to the editor from this week's Chronicle:
Letter to The Editor
Common Core Goes Global
[A]t the request of educators I wrote the World Core Curriculum, the product of the United Nations, the meta-organism of human and planetary evolution. — Robert Muller, former U.N. Assistant Secretary General
The education reform known as Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for grades K-12, adopted by forty plus states and more than half of the U.S. dioceses, is designed to produce a universal “work force ready” population prepared to self-identify as “global citizens.” Many education professionals have been critical of CCSS. But even they may not know the philosophical reason why financiers like Bill Gates have bankrolled the Common Core system. The same sources of funding for Common Core in the United States are promoting similar methods and aligned texts world wide through the auspices of the United Nations.
In Crisis, readers learned that Common Core is financed with over $150 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The collaboration of the Gates Foundation and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has been well publicized. In addition, Gates, on behalf of his Microsoft Corporation, signed a 26-page Cooperation Agreement in 2004between Microsoft and UNESCO to develop a “master curriculum” which included benchmarks and assessments. The agreement stipulates that “UNESCO will explore how to facilitate content development.”
Some have decried Common Core as the nationalization of American education. Far more dangerous, however, is the globalism of Common Core that demotes American values, undermines American constitutional principles and detaches students from their families and faith. Common Core is simply the newest attempt in the decades-old battle (Outcome Based Education, Goals 2000) to impose a U.N. globalist worldview aimed at “peace,” sustainability and economic stability at the expense of freedom.
Briefly, the globalist philosophy calls for the establishment of a global culture based on a commitment to sustainable processes and humanistic ethics to ensure world peace and “fair” distribution of natural resources. The U.N. serves as the hub for this globalist hope. Adherents believe that some form of world congress and world citizenship is the end point of political evolution, and, therefore it is inevitable. What is not certain, in their view, is the time of fulfillment.
Those who hold this philosophy are passionate—they fear that unless a form of world convergence of mind and political will arrives very soon, the planet may fail from wars, global warming and similar threats. Pick up popular magazines and you’ll find “world leaders,” celebrities and pundits who espouse some version of globalism. How would globalism work at ground level?
A nation is permitted to keep its surface culture, such as language, music, and cuisine. But patriotism, religion, and individualism are anathema, as each competes with the globalist vision of world harmony. Moral codes that cannot be adapted to a multicultural vision, agreed upon in a world congress, must be jettisoned.
But back on the ground, it’s difficult to convince a people to abandon their country and culture, not to mention national resources; resistance would be too great. The quickest effective approach is to invest in education to ensure that the coming generation will embrace the principles of globalism as a natural consequence of their formation.
Previous Crisis articles have detailed the lack of academic rigor of CCSS for both math and English Language Arts. Teachers have reported disturbing “aligned texts” that contain crude, sexually explicit reading selections for young teens. Parents have questioned multiple examples of anti-American sentiment (the Boston Tea Party as a terrorist attack, for example). Despite this outcry, Common Core defenders insist that the standards are necessary, even though it only prepares students for admission to junior college. If the standards are substandard, why are hundreds of millions of Gates and other foundation monies, as well as over a billion dollars in government carrots, being pumped into this ‘transformation” of education? The goal is not academic excellence, but to reconstruct the nations of the world into a new, interdependent model. Their educational model is aimed at an economically stable world with “workforce ready” workers who share the same globalist vision.
UNESCO’s first Director-General was Sir Julian Huxley, who wrote, “The world today is in the process of becoming one … political unification in some sort of world government will be necessary…” UNESCO’s mission is to “construct” the U.N. model of peace “in the minds of men”: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.”
How do you enter the “minds of men” for this reconstruction? The quickest route to a transformed society is through education. The U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals, adopted in 2000, include universal education, under the auspices of UNESCO. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the primary public face of Common Core, prizes its partnership with UNESCO to insure global standards for educating tomorrow’s labor force via Education for All (EFA).
Another champion of CCSS and UNESCO is Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education. Duncan addressed UNESCO in 2010 on “transformational education”:
And transformational reform especially takes time in the United States…. That goal can only be achieved by creating a strong cradle-to-career continuum that starts with early childhood learning and extends all the way to college and careers.
Duncan discussed Common Core as a means to reconstruct education in the United States, and noted the increased role of the federal government in education. Duncan acknowledged the need for America to learn from other nations. He restated President Obama’s commitment to international cooperation for economic viability: “Any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail.”
