Common Core’s Rotten Core

Despite recent defense rallies by Bill Gates, wars are raging against the embattled Common Core State Standard Initiative, now implemented in 44 states and the District of Columbia. Though criticisms can be leveled at the lack of evidence that the Common Core will lead onward into a brave new world of education, the overarching problem of the initiative is that its strategy is not educational. Standardized, field-leveling information designed for mass consumption with a strict utilitarian agenda is nothing more than a training event, a programming session. Schools are not factories. Education is not indoctrination; it is formation. True education considers and incorporates the role of love in learning and the art of teaching by desire. Extrapolation and examination of real-world facts do not describe a lover’s quest for beauty—and education that fails to capture the heart, fails to educate.

Controversies over education, like any controversy, are the bitter fruits of philosophical divisions that ultimately come down to a deeper division over religion. The war over the Common Core is a war over pedagogical ideas and existential ideas. Though the language of the Common Core may sound reasonable, and even laudable, there is a fundamental error in its approach. No one can deny that it is good to drive students to dig deeper, to question, to seek evidence, and interact with the subject matter. The Common Core, however, strives for these objectives in the name of information-retention, global competitiveness, and analytical thinking geared towards securing a twenty-first century career.  There is more to living than making a living.

In a world of relativism where change is the norm, there is a strong temptation to succumb to the simple, survival principles of everyday life and spurn the search for higher truths, let alone the highest truths. This is not the description of an educated person, but rather of one of T. S. Eliot’s hollow men. As Henry Adams said, “Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts.” Human beings were not meant to lead ignorant lives; neither should the facts they learn be lifeless. Facts can and should be enlivened and made lovable by poetry, music, and the imaginative arts—by experience, delight, and wonder. So long as human beings have hearts, those hearts must be taken into account and addressed in the work of education. Any educational model, therefore, should be characterized by a dynamic love: a love and energy for all things good, true, and beautiful. Such love, if it is true love, is focused entirely on the desire for God. And it is by this desire that education—real education—is possible.

Benedictine monk and theologian, Jean Leclercq, dubbed Pope St. Gregory the Great, patron saint of teachers, the “Doctor of Desire.” This unusual title for a saint and a pope refers to St. Gregory’s philosophy that asceticism was a preparation for the desire for God: a training, or cultivation, of desire. Through prayerful meditation on Sacred Scripture and the good things of heaven and earth, desire for God is sown in the heart by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspires the highest thoughts, brings understanding, and enkindles and guides the deepest and most inward longings of the human heart. At the touch of the Holy Spirit, the heart leaps up in yearning for God. St. Gregory speaks of this experience as a conversation between God and man. A colloquy that begins with God’s Word inflaming the desire of the heart; a gentle word that one must wait for and listen for.

There is a passage in the Book of Job that echoes Elijah’s famous experience where he searches for the Lord in a hurricane, in an earthquake, and in a fire, but only finds him in a gentle breeze.  Job reads, “There stood one whose countenance I knew not, an image before my eyes, and I heard the voice, as it were, of a gentle wind” (Job 4:16). In this, this murmur, this hidden word, Gregory hears the opening of a lovers’ dialogue. “This inspiration touches the human mind,” he writes, “and by touching lifts it up and represses temporal thoughts, inflaming it with eternal desires … so that to hear the hidden word is to conceive the speech of the Holy Spirit in the heart.”

The cultivation of desire, or the cultivation of the virtues of the heart, that Gregory speaks of is the very essence of education. Generally speaking, people will only do well if they have a will—a wanting, a desire. Consequently, education that does not engage the heart collapses. True education is an erotic endeavor (from the Greek eros, “desire”)—an attempt to awaken desire and the longing for ultimate consummation.  Since Wisdom is a woman, as she is described in the Book of Proverbs, desire must not only play a part, it must lead the way in guiding youth to their proper fulfillment: love. In the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.”

