Buyer Beware: School Choice and Voucher Programs Require Alignment With Common Core

Republicans are selling a false bill of goods when it comes to providing parents choices to escape Common Core and public education. Shannon Joy, host of The Shannon Joy Show and an expert on Common Core, joined The Glenn Beck Program on Friday to speak frankly on the matter.

"Republicans now are putting forth a false solution. They're coming out --- Donald Trump, Betsy Devos, some of our favorite conservative Republicans --- I don't know if they quite understand the nuance of this, but they're pitching to conservatives the idea of school choice vouchers and charters as a solution when that is not the case. In every piece of legislation and every state, including Texas which voted it down just recently because of this, every voucher program, every choice program requires that the user of that voucher or that choice education institution must be aligned with the federal standards. Those standards are Common Core," Joy said.

Mike Opelka, filling in for Glenn on radio, asked what parents need to know.

"I think we need to arm parents with information. If they're willing to go into battle against Common Core, we need to give them the ammunition. So what are the one or two things you as a parent can say when you're up there questioning these folks on Common Core?" Opelka asked.

Joy pointed out that education planners on the right and the left try to distract parents with the notion of students needing standards --- but that isn't the issue.

"Every parent wants a school to have high standards. That's obvious. The question isn't the standards, it's the curriculum," Joy said.

Common Core curriculum is infused with progressive ideologies intended to indoctrinate children to their way of thinking --- and the testing reinforces it. If a student's answer doesn't align with progressive teachings, the answer is wrong.

"The next generation science standards are essentially global warming and climate change sustainability curriculum. You have politics in the schools through the curriculum that must be put in place in order for the kids to achieve on the test that are supposed to judge the standards. So that's a red herring, it's a false choice. It has nothing to do with standards. It has everything to do with the curriculum. For example, the social studies curriculum, many of them that are Common Core-aligned are teaching children to be global citizens and are shaping the attitude behaviors and beliefs, right? So they're indoctrinating children into globalism and socialism and doing it in the guise of standards and curriculum," Joy explained.

Moreover, government officials are working to impose a system that makes it virtually impossible to escape these imposed belief system.

"I'm telling you, Mike Opelka, we don't have a single friend in the Senate, not one friend in the Senate or the House of Representatives that understands the nuance and the tentacles of Common Core. They are putting forth what they think are solutions, which are the school choice and voucher. Those are false solutions. What was once a great idea has been hijacked by progressives and is going to be entrenched in the federal government," Joy warned.

Charter schools and homeschoolers are in sights of legislators as well.

"Charter schools do not have a board of education, a democratically-elected board of education. They have a board of supervisors that appoints a parent as a liaison. So what you're going to have is charter schools all over the country that are directly tethered to the federal government. They are not controlled locally in any way, shape or form, and we will have even less of a voice than we do now with our current public education system. That's how important this is, this charter and choice battle. This is why in Texas, that bill was killed just a couple months ago, Mike. It was not by liberals. It was not by Democrats in Texas. It was by homeschool moms and dads and grandparents who saw the false choice, the false charter, the false voucher plan for what it truly was," Joy said.

Joy recommended several sources to stay informed and involved:

Truth in American Education

American Principles Project (Jane Robbins)

Cato Institute (Neal McCluskey)

You can also follow @shannonjoyradio on Twitter or The Shannon Joy Show on Facebook.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

MIKE: About four years ago, I became aware of what Common Core was. The Common Core curriculum and how in the height of the financial crisis, the Federal Government swooped in with this idea to take over the education system on a local level. To come in and tell all of those counties and cities that were having budget crunches, especially in their education budget because of the huge financial crisis we were in that we have money for you, but we want you to do something for us. And we want to introduce this wonderful thing called Common Core. And the Common Core standards that they're only going to help the children. They're only going to make it better for everybody. And any time somebody comes to you and gives you money and then says you have to implement these programs, and it's just going to make everything better, I'm suspicious. Because any time something is going to make any life better, I usually have to pay for it. I usually have to purchase it, and I have to make -- it's incumbent upon me to make an educated purchase. As a consumer, I would like to know, well, what else could I have purchased? And is there something else with a better value? Not the case with Common Core. It was rammed down the throats that were in all states that were in financial trouble. So that would be 50 out of 50. And when we woke up and went hang on a second, this Common Core thing is not good. It's changing the way our kids are taught, it's changing the way our kids are tested, which is kind of like constantly. It's taking control of the education process out of the hands of the teachers, and we started fighting back. With Common Core like ObamaCare has deep tentacles that have gone inside of our educational system, and it's not just easy to go in and go all right, no more Common Core. And despite the fact that Donald Trump made that a campaign promise that he was going to get rid of Common Core, I don't know how realistic that is.

