The K-1 readings include “Wind Power,”36 an article from National Geographic Young Explorers that talks about how great the wind is. The article ends with how we can get electricity from wind. This is the only energy source discussed in the entire K-12 curriculum, representing a bias in favor of green energy sources. One source does not make a pattern, however, and more would be needed to identify a clear agenda.
The topic is abandoned, but later resurfaces in 9th and 10th grade, where we find exactly that. In this category, there is an overwhelming leftist bias in the list of documents and readings. First, there’s FDR’s 1941 State of the Union Address, in which we find the following:
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms…. The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants everywhere in the world.37
FDR is asking Americans to help insure the welfare of every person in the world. He is establishing a universal human right to a certain standard of living, which would necessitate a global welfare program.
The list then gives us Learned Hand’s 1944 I am an American Day Address, which includes the following:
And what is this liberty which must lie in the hearts of men and women? It is not the ruthless, the unbridled will; it is not freedom to do as one likes. That is the denial of liberty, and leads straight to its overthrow. A society in which men recognize no check upon their freedom soon becomes a society where freedom is the possession of only a savage few; as we have learned to our sorrow. What then is the spirit of liberty? I cannot define it; I can only tell you my own faith. The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the mind of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias.38
Learned Hand dismisses the conventional definition of liberty, which is generally equated with freedom, as the definitions from the Merriam-Webster39 and Oxford Online40 Dictionaries demonstrate. It is indeed “freedom to do as one likes.” However, Learned Hand would have us believe that liberty is instead synonymous with altruism as it means weighing other interests as equal to one’s own, denying the existence of any self-interest. Suddenly, ideas like our right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence take on entirely new meaning, foreign to Thomas Jefferson’s intent. If liberty means altruism and there is an unalienable right to liberty, then the conclusion would be that liberty is a responsibility that must be enforced upon the people, that is, we have a right to others’ liberty of supporting us. The importance of altruism is a valuable discussion, one worth exposing students to, but to misinterpret liberty circumvents that discussion to instill a specific ideology.
“In this category, there is an overwhelming leftist bias in the list of documents and readings.”
To be fair, there is one case of the opposing viewpoint being heard. The list does include Ronald Reagan’s address to students at Moscow State University, where he briefly discusses the virtues of capitalism.41 Even so, the focus of the speech is on the ideas of democracy, not the free market. It is far from sufficient to balance out the constant barrage of leftist authors that the Common Core student reads.
“… there is more emphasis on discussing ideas in groups...”
By 11th grade, the reading list holds only one last surprise in its playbook. One of the supposed “Informational Texts” for this grade level is “The Fallacy of Success” by G.K. Chesterton42. This essay claims that only through talent or cheating can one become successful. In fact, it states, “In our society, temperance will not help a poor man to enrich himself, but it may help him to respect himself. Good work will not make him a rich man, but good work may make him a good work-man.”43 The author claims that there’s nothing we can do, in effect, to obtain success through hard work, and that we’re born with the necessary talent, we cheat, or we can’t become rich.
This reading achieves three purposes from the left’s agenda. First, it creates resentment of the rich as they either were born with something the rest of us lack or cheated to get their money. According to this article, there’s no one who achieved wealth through honest hard work, but some did cheat to get their money, so we should either be indifferent or hateful to the rich, but never have any positive view of them.
Second, the article will discourage students from working hard to make something of themselves. They either have the talent, so they don’t need hard work, or they lack the talent, so hard work won’t help. If trying to create higher-achieving students who are competitive globally, is this a message we want to send? Third, it reinforces the suggestions of redistribution found earlier in FDR’s State of the Union Address and the I am an American Day Address. If the rich didn’t deserve their wealth, why should they get to keep it? FDR’s suggestion of a global welfare state simply takes the notion from “The Fallacy of Success” to its logical conclusion, that America doesn’t deserve to be a rich country, so we have to support everyone else who isn’t. Given no opposing view, no tales of the heroic success of any who achieved the American dream, the Common Core aims to create a society of lazy cynics who believe the American Dream is a lie.
Third, a group approach is more emphasized in the Common Core. Not only is discussion started earlier, there is more emphasis on discussing ideas in groups overall, with more standards devoted to this in Common Core.44 Students are considered a part of a whole instead of being unique individuals in and of themselves. Increased focus on groups builds a collectivist mentality that supports the ideas found in the final years of the reading standards concerning altruism and liberty.
“instead of just setting a lower end for where students should be reading, the standards also limit how much more advanced the students’ readings can be.”
Though considered less important, Wyoming does have discussions, and by high school, Wyoming introduces an element not seen at all in Common Core, namely roles such as moderator and discussion leader. In Common Core, there is no such differentiation between students45. All are essentially supposed to be uniform in a discussion model that has more in common with the chaos of Occupy Wall Street than the orderly presentation of ideas intended to be found in parliamentary procedure.
The Common Core English Standards use reading levels, in which students is expected to be able to read texts at their own grade level proficiently. This makes sense. However, instead of just setting a lower end for where students should be reading, the standards also limit how much more advanced the students’ readings can be. For example, the following standard is applied to third graders:
Read literature independently, proficiently, and fluently within the grades 2–3 text complexity band; read “stretch” texts in the grades 4–5 text complexity band with scaffolding as needed.46
“The Common Core also undervalues motivations, the reasons people take action.”
If students want to challenge themselves, they are to read at only one level above the one assigned to them. But what if a student is already ahead of the curve, and still wants to take on a challenge? There is no room for such a scenario in the Common Core. Students are dehumanized into cogs, expected to fit perfectly into their assigned spot in the machine of Common Core.
Reading levels are not the only dehumanizing aspect of the Common Core. The Common Core also undervalues motivations, the reasons people take action. In Wyoming, a fourth grader is supposed to identify motivation by analyzing setting, events, and characters in the reading. In the Common Core, motivation is discussed a year earlier, but only as another factor to be analyzed instead of as a conclusion of analysis47. Motivations cause people to perform a specific action. By finding motivation as the conclusion, Wyoming students learn to observe the importance of characters in driving the plot, while Common Core considers the characters an indifferent or passive element. This contributes to the same problem of dehumanization.
Through the process of dehumanization, the students will place less value on themselves as individuals. If their task, regardless of what personally motivates them, what their talents are, is to fit an assigned slot, then that is what they will learn to do. Through this, the dehumanization will reinforce the collectivist agenda by having students learn to value the group rather than the individuals in it, and identify by group, leading to superficial labels like “wise Latinas”.