The teacher who teaches rhetorically or persuasively (per suavis, “through sweetness”) does not begin by awakening a student’s intellect, but rather his desire. Such a teacher introduces a reverence for the object of consideration. Lovers do not strive for cold, scientific control, but for a relationship with the thing itself, alive and strong and mysterious. Such a teacher shares the inexhaustible Source of learning that he has already found, for it is only Christ—He Who dwells in the hearts of men—Who can be truly said to teach. The mode of such an education, originating from the heart, charms students. Lady Wisdom woos. Education is the child of desire, not data. This is where the Common Core fails and will always fail. The appeal to the mind alone teaches students to seek mastery over the truth. To make truth your slave, however, is the very opposite of the truth making you free. The appeal to desire, on the other hand, assumes an ascendency beyond pragmatism, and allows truth to coax and convert knowers rather than surrender itself to servitude.

Real education begins with desire—the desire for goodness, truth, and beauty; and it ends with desire—the desire for God. To a child or even a young adult, the sensible joys are more accessible, more immediate. But the delights sought in such joys lead on to Joy Himself. This is the proper order of education. If a student is not given the opportunity to desire anything good, how will he ever desire the Good? If a young person is not taught how to love beauty, how can he ever be expected to love the Beautiful. If he is never introduced to wisdom, how can he ever become a philosopher, that is, a lover of wisdom? It is in these preliminary desires and loves that One hides Whose countenance is not yet fully known. An image before the eyes. A voice waiting to be heard, a gentle wind—the voice of the Lover of mankind calling to His children through the things of this world to the desire for Him. This, and only this, is the end of education—an end the Common Core neglects because it neglects the core common to every human being: the heart.

One of the Common Core objectives is to prepare students to compete in a global economy. There is no lack of global competition these days. Tensions mount with Russia. The threat of Islam is ever looming. Education is the only way to prepare children to face the world we live in—but not an “education” that produces cogs. What the world needs more than anything are well-formed people—people with hearts, who have learned to love things lovable and despise things despicable. This is the global impact that education should aim for. Much hangs in the balance. In fact, man hangs in the balance. As Catholic educator Dr. John Senior wrote in his book, The Restoration of Christian Culture:

When a nation takes nothing but material success as its measure of value, it is led by the mean mediocrity which has us in its grip, stifling all initiative as we await the more effective aggression of foreign powers motivated by deeper loves and hates, who are willing to sacrifice their comforts and even their lives for what they believe.

Education by desire is the remedy for it leads to love and yields to love. In the immortal words of Virgil, “Love conquers all; let us, too, yield to love,” and only real education can teach the heart—our common core—to love.

Sean Fitzpatrick


Sean Fitzpatrick is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College and the Headmaster of Gregory the Great Academy. He lives in Scranton, PA with his wife and family of four.

  • BillinJax

    “Common Core, however, strives for these objectives in the
    name of information-retention, global competitiveness, and analytical thinking
    geared towards securing a twenty-first century career.”
    “Real education begins with desire—the desire for goodness,
    truth, and beauty; and it ends with desire—the desire for God.”

    When we put these two quotes from the article side by side we
    see the wisdom of the author. Faith must come first and knowledge which
    excludes faith can and does direct our desires to a love of material possessions
    and a self seeking intellect to support it.

    • Thomas

      Credo ut intelligam.

  • Vinnie

    The “whole person” is being neglected.

  • Susan

    What an excellent article. Thank you!

    • BillinJax

      The very best I have seen, and there are many, on this controversy.

  • jacobhalo

    I’m glad I was educated in the 50’s and early 60’s with a Catholic education. Today’s educational system has gone haywire.

    • Guest

      I am also the product of a Catholic grade school education in the late 60s. I learned my multiplication tables by memorization and didn’t find much poetry in diagraming sentences. I’m not saying common core is a net good but having put 2 children through the public school system I feel there is way too much “touchy feelly” and not enough analyzing of facts. You have to walk before you can run and in the case of public education today, you have to crawl before you can walk.

      • TheAbaum

        “I learned my multiplication tables by memorization and didn’t find much poetry in diagraming sentences.”