In order to understand it and to try to also realize that there's more going on in the world than the Jim Comey testimony, we've brought in a friend of mine who is also a radio person in up state New York. But she's a warrior on Common Core. Her name is Shannon Joy, and she's joining us this morning on the Glenn Beck Program. Hello, my friend. How are you?

SHANNON: Well, hello, Mike Opelka, how are you? Thank you so much for having me.

MIKE: You're welcome. Happy to have you here. I think I got the setup on Common Core right, didn't I?

SHANNON: You absolutely did, and I'm going to take it one step further for you and for your audience.

MIKE: Okay.

SHANNON: What was once a voluntary grant program, the rates in the program put in by the Obama administration, you know, that was the initial mechanism that brought common core into every school district in the United States of America. But it was the Republicans led by Lamar Alexander in a Republican-led senate and House of Representatives that passed the ESSA act, it was the every student succeeds act in 2015. That legislation, which was pitched to the American people and conservatives as a solution to Common Core was indeed the exact opposite. It codified into law that voluntary grant program that was put in by Obama. So not only do we still have Common Core in nearly every single school district in the United States of America today, it is even more deeply entrenched. In addition, Michael, your audience might not know is that through my research and through, you know, all of the research we've done over the years, I have not been able to find a single charter school in the United States of America. Not a single one that isn't fully and totally aligned with the Common Core. The way that you know if your school, your charter or private or public is aligned with the Common Core is simply by the testing. So for parents out there, if you want to know your school's aligned, what you have to do is figure out if they're taking the federally aligned Common Core test. You'll see the branding all over the test, and you'll see the Common Core insignia, the trademark logo all over as well.

If your school is administering those exams, those tests, they are aligned with the Common Core, and I have yet to find a single charter. So Republicans now are putting forth a false solution. They're coming out -- Donald Trump, Betsy Devos, some of our favorite conservative Republicans. I don't know if they quite understand the nuance of this. But they're pitching to conservatives the idea of school choice vouchers and charters as a solution when that is not the case. In every piece of legislation and every state, including Texas which voted it down just recently because of this. Every voucher program, every choice program requires that the user of that voucher or that choice education institution must be aligned with the federal standards, those standards are Common Core. So not only is it in our public schools, it's in our charters. And the Republicans are fixing to get it everywhere else.

MIKE: Shannon, you bring up a real scary reality that this thing has -- as I said, it has more tentacles than deep roots. But I want to ask you how we fight it. But I also -- I also want to ask what parents can do when they realize that their kids in a Common Core program, even if they put them in a charter school. And what does a parent say to an administrator, a school superintendent who says to them "Hey, what's wrong with having standards? These are standards that apply to all the kids around the country. What's your big problem with common core?" Because I think we need to arm parents with information. If they're willing to go into battle against Common Core, we need to give them -- we need to give them the ammunition. So what are the one or two things you as a parent can say when you're up there questioning these folks on Common Core?

SHANNON: Well, first of all, the issue isn't standards, and that's one of the red herrings that the education planners on the right and the left will use to distract people because no one wants their kid to be a snowflake; right?

MIKE: Right.

