Apparently, North Dakota’s education establishment thinks North Dakotans and their legislators are stupid, gullible, or both. But in fairness, they are not alone — state and federal officials all over America have been trying to dupe those they misrule into believing the toxic “Common Core” scheme was history. It’s not. In fact, it is as firmly entrenched as ever.
Facing a grassroots uprising over the dumbed-down national “education” standards pushed on to states by bribes and bullying from the Obama administration, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and their cohorts simply decided to re-brand the scheme. Now, instead of “Common Core,” the state has adopted “new” “North Dakota” standards. Unfortunately, though, they are essentially indistinguishable.
Among my chief content concerns, for example, is the education establishment’s absurd insistence on having children memorize so-called “sight words.” Basically, instead of actually reading a word by sounding it out phonetically, the children are expected to memorize “whole words” as if they were Chinese characters.
Reading expert Sam Blumenfeld, with whom I co-authored a book, dedicated many decades of his life to exposing this quackery, referring to “sight words” as “Thalidomide” for the brain. In short, he discovered what Boston schoolmasters had first exposed in the mid-1800s when the scheme was developed and rolled out there: the “whole word” method is a sure way to mass produce illiterates, regardless of what the education establishment has to say about it.
Under Common Core, students start memorizing sight words in Kindergarten. The relevant standard, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.3.c, says: “Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).” Under the deceptively named “North Dakota English Language Arts and Literacy Content Standards” released this year, the relevant Kindergarten standard, NDCS.ELA-Literacy.RF.3.d, says: “Read common high-frequency words by sight. (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).”
There is literally zero difference. And unfortunately, the same exact process — renaming the standards and making a few tiny modifications — has occurred in state after state in a half-baked effort to mislead outraged parents who realize how absurd Common Core is. First it was Indiana, followed by Florida, South Carolina, and many others.
On the testing regime, North Dakota officials also touted the fact that they left the federally backed, Common Core-linked testing consortium known as Smarter Balanced Assessment. What they did not tout is the fact that the “new” testing company they hired, American Institutes for Research (AIR), is not only in bed with Smarter Balanced, it is even worse, bragging online that it is involved in “social science and behavioral and psychological research.”
North Dakota’s education officials have a track record of dishonesty. As this writer exposed in The New American magazine, DPI bureaucrats led by Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler literally created phony e-mail accounts to spread lies about Dr. Duke Pesta, a friend and colleague of mine, who was on his way to North Dakota to expose Common Core to citizens, parents, and legislators. It seems little has changed in North Dakota’s “education” bureaucracy.
Dr. Pesta, a university professor and the academic director at FreedomProject Academy, highlighted the irony of it all. “The same thing we said three years ago, [Baesler] is kind of saying about Common Core and Smarter Balanced,” he said.
Perhaps they are taking cues from higher up. As The Newman Report documented earlier this year, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has made a series of misleading comments on the Obama-backed Common Core “education” standards, falsely suggesting that the nationalized and even globalized schooling scheme is no longer a threat to Americans. Before her, Obama’s top education bureaucrats were bragging about conspiring with Republican leaders in Congress to dupe Americans.
As long as the American people do not rise up in protest, government officials at all levels will continue dumbing down children while playing us all for fools. The swamp draining Trump talked about needs to happen not just in D.C., but in North Dakota and practically every state in the Union. And in the meantime, parents must take urgent measures to protect their children from these dishonest officials.