        Same for me. Multiplication tables were the favorite punishment for the nuns at my grade school. I received a lot of practice.

        One weekend I misunderstood the assignment (thought I was supposed to go up to 24, rather than twelve) creating four times the work, plus a lot of manual calculation-but I still remember 24 X 24 = 576.

        • Thomas

          “I received a lot of practice.” LOL

          When I encounter feisty students, I think, “We have some promise here.” The rest requires subtlety.

          • TheAbaum

            My first grade teacher once met my defiance with a threat to call my parents, I told her go ahead, I’ll cut the line. She was not amused.

      • Tony

        Let’s be clear about a few things.
        Common Corpse is the worst of all possible worlds. There are things you want children to learn, period. Common Corpse works AGAINST that, in English and in the humanities, because the emphasis is upon “skills,” badly defined, and not upon knowledge. Common Corpse does not address, for example, the foolish failure of our schools to teach grammar. (One of my Honors students told me today that in twelve years of school she learned NO grammar, and did not know anything about subjects, verbs, participles, and so on.) Common Corpse does not address the failure of our schools to teach the history of the west, of England, and of the United States. Common Corpse actually works AGAINST these things; particularly against teaching children to have anything by heart, or teaching them how to do arithmetical operations swiftly and correctly, in their heads or on paper.
        So, even if you are a utilitarian, Common Corpse is pretty bad. Then it does all the things that Ryan here says it does, to the heart and the soul. It is what I call Gradgrind, Without the Facts.

        • STF

          And Gradgrind is nothing without Facts; “a man of realities” no longer. No, sir!

  • John Albertson

    The Archdiocese of New York has imposed Common Core on all its schools without consulting pastors or parents. No discussion has been allowed. The schools have been withering on the vine and this will increase their demise. Parents with the means to do so, increasingly are home schooling or forming independent Catholic schools. The parish schools can only survive a few more years propped up with money taken from the sale of church property. A sad state of affairs, but emblematic of the decay of a once great archdiocese, along with many others.

    • STF

      Thanks for everything, Obamacore.

  • Stephanie

    Catholic schools have always done well because of their high standards, but if Common Core is adopted then the schools will start sinking.

    Our country is actually doing really well and this won’t help us. Yes, our overall numbers aren’t as high but we test ALL our students and the other countries only test the ones that are college bound (their best students). If we did the same thing and only tested the kids in our honors/AP/IB programs we would be #1 in science and reading and #5 in math.

    The thing about America is that people come from all different backgrounds and the highest ranked countries have a population that is pretty much the same. In America we have all levels of socioeconomic classes as well as many students who don’t speak English at home. We need to separate out the kids who have special needs or who are ESL to give them the attention they need to succeed because they cannot keep up in a regular classroom and putting them in a regular class “Common Core” will bring everyone else down (wait for them to learn English) and slow their progress (they’d learn it faster with a small group or a private tutor).

    Common Core also doesn’t account for the diversity of American landscape and wildlife (one of questions was about a moccasin and the correct answer was a shoe worn by Native Americans, but for a kid in Florida a moccasin is a snake) or the art of teaching. Teachers won’t have the freedom to teach the things they’re passionate about or to go on tangents to make learning more interesting.

    The Common Core math standards will bring us way down. Only 1 point out of 3 given for the correct answer and the rest is about drawing a picture?! I think students need to be broken into small groups for math. A lot of kids struggle and need to be given help to succeed, which many times today isn’t possible with all the single-parent households (dad is gone, mom works all day and by the time she gets home it’s time for dinner and bed and she doesn’t have time to help with a lot of homework or go over wrong answers on tests or worksheets). The kids who are good at math shouldn’t be held back. There is no reason why high school kids shouldn’t be doing college level math if they’re ready. But they can’t get ready if they’re spending their final elementary years doing simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems instead of algebra and geometry.

    • MJ anderson

      Stephanie, these are crucial points that you make– American college bound students ARE performing a t the top of the world’s 18 year olds. The typical comparison of US students to those of Finland or Japan, where only college bound students are tested, is a deliberate attempt to mislead American parents and teachers so that, in fear if being substandard to the globalized world, they will rush into CCSS without protest.