SHANNON: Every parent wants their kids to have high standards. Every parent wants a school to have high standards. That's obvious. The question isn't the standards, it's the curriculum. And what the standards do because of the testing and the evaluation is drive the curriculum. So what you have in a sense, you know, the next generation science standards are essentially global warming and climate change sustainability curriculum. You have politics in the schools through the curriculum that must be put in place in order for the kids to achieve on the test that are supposed to judge the standards. So that's a red herring, it's a false choice, it has nothing to do with standards. It has everything to do with the curriculum. For example, the social studies curriculum, many of them that are Common Core aligned are teaching children to be global citizens and are shaping the attitude behaviors and beliefs; right? So they're indoctrinating children into globalism and socialism and doing it in a guide of standards and curriculum. That's number one. What parents can do, every parent that is listening to my voice today if you're in a charter, a private, a public. Today you can make the commitment to refuse to allow your child to take the common core exams. The assessments and the tests, any of those exams, that is how the Federal Government and the state government get your school district and your teachers to implement those false standards. If parents across this nation refuse to allow their children to be guinea pigs to be tested by the Federal Government and education bureaucrats, Common Core will be gone tomorrow. That's as easy as it is. You have to take away the testing. And then we have work that you need to do on our federal officials, senators, I'm telling you, Mike Opelka, we don't have a single friend in the senate. Not one friend in the senate or the House of Representatives that understands the nuance and the tentacles of Common Core. They are putting forth what they think are solutions, which are the school choice and voucher. Those are false solutions. What was once a great idea has been hijacked by progressives and going to entrench the Federal Government. Here's the other dirty little secret. There's a reason that the union Randy Devos are so buddy-buddy. All over the United States of America they're going on speaking tours. That's because I believe they move to close down public schools and turn them into charter schools. What you're going to see happen is those charters are going to begin to unionize. It's going to happen very fast, and we're going to have the exact same problem we had with the public schools except one difference. Charter schools do not have a board of education. A democratically-elected board of education. They have a board of supervisors that appoints a parent as a liaison. So what you're going to have is charter schools all over the country that are directly tethered to the Federal Government. They are not controlled locally in any way, shape, or form, and we will have even less of a voice than we do now with our current public education system. That's how important this is, this charter and choice battle. This is why in Texas, that bill was killed just a couple months ago, Mike. It was not by liberals. It was not by Democrats in Texas. It was by homeschool moms and dads and grandparents who saw the false choice, the false charter, the false voucher plan for what it truly was.

MIKE: Well, Shannon, I'm glad you brought up Texas because Texas was the first thing that caught my eye with their CSCOPE program, which only changed its name, and now we're seeing Common Core is really just changing its name, but it's also sliding into or has slid into the charter school system and completely infected that system. I could dive into this and tear this apart all day long, and I'm not a guy with kids. I'm just a guy who cares about the country. What Shannon has pointed out here is that common core is not just about the testing, it's about what they're testing the kids for and knowledge. And they have preloaded this agenda, this global citizen agenda, this global climate change agenda, this everybody's got to be fair agenda. It's the snowflake agenda that's been preloaded into the system that they will test them to see if they know this. Shannon, I've got just about a minute left. In that minute, you used to have a site that you told me about where people could go to find out the testing in their area and where parents can find out how to opt out for their kids on these kinds of tests. Where do they go?

SHANNON: Sure, so parents go to one of my favorite resources. One of the best is truth in American education.com. That gives you all the updates on common core. Also Jane robins of American principles project, she has a fantastic voice on this. Neil from the Cato institute is wonderful. And duke. So if you Google any one of those, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Facebook. You can get up to date on what is happening with Common Core. But for every parent in America, you can refuse to take these Common Core exams. We just finished them up this year. But let me tell you, next year, you're going to have to take them again. They're probably going to change the name of Common Core. Look out for next generation standards or something like that. They're going to completely rebrand the Common Core to try to hide what they're doing. That's going to happen next year. But I can assure you all, the curriculum, the standards, the evaluations, the testing is all exactly the same.

MIKE: Thank you, my friend. Her name is Shannon Joy. You can follow her on Twitter @Shannonjoyradio. She knows this stuff inside out, and it's vital information. Have a great rest of your day. Thanks for being here.

SHANNON: Thanks, Mike.

