. By supporting parental authority and upholding state’s rights, CWA of North Dakota supports this bill which seeks to withdraw North Dakota from the Common Core State Standards and the Smarter Balanced Consortium.
1. Penny Young Nance, CEO, Concerned Women for America, http://concernedwomen.org/about/issues/education/
2. Valerie Strauss, “Arne Duncan: ‘White suburban moms’ upset that Common Core shows their kids aren’t ‘brilliant’,” Washington Post, November 16, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/11/16/arne-duncan-white-surburban-moms-upset-that-common-core-shows-their-kids-arent-brilliant/
3. Emily LeCoz, “Miss. Withdraws from Common Core Testing”, The Clarion-Ledger, January 16, 2015, http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2015/01/16/mississippi-withdraw-parcc/21859553/
4. “NCSL In the News”, National Council of State Legislatures, 3/03/14, http://www.ncsl.org/press-room/ncsl-in-the-news-march-2014.aspx
5. James Bailey, “Common Core Curriculum Violates Federal Laws and Undermines 10th Amendment to Constitution”, Z3 News, October 16, 2013, http://z3news.com/w/common-core-curriculum-undermines-10th-amendment-constitution/
6. Butcher, McGroarty, Finne, “Why the Common Core is Bad for America”, Washington Policy Center, May, 2012, http://www.washingtonpolicy.org/publications/notes/why-common-core-bad-america
7. Gracy Olmstead, “Common Core and Data Mining: Fact and Fiction Part II, The American Thinker, March 2014, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/common-core-and-data-mining-fact-and-fiction-part-ii/
8. Goldstein, Perlroth, Sanger, “Hackers Crack Ten Financial Firms in Major Assult”, New York Times, October, 2014, http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/10/03/hackers-attack-cracked-10-banks-in-major-assault/
9. Dan Lamothe, “U.S. military social media accounts apparently hacked by Islamic State sympathizers”, January 12, 2015, The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/01/12/centcom-twitter-account-apparently-hacked-by-islamic-state-sympathizers/?AID=7236