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  • Anders13

    To have a shackle like common core put forward to the public so openly probably means that the end game is at hand. Welcome to the U.S.S.A.

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  • Roger Monk

    “Parents with the means to do so, increasingly are home schooling or forming independent Catholic schools.”
    by design, all education including church and homeschool will be enslaved by Common Core, Those opting out now by choosing alternative schooling are only solving an immediate short term need. Eventually Common Core will entangle all and no safe haven will be found. It must be rejected and defeated now even while it grows stronger daily. Common Core is not about education it is about control and political dominance.
    Communist Core is a more accurate name.

  • Pulfnick

    Very disappointing article, failing to live up to its title. How about somebody posting an article actually explaining what is wrong with Common Core, like acceptance of 3 x 4 = 11, recommended reading of a novel about a sexual pervert criminal written to sympathize with the criminal, etc? We need input from somebody who actually understands Common Core to list specifically what is wrong with it.

    • Crisiseditor

      Type “Common Core” into the Crisis search engine and you will get plenty of criticism. Mr. Fitzpatrick was criticizing the central philosophical weakness of Common Core and offering a superior alternative. Don’t criticism him for failing to do what he never intended. Common Core is so problematic in so many ways, you can’t cover everything in one short article.

  • akoby

    Besides the obvious flaws mentioned in the article, there is also the “elitist” opinion that only Common Core will get students ready to compete for 21st century jobs. And who is defining what these jobs will be? Bill Gates and his ilk? Not everyone is going to be a cog in the computer world. We will still need farmers, ranchers, skilled craftsmen, chefs, doctors, lawyers, etc. Common Core is not going to produce the future generations of these. So what is unwritten here? Is it that some skills are better left to 3rd world countries? Or that some skills, such as those in the service industries, are better left to those who will be deemed “uneducated” according to Common Core assessments?
    We hear a lot about how the Chinese are “eating our lunch” when it comes to technology and business. But is this because our students are inferior? I think not. Especially not those students who are fortunate enough to have a private school or parochial school education. Let’s put the blame for this where it lies. It is on our current generation of adults who would agree to GIVE away their technology and patent rights to a communist nation that demands them in exchange for the privilege of letting their workers produce what we can and should make for ourselves. It is the result of businesses trying to escape the burdensome overregulation of our industries and the excessive taxation of said businesses. It is the result of corrupt politicians willing to sell off, for a few dollars in their pockets, American interests to foreigners who would seek to destroy us and our way of life. But instead of dealing with the harsh realities of what this generation of adults has done, we blame our woes on the next generation and devise a newly regurgitated version of the 1960’s progressive education agenda that did not work then and won’t work now.
    But for a few unselfish parents willing to fight Common Core, or willing to put in the time and effort into home schooling their children, the rest of the parents seem willing to hand over their children’s future to a stranger as long as it doesn’t interfere with their lives.

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  • Fact Manipulation Rampant In Common Core History, Science.

    What About Common Core Science?

    The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSSP), were adopted on April 9, 2013. It took three years for national science education groups to develop Common Core Science Standards. Because U.S. students don’t rank at the top in science, the creators of the Next Generation Science Standards looked to Singapore, South Korea, and Finland for help in devising their standards. States having officially adopted NSS (last update April 9, 2014) are: Rhode Island, Kentucky, Kansas, Maryland, Vermont, California, Delaware, Washington, District of Columbia, Nevada, Oregon and Illinois.

    The decision to call Common Core Science standards the “Next Generation Science Standards” may be due to the negativity surrounding Common Core, and thus a way to avoid the toxic name. The public is beginning to realize what federalized standards actually mean to the future of math and English K-12 education in America. State committees were allowed some input into formulating the standards, but in the end standards were set by national science education groups.