Existing national models must be deconstructed for this global transformation to occur. UNESCO began the deconstruction of national education systems in 1949 with a pamphlet, “Towards a World Understanding, Vol.V: In the Classroom with Children Under Thirteen Years of Age” (Paris, 1949). The pamphlet states, “As long as the child breathes the poisoned air of nationalism, education in world-mindedness can only produce precarious results…. The school should therefore use the means described earlier to combat family attitudes…” (p. 54-5).
A similar sentiment permeates Common Core aligned texts, many developed by Pearson Education, an international education Goliath—that has also received funds from the Gates Foundation to develop Common Core material. Pearson produces texts that promote “reconstructed” school practices for social justice. An example of Pearson texts for Common Core that raised some eyebrows recently includes this grammar lesson on editing possessives: “[The president] makes sure the laws of the country are fair,” “The wants of an individual are less important than the well-being of the nation” and “The commands of government officials must be obeyed by all.”
A similar sentiment permeates other Common Core aligned texts. Concepts found in grade school children’s textbooks such as justice and equality are given politically biased meanings. Justice is newly defined to mean the redistribution of wealth and resources. Equality is used to dismantle preference for one’s own culture, religion and social customs. “Predictive information,” data ostensibly gathered on each student to improve performance, is in truth a measurement of a student’s adjusted attitude and behavior—a Soviet style “managed outcome.”
The Russian model, in fact, is codified in the US agreement to the Moscow Declaration, which states: “Ministers recognized that the internationalization of education is a reality.” The agreement U.S. officials signed calls for a program, “…implemented by education ministers of all the world countries and international organizations, including the World Bank, UNESCO, and UN” (ITAR-TASS, 6-2-2006). The U.S. Department of Education said the member delegates “pledged to share best practices across borders” to build “education systems that can allow people … to live and contribute to a global society, and to work in a global economy” (U.S. Dept. of Education, 6-2-2006).
U.N. affiliated organizations, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Bank also reflect UNESCO’s vision. Loans are made and trade preferences are granted to those nations or entities that promote “twenty-first century thinking.” Most chilling is that UNESCO fronts the implementation of the U.N. plan known as Agenda 21. Enacted in 1992, Agenda 21 strives to “reorient” the world’s education systems to achieve sustainable development: “Both formal and non-formal education are indispensable to changing people’s attitudes … and behaviour consistent with sustainable development” (# 36.2).
And now we arrive back at Gates’s agreement with UNESCO. EFA contains repeated units on collectivism, shared goals and sustainable development as does CCSS. Note this passage from theEFA’s Global Monitoring Report:
It is crucial that education stakeholders are well positioned … in advancing a wide range of other development goals. The GMR will provide Policymakers … stakeholders with powerful new evidence to show why it is crucial that equitable learning be given its rightful place at the centre of the post 2015 global development architecture. It will identify the types of reforms in teaching and learning that are needed to promote transformative change.
Sustainable development is the soft power structure intended to achieve manageable populations and absolute control of global resources, all in the name of “peace.” It is ruled by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats—and certain philanthropic billionaires.
Academia, public policy institutes and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) promote this globalist vision. One particularly noteworthy recent example comes from Oxford University where the Oxford Martin School Commission released a report on October 16. The purpose of the Commission is to “anticipate the consequences of our collective actions, and influence policy and behaviour accordingly.” A pre-publication statement by Commission chairman, Pascal Lamy, former Director General of the WTO, repeated the mantra, “The ability to address today’s global challenges is undermined by the absence of a collective vision for society. We urge leaders to establish shared global values….”
These lofty sentiments of transnational corporations and associations have influenced American school districts for years. For example, one can point to the 2008 Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents position paper, “Global Education: A Call to Action.” In it we read:
[M]obility of populations fuel renewed calls for mutual understanding and appreciation on a global scale … Global education, when seen through this lens, is more about understanding, cooperation, and world peace. [Schools are to] [i]nclude expanded treatment of global concepts in the next revision of the curriculum frameworks in social studies [and] [p]rovide resources to educators to promote the integration of global concepts into the curriculum.
Common Core exemplars and aligned texts are designed to cause disorientation for the American child by de-emphasizing national cultural identity. At home he learned to be proud of his country, to respect the flag and the Constitution, but under CCSS the child will find few positive images of America. Of the texts suggested for kindergarten and first grade none teach the concept of freedom, or offer a song (America the Beautiful?) or any story praising heroes of the American Revolution. Children of this age naturally want to love family and friends, discover a sense of belonging and develop an identity. Common Core avoids “cultural bias” by discouraging the development of a patriotic attachment to the nation state.
International student testing materials encourage this trend. The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is administered to 15 year-old students every three years in most of the world’s developed nations. The PISA standings drive text selection for reading literacy. To avoid cultural bias, PISA defines literacy as the ability to read the material required for workplace proficiency, rather than works of literature.
Therefore, utilitarian texts, such as EPA manuals and assembly instructions account for fifty percent of reading assignments under the CCSS. Students are deprived of decent grounding in the great works of literature. As a result, students are less likely to appreciate the cultural heritage of the West. It’s difficult to conceive of a student learning virtue, self-sacrifice, courage, perseverance, mercy, regret or triumph by reading maintenance manuals. There is more to good citizenship than “workplace proficiency.”
Yet, CCSS promoters insist that citizenship is addressed. For example, the New York State Common Core Social Studies Framework states:
The primary purpose of Social Studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.
This sounds reasonable enough to the casual reader. A deeper examination must match this rationale with the actual content of texts and tests. Then it becomes clear that the language of the rationale holds different meanings to those who designed the texts and tests with an agenda in mind.
An iconic example of this tactic is at the United Nations where the stealth phrase “health and reproductive rights” seems to promise decent prenatal care. Nothing in the phrase suggests abortion and sterilization, but those are the intended “rights.” Thus, in the New York framework, the word “informed” should prompt the question, “informed with what information?” And the phrase “public good” must answer “whose definition of public good?” Is same-sex parenting a public good? And what of the phrase, “culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world?” Should we be comfortable with a goal that fails to emphasize American cultural achievements, American citizenship, American constitutional principles and civic virtues? Or do we realize that the “framework” reorients students toward the vision of a secular, globalist humanism?
It appears that few recognize this gambit under the guise of education for “job security” in the global economy. If it is a globalized world, the reasoning goes, then blurring the lines of culture and country must be achieved in order to insure a cooperative workforce with fewer cultural divisions or religious tensions. A tractable workforce asks no questions because it has no foundation of knowledge from which to form the questions.
Common Core is the latest blueprint for a techno-serfdom, workers managed for the global economy. Student and teacher are transformed indeed—into utilitarian tools of global commerce: The student is a product, schools are processing plants, and teachers are information delivery agents. The socialist “workforce management” scheme is the inverse of American principles where free persons find their own vocation and pursue it according to their talents. The “workforce” model believes that the state can anticipate the workforce needs of the economy, then train workers “cradle to career.”
Common Core is part of the subterranean template in place to indoctrinate our society into accepting “workforce security” in exchange for a global public square where American values are a distant memory, and Christian, especially Catholic, practice is confined behind church doors. Perhaps with an awareness of this abandonment of fidelity to particular national values in the face of globalizing pressures, Pope Francis this week warned against worldly “hegemonic uniformity”: “And this is the fruit of the devil, the prince of this world, who leads us forward with the spirit of worldliness…. They accepted the habits of the pagan … that all should be one people, and everyone would abandon their customs. A globalizing conformity of all nations is not beautiful” since “it is the hegemonic uniformity of globalization, the single line of thought” rather than a unity of nations each with its own unique customs and traditions that make up a particular civilization. If education is reduced to job training, the consequences will be tragic. As C. S. Lewis reminds us, “If education is beaten by training, civilization dies … civilization is a rarity, attained with difficulty and easily lost.”
Tagged as: Bill Gates, Common Core, globalization, UNESCO, United Nations
The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.
Mary Jo Anderson is a Catholic journalist and public speaker. She has been a frequent guest on "Abundant Life," an EWTN television program, and her "Global Watch" radio program is heard on EWTN radio affiliates nationwide. She writes regularly for Crisis Magazine and is a contributing correspondent for WorldnetDaily.com. More articles and commentary can be found at Properly Scared and at Women for Faith and Family. Mary Jo is a board member of Women for Faith and Family and has served on the Legatus Board of Directors.