Christmas is the gift that keeps on giving for radical leftists. This charade goes on year after year, where decent folks across America try to enjoy and celebrate Christmas, and a few militant progressives disapprove. It's exhausting. We get it, you don't like Christmas. And that's totally fine. But entire communities of people who do like to celebrate Christmas are tired of their celebration being held hostage by an extreme minority—sometimes just one person—getting offended.

This year, a self-described “Unintentional Grinch who stole Christmas" is in the lead to win Scrooge of the Year. The principal at Manchester Elementary in Omaha, Nebraska sent her teachers a memo this week outlining all the Christmas-related items and activities that will not be allowed in their classrooms.

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The banned list includes:

  • Santa
  • Christmas trees
  • Elf on the Shelf
  • Singing Christmas carols
  • Playing Christmas music
  • Making an ornament as a gift
  • Any red and green items
  • Reindeer
  • And, of course, candy canes. Not because the sugar will make the children hyper, but because, as the principal explains, the candy cane is shaped like a “J" for Jesus.

She writes, “the red is for the blood of Christ, and the white is a symbol of his resurrection." In case you try to cheat, different-colored candy canes are not allowed either.

Why is this principal going out of her way to delete any trace of Christmas in her school? She explains:

“I come from a place that Christmas and the like are not allowed in schools…"

Her list, “aligns with my interpretation of our expectations as a public school who seeks to be inclusive and culturally sensitive to all of our students."

What about being culturally sensitive toward students who do celebrate Christmas?

Kids will survive if they're accidentally exposed to a Santa.

The irony here, for this principal and others who hate Christmas and the Christianity that undergirds it, is that Christmas has long existed on two parallel tracks. You've got the Christian celebration of the birth of Christ on one, and you've got the Santa Claus, secular mythology on the other. That means there is more than enough about the Christmas season that has nothing to do with Jesus if that's your thing.

You don't need a totalitarian list of forbidden things to protect the children from a 2,000-year-old holiday. Kids will survive if they're accidentally exposed to a Santa, or a Christmas carol, or—heaven forbid—a manger scene.

Avenatti bails on 2020 presidential run, leaving Biden as 'most qualified' — really?

Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Politicon

Well, that de-escalated quickly. Michael Avenatti, lawyer of Stormy Daniels, announced he will not run for president in 2020 after all. That takes the number of Democrats planning to challenge Trump down to around 724.

In a statement, Avenatti said he would still run, but he decided not to out of respect for his family's “concerns." He didn't list their concerns, but said:

“We will not prevail in 2020 without a fighter. I remain hopeful the party finds one."

Speaking of — if you've been wondering who's the most qualified person in America to be president, wonder no more. It's former vice president Joe Biden.

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How do we know? Because ol' Joe told us so, at a book tour stop in Montana. The 76-year-old says he'll make a decision about a 2020 bid within the next two months, which is campaign-speak for “I'm definitely running, so get out your checkbooks."

Biden admitted:

“I am a gaffe machine, but my God what a wonderful thing compared to a guy who can't tell the truth."

Yeah, about that… the first time Biden ran for president, in 1987, he was actually pulling ahead of the Democratic pack until his campaign got snagged on plagiarism. He got caught lifting entire sections of a speech by Neil Kinnock, a British Labor Party candidate who ran for Prime Minister and lost to Margaret Thatcher. It wasn't just the fact that Biden copied exact sections of Kinnock's speech, he also stole biographical facts from Kinnock's life and tried to pass them off as his own — like saying his ancestors were coal miners.

The most qualified person in the country to be president? Maybe in the mind of Joe Biden.

Perhaps in the pre-Internet era, Biden thought he could get away with it. But he didn't. An adviser for Michael Dukakis' campaign saw a tape of Kinnock's speech and put together a side-by-side comparison video of Biden's plagiarizing, then sent the tape to the New York Times. As reporters dug further into the story, they found that Biden had also lifted large portions of speeches by Robert Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey.

Those revelations led Biden to admit he got an “F" for a course in law school after he plagiarized five pages for a term paper. Biden was caught in more lies about his academic credentials and enough embarrassments mounted that he finally withdrew from the race.