    The science standards, like those for math and English, are not based on empirical evidence of efficacy, nor are they tested in any environment. They are fresh out of the box and will be field-tested statewide in any state that signs on. No longer is science treated as a list of facts and ideas students are expected to memorize. Instead, fewer ideas will be covered using more approaches, so students have a deeper understanding of the subjects covered.

    Proponents of evolution and manmade climate change are ecstatic about the Common Core Science Standards. Children must embrace the notion that CO2 emissions from gas, coal and oil cause global warming. It is not rocket science to figure out whyWyoming has become the first state to block the new set of national science standards. It’s economy depends on oil. As Steve Goreham explains in his book, The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism, scientific evidence indicates that warming and cooling trends are naturally occurring as an earth cycle. Although scientists disagree about the extent to which man’s activities are a cause of climate change, the Next Generation of Science Standards teach unconditionally that human activity is responsible for detrimental climate change and emphasize that action must be taken before it is too late to “save the planet.” Most parents do not want schools to use fear tactics in the classroom. However, the government has invested heavily into their man-made global warming agenda, and its apologists are not adverse to propagandizing young minds with their controversial material.

    Worth reading is the new Common Core Educational Standards on Climate Change, which dovetails with those of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). A recent report by the IPCC on March 31 paints a grim picture on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. Children will be held captive to a central learning theme that mankind should be reducing its use of fossil fuels, as set forth in the Essential Principles of Climate Science. It is highly doubtful that students will be taught to be cautious of the government’s conclusion on Anthropogenic Global Warming (humans as the main cause of global warming), nor will they be taught of the known benefits of CO2 in the atmosphere. “What if” scenarios will he used to convince children that the dogma being taught is scientific fact and represents settled science.

    There is no scientific consensus about climate change, as was documented by the April 9th release by The Heartland Institute of”Climate Change Reconsidered II,” This study from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) draws its conclusions from thousands of peer-reviewed papers and finds global warming to be an “entirely manageable, if not beneficial, change in the climate.” While NIPCC seeks to objectively analyze and interpret data and facts without conforming to any specific agenda, it stands in direct contrast to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which is government-sponsored, politically motivated, and predisposed to believing that climate change is a problem in need of a U.N. solution.

    Elections Have Consequences

    A PhD from Bulgaria, warns this nation of things to come if there is a full application of the Common Core standards. The end result will be “fully socialized communistic education, entirely controlled by the government.”

    School districts nationwide have loaded up students with billions of dollars’ worth of tablets, laptops, iPods and more on the theory expressed by Obama last year, that preparing American kids to compete with students around the globe will require interactive, individualized learning experiences driven by new technology. In Finland there is roughly one computer per five Finnish students in schools. In the US. that ratio is almost one to one. Yet in the latest PISA rankings, 18 education systems — including Finland’s — outperformed the United States in reading, math and science.

    We should all be very concerned about our country when we consider the alarming changes and potential changes Common Core is having and will have on our children. School children are clearly being indoctrinated with a liberal curriculum, while at the same time parental control is being systematically reduced. Local control is diminishing at the same alarming rate that the federal government is increasing. I shudder to think what this nation will be as our children are indoctrinated with the junk science of the Next Generation Science Standards; strange and ambiguous ways of doing math; English/ Language Arts absent the classics; and a twisted, convoluted history of this nation, all defined by liberals, such as David Coleman, with links reaching back to the United Nations Agenda 21 of 1992 and before.

    If you are convinced Common Core is one more liberal program designed by the current administration for the purpose of drawing our nation closer to Socialism, which is a step away from Communism, then you must be wanting to know what can be done about it. We all must keep ourselves informed, while we get to work undoing the liberal changes initiated by liberal educators, bureaucrats, and politicians. Liberals have devised highly questionable and controversial programs such as Common Core, Obamacare, Climate Change, and others. Constitutionalists claim the enacting of Common Core violated our laws and Constitution. Our children deserve better; our country must do better. Elections have consequences. Our representatives have not been efficient or effective in keeping the above exceedingly faulty programs from being enacted, so why vote for them or their ilk in the future? Elections are designed to vote out those who are not paying attention to us or the health of our country. Those who love America must seek out excellent candidates, support them, encourage others to get involved, tell friends what you know, join Conservative groups, and pray! Together, we can change the direction of our Country, and not be the generation that let America’s greatness slip away. With that in mind, please consider contacting your elected officials and ask them to “Cut Common Core” out of our schools. It is indeed ROTTEN TO THE CORE!

