0106_Common Core – not what its supporters thought it was_Some history of Race to the Top (RTTT) and Common Core in Colorado

Donna Jack
June 15, 2016

the Core standards do not do academically what supporters said they would and that linking them to high-stakes tests harms students.” [This quotation is from an article written by Valerie Strauss, linked here, and spoken of in blog 0108.

From the beginning, many people knew where RTTT and Common Core would lead.

There are people across our country who have known since the introduction of Race to the Top (RTTT) in 2009, that it would be a giant step toward putting all control of public, private and home schooling, into the hands of a few people.

This is part of a planned takeover of the control of education by people outside our government.  It is being funded mostly by our own tax dollars.  This subject is talked about in blog 0074_Common Core: Subversive Threat to Education_Karen Bracken_April 8, 2013_YouTubeHere you can also find a “searchable” transcript of the entire YouTube of Karen Bracken’s presentation.

Those who want centralization of our education system were pleased with RTTT (the funding and implementation apparatus for Common Core).

People aware of this government take-over of our education system, have been spreading the word, in the hope of getting back local control.

Some people who in 2009 – 2004 were supporting Common Core and Race to the Top (RTTT) thought they would help improve our education system.

Some people who did not want centralized control, and at the same time didn’t understand the implications of RTTT (which forced Common Core education uniformity throughout our country) — still supported RTTT and Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  They gave their support to CCSS, thinking they would only be a national recommendation for minimum goals that individual states should aim for.  They would say, “Common Core State Standards are recommendations with no strings attached, and we can choose to follow or ignore them — they are just a recommended floor (minimum standard),  not a ceiling.”  They were sure that state and local school districts would be able to set higher standards, if they chose.  They also thought the two testing consortium (Colorado chose PARCC) were harmless.

They knew our level of education in the country was plummeting, and expected Common Core would bring up the academic level across the country, reversing our serious problem of declining education.

They didn’t suspect that rigid demands would be attached to the CCSS.  And they didn’t understand that some people behind the CCSS were actually helping cause the plummeting results of the public school system of education.


Our Colorado State Board of Education,  Colorado school boards, and almost all state school boards and district school boards of education across our country, chose to blindly believe the talking points of the “experts in education” and others who supported the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  They were enticed by the RTTT federal money.

Still, they were afraid of looming threats to cut federal funding, which included cutting all Title 1 funding if they didn’t sign on to RTTT.  Most states were willing to do whatever was necessary to comply with RTTT, in order to get a “chance to win” the federal education dollars and to avoid the financial threats.  They needed federal dollars to continue running the operation of public education.

They could not see that CCSS would drive the curriculum, testing, and  assessments.

Also, people didn’t know that David Coleman, a main architect of CCSS, would end up the head of the College Board, and would influence  aligning the ACT, SAT, GED and Advanced Placement courses with CCSS.


Note:  Up until RTTT, the federal education dollars were distributed to ALL states, based on  previous formulas.   All states got federal education dollars.  Nobody was threatened with losing Title 1 funds.


RTTT demanded that every state make changes in order to qualify for the best shot at receiving RTTT federal education funding.  They couldn’t just continue the way they were going.

They had to accept Common Core, had to choose one of two testing consortium, and had to change state laws to align with RTTT requirements.


Those who believe things are better if controlled by a totally centralized government, support this federal control of behavior – they support the coercion.

[coercion – to make (someone) do something by using force or threats – http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coerce]

This morning I found an article by a person who approves of coercion from the federal level of government:  “It is insane for the feds to be doling out money to states without demanding reforms in return. ”  This article supports the RTTT and recommends RTTT competition for funding be continued every year.
                      [ http://www.arightdenied.org/race-to-the-top/ ]


Knowing that there are demands connected with the receipt of government money, many people refuse tax credits or any other forms of government subsidy for the education of their children.  They choose instead to do what is necessary to avoid government funding and government control of education.

Some schools and colleges do not accept government handouts, in order to avoid government control.

Hillsdale College [https://www.hillsdale.edu/] is one of those colleges that does not accept government money.  Two quotations that appear on the Home Page of Hillsdale College:

“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.”  James Madison

“Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall ever be encouraged.”  The Northwest Ordinance 1787

The text of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.


To have this “chance to win” the money, school boards had to vote to support Common Core, set up data gathering, share data, agree to one of two testing consortium, and accept other national demands.  State legislatures passed laws that would bring the state into compliance with some federal RTTT requirements — laws that took away more local and state control of education.

If states chose not to sign up for RTTT, they were told they would lose Title 1 funding.

This linked article from Wikipedia is filled with details about RTTT.  In it you will find criteria for funding; effects; timetable; awards; results; criticisms; references; further reading; when the different states “won” federal funds, etc.


Having been involved closely with public education when my first two children were young (1970s and 1980s) — taking a break for a number of years — and then coming back into the public education system several years ago — I observed that the public education system had been corrupted beyond my recognition.  Some of these things were beginning to be implemented in the 1980s and 1990s, when I was previously involved in the schools.

I could not believe that individualized learning was no longer just for the handicapped or for children who were terribly behind.  It was now for every student — along with mandatory, excessive,  data-gathering. 

This is not education.  It is something quite different.

Longitudinal data-gathering on a dashboard

In order to have a chance to receive the RTTT money, one of the federal  was to implement a longitudinal data-gathering system.  It was to be at all schools, and the data was to be uploaded nationally.  The Colorado Jefferson County School District uploaded the data regularly, as they had agreed to do.  I assume they are still sending all personal data to some national database.

The data that is specific to each individual student, is collected electronically, and then is made accessible to anyone who goes into the dashboard of the longitudinal data system.

[This longitudinal data collected on each individual student is something parents and students are not allowed to see.  If you doubt this is true, ask to have access to your child’s data, and see what happens.]

I understand that having the data collected on each student in one place,  is a welcome relief for teachers, counselors, administrators, and all in the public education system.  Up until that time, they had been required to go individually to each other to share the data on each student.  That sharing of personal information about students, has become the lifeblood [requirement] that teachers, administrators and counselors believe is needed to better educate each individual child.

Did you know that teachers, counselors, and administrators (and others) join forces to decide how to educate each child?  Big job.  Why in the world are they doing that?

1989 Governor’s Conference – school the center of life

At the 1989 Governor’s Conference, Lamar Alexander, then U.S. Secretary of Education,  talked of having all children in school from 3 months old until 18 years old, from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m.  He recommended a specific team of teachers should be attached to an individual student, and follow that student every year, from the time the child enters school until the 8th grade.  Click here to a listen to Lamar’s talk


Would you have wanted to have a team of teachers following you all of your growing up years?  Aren’t a lot of things in our childhood better forgotten?  What would it have done to you, if a team had been plotting over you every day of your life? and designing ways to change you (fix you)?  (Actually, the data-gathering in the schools, is like having an invisible team of teachers!)

A group joining forces to individually school each child, has become the mode of operation in public education.  In the past teachers taught; students listened, learned, studied; got help from teachers and their parents; and were tested periodically in classes — then the education proceeded.  That was in the days when our country was flourishing, and when we had much more  freedom and liberty.  We were more literate than any nation on earth.

This “individualized learning” has taken over our public schools.

Individualized learning is the mode of education used in socialist countries throughout the world.  One example is explained by a friend of mine who grew up under Chairman Mao in China.

See:  0010_Mao’s regime in China used Household Registration and Personnel File system to keep track from birth to death. — By Lily Tang Williams.

The results of the constant watching and reporting on each student, has not improved the educational level of students in the United States.  In fact, scores are plummeting.

Some of the people who started public education intended to destroy literacy in America.  See Blog 0060_We Don’t Need Brains_Chapter 1_Weapons of Mass instruction by John Gatto  In Blog 0060, Mr. Gatto tells of John Dewey, who deliberately set out to destroy literacy in our country.  Enjoy reading about Frederick Douglass and how he taught himself to read.   Watch a video by Samuel Blumenfeld talking about making Americans illiterate.

The problem is that those designing this implementation of individualized education define what it means to “educate the child” and the way they define education is not how regular citizens define education.  They do not want a literate public.


Our Colorado State Board of Education voted to accept Common Core State Standards (July 2010).  They did this in order to comply with RTTT and have a chance to win RTTT federal dollars.

“Vice Chair Randy DeHoff, R-6th District, who said last week that he was undecided, moved adoption of the common standards and provided the majority for passage. He was joined by Elaine Gantz Berman, D-1st District, Angelika Schroeder, D-2nd District, and Jane Goff, D-7th District.”


This vote gave away much of what was left of local control in public schools in Colorado.

You can also read here about the passage of Common Core by the Colorado State Board of Education, and find some really good background information about Common Core from the Colorado Department of Education.


Both democrats and republicans in the Colorado state legislature,  passed legislation required by RTTT.   Some who voted for it, didn’t realize the new law gave more federal control over education.


At this time, the costs of Common Core are evident:  in money; in the failing academic results from having inferior Common Core-aligned educational standards, curriculum and tests/assessments; and in stress for students and teachers.

Despite all this failure, the school district and Jefferson County Board ignore addressing the deficiencies, accept a continuation of the same and just keep asking for more money.

Somebody needs to be brave and stop complying with “the federal monster.”  [Note:  Compliance with the federal government for money, didn’t begin with Common Core!]



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