The most qualified person in the country to be president? Maybe in the mind of Joe Biden.

Saturday Night Live writer Nimesh Patel, an Emmy-nominated comedian, is the latest victim in campus culture's wacky game. Patel is the first Indian-American writer for SNL, so by the usual standards of identity politics, he should be safe. Not the case. All of the rules went out the window when he was performing a stand-up comedy set for an event called "cultureSHOCK: Reclaim" at Columbia University hosted by the Asian American Alliance.

He joked that being gay cannot be a choice because “no one looks in the mirror and thinks, 'this black thing is too easy, let me just add another thing to it.'"

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For one, that's less of a joke and more of a statement. It's exactly the kind of safe, pro-LGBT statement that you would think campus feminists and trans activists would squeal with glee to hear.

According to Columbia's school paper, student organizers, offended by Patel's joke, rushed the stage 30 minutes into the set and told Patel that he needed to finish his set and say a few closing remarks.

Patel argued that his jokes were not offensive, and that they were actually much-needed insights into the real world. He also made it clear that he stands in solidarity with the Asian American Alliance.

They still cut his microphone off and booted him off stage.

Patel hasn't commented on the uproar, but here are a few comments from people who were in the audience:

The Columbia Spectator quoted three students who were in the audience. One of them said:

“The message they were trying to send with the event was opposite to the jokes he was making, and using people's ethnicity as the crux of his jokes could be funny but still offensive... He definitely wasn't the most crass comedian I've ever heard but for the event it was inappropriate."

Another student said:

“I really dislike when people who are older say that our generation needs to be exposed to the real world. Obviously the world is not a safe space but just accepting that it's not and continuing to perpetuate the un-safeness of it… is saying that it can't be changed," said Jao. “When older generations say you need to stop being so sensitive, it's like undermining what our generation is trying to do in accepting others and making it safer."

The radical version of leftism that has overtaken college campuses... will eat their own without thinking twice.

The third student wasn't bothered by the jokes:

“While what some of the things that he said might have been a bit provoking to some of the audience, as someone who watches comedy a lot, none of them were jokes that I hadn't heard before and none of them were jokes that elicited such a response in my experience."

The third student is a little ray of hope in all of this, but I'm afraid that people like her are increasingly outnumbered and unwilling to speak up.

The jokes were clearly not racist or homophobic. If anything, they seem to have been designed to pander to overly sensitive campus activists who all too often cry “racist" and “homophobic" and all their other insults.

It just goes to show that the left, particularly the radical version of leftism that has overtaken college campuses, will stop at nothing to push its postmodern narrative. They'll spare nobody. And they will eat their own without thinking twice.

Forbes recently described student loan debt as the $1.5 trillion crisis, adding that "Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category - behind only mortgage debt - and higher than both credit cards and auto loans," which is affecting 44 million borrowers in the U.S.

There's also the cultural effect that college is having, the indoctrination that young people are being subjected to. More and more powerful people are recognizing that college as an institution is a problem.

Last Friday, Peter Thiel gave a keynote speech at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's Collegiate Network editors' conference. He told a roomful of 100 students:

Universities today are as corrupt as the Catholic Church of 500 years ago. At some point, if it's 100 to zero, you start to suspect you're in North Korea. Does the unanimity mean you've gotten to the truth, or does it mean you're in a totalitarian state. We have this illusion that all sorts of important decisions have been decided.

He added:

We are not on the losing side of history. The other side is on the losing side. The reformation is going to happen, and it won't come from within, but from the outside.

Thiel has worked actively to bring about the change that he's talking about here. The lawsuit he led against Gawker helped topple their empire of filth and lowest-level journalism. He has also created The Thiel Fellowship, which "gives $100,000 to young people who want to build new things instead of sitting in a classroom. The idea that we are on the losing side is a form of psychological warfare."

We're not on the losing side. Not in the slightest.

And he's right. We're not on the losing side. Not in the slightest. We're on the up-and-up. Things are only going to get better from here.