  • Common Core Controversy: Is U.S. Constitution a ‘Living Document’? Progressives believe the Constitution is a living, breathing document. Common Core Was Written Bye Progressives? to push there Progressives agenda?

    A classroom resource provided by a group founded by three lead writers of the Common Core State Standards teaches 8th graders as fact that the U.S. Constitution is a “living document” and that the nation’s founders only considered white males with property as persons under the law.

    But leading constitutional scholars challenge both assertions.

    Student Achievement Partners’ sample lesson for Linda R. Monk’s Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution is listed as a suggested reading for 8th graders in the official Common Core Standards.

    It instructs teachers to have students “investigate an area of debate where the interpretation of an Amendment or amending the Constitution is central to the argument and then debate it in class” in order to “reinforce the concept that the U.S. Constitution is a living document.”

    Although this recommended lesson plan assumes as an objective fact that the Constitution is a “living document”, many legal scholars – including Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court’s longest-serving justice – think otherwise. They argue that the Constitution should be interpreted as it was originally written, according to the founders’ intentions.

    At a constitutional symposium hosted by the State Bar of Georgia in March, Scalia defended this originalist interpretation in a speech titled “Interpreting the Constitution: A View from the High Court.”

    “The Constitution is not a living organism,” he stated. “It’s a legal document, and it says what it says and doesn’t say what

    Roger Pilon, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies, told that it is erroneous for schools to solely categorize the Constitution as a “living document.”

    “The notion of a ‘living document’ is freighted with political controversy. It’s an idea that is invoked by those, usually on the Left, who see the Constitution essentially as an empty vessel to be filled by transient majorities,” Pilon said.

    Pilon did state that there are some instances in which the Constitution could be rightly considered a living document, pointing out that the meaning of “cruel and unusual punishment” has changed over time.

    “But in far more cases the terms are fairly fixed, even if the judicial interpretations and applications of them may be either correct or mistaken,” Pilon said. “‘Separate but equal’ was always wrong, for example, even if the Court said otherwise in 1896, a decision it corrected in 1954. That correction didn’t make the Constitution a ‘living document.’ It was simply the righting of an erroneous interpretation.”

    Brittany Corona, a researcher in domestic policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, told that “there are legal constitutional precedents that will arise to clarify constitutional principles. That’s a very different thing than to say the nature of the document itself is evolving.”

    “For American students to be surrounded by rights language and introduced to this concept of a living, evolving document is very dangerous because there’s not a sense of permanency, as far as the foundations upon which our government was created,” she said.

    “This is an open door to start pushing back on other things that should be understood with some permanency, such as your right to protect your own life, per the Second Amendment of the Constitution.”

    “This is a scary thing,” Corona added. “When you’re looking at the context of the content matter of the Common Core national standards… you’re looking at a complete distortion of civic education as we know it in America.”

    “If you don’t have an enlightened citizenry, those who will jealously defend these natural rights that are alike to all men equally, and the Founders understood this, then you’re not going to have a self-governing republic. And the fact that American students per Common Core are going to have a convoluted understanding of the very foundations that make self-government possible, that’s terrifying for the future of America.”

    Barack Obama stated in his book, “The Audacity of Hope,” (pages 53-54)

    I appreciate the temptation on the part of Justice Scalia and others to assume our democracy should be treated as fixed and unwavering; the fundamentalist faith that if the original understanding of the Constitution is followed without question or deviation, and if we remain true to the rules that the Founders set forth, as they intended, then we will be rewarded and all good will flow. &…

    Ultimately, though, I have to side with Justice Breyer’s view of the Constitution-that it is not a static but rather a living document, and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.

  • Common Core’s Al Gore Climate Indoctrination James H. Rust is a retired professor of nuclear engineering discusses Common Core junk science.

    Our science programs should stimulate students to have an inquiring mind–the very opposite of the science-is-settled, “consensus science” mindset. Obama’s Common Core is a Trojan Horse mixing propaganda with science for our youth…. [Such] one-size-fits-all learning smacks of collectivism in place of individual initiative.”

    At a Chicago fundraiser May 29, 2013, President Obama chillingly stated, “I don’t have much patience for people who deny climate change.” At his swearing-in ceremony May 21, 2013, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz declared he is “not interested in debating what is not debatable [in climate science].” These remarks echo the long-standing assertion of climate alarmists that the “science is settled” in regard to the deleterious effects of fossil-fuel burning on global climate. The oxymoronic ”consensus science” is another political sound bite in this genre.

    Would these statements come from true scientists interested in pursuing the truth about whether carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuel is a global threat? These remarks make very clear the policies of the United States government with regard to education or research on climate science. If proposed education material or research does not support abandoning fossil fuels, go somewhere else for financial support and airing your views. Close the door on the way out.

    The shared narrative is that man, not nature, has been the main driver of climate change for most of the last century–and that this cannot be good, only bad. Support for this thesis is a series of Assessment Reports by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) released since 1990.

    NIPCC vs. IPCC

    To counteract omissions, half-truths, and false statements in these reports, the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) was formed in 2003. Since 2009, the NIPCC has released six reports that give authoritative, easily-read information about the vast amount of experimental data showing negligible influence of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels on climate, financial losses from mitigation, and proper role of adapting to climate change.

    The NIPCC is supported by three non-profit organizations—Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, Science and Environmental Policy Project, and the Heartland Institute.

    Common Core Propaganda

    The science portion of Common Core–called “A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas“–is written from material provided by The National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The report is a revision of a previous report by the NAS published in 2011. I examined parts of the 2011 report and conclude that it is propaganda for one viewpoint, the hypothesis that carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is causing catastrophic global warming. The NAS has taken this position for many years.

    The Common Core Science portion is 400 pages. I examined PART II: Dimension 7 dealing with Earth and Space Sciences from pages 169 to 201. The coverage is cursory due to the shortness of material. Part ESS3.D: Global Climate Change covers global warming from pages 196-199. The coverage mentions that computer models are used for predicting future climate and weather conditions for the planet.

    The report claimed:

    However, it is clear not only that human activities play a major role in climate change but also that impacts of climate change—for example, increased frequency of severe storms due to ocean warming—have begun to influence human activities. The prospect of future impacts of climate change due to further increases in atmospheric carbon is prompting consideration of how to avoid or restrict such increases.

    There is insufficient coverage that computer models fail to replicate what happens in the future when data for comparisons are available. In my opinion climate models should not be included in K-12 education because our understanding of forces influencing climate is incomplete and because of the models’ failure to be validated. Material in the book does not make this clear.

    Four references are cited at the end of the discussion. One is the 2009 Report “Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Change” by the United States Global Change Research Project (USGCRP) which contains scary predictions for the future of the world because of global warming.

    One example is “C. The impacts of climate change may affect the security of nations. Reduced availability of water, food, and land can lead to competition and conflict among humans, potentially resulting in large groups of climate refugees.” The material says carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is causing global warming which is a highly controversial topic.

    No doubt numerous copies of the 2009 USGCRP Report will be sent to all schools to provide reference material showing fossil fuel use should be abandoned in order to save the planet. This report, and other U. S. government printed reports, will provide numerous reference materials to indoctrinate students to accept catastrophic climate change is occurring unless fossil fuel use is abandoned. This all confirms political bias on climate change shown by remarks of President Obama and Energy Secretary Moniz.

    The 32 pages of a 400-page report convinced me global warming science should not be used in education of students at the K-12 level. More material of this nature could be in the NAS Report. This is sufficient reason to abandon the science education portion of Common Core.

    The official website for the PUBLIC BROADCAST SERVICE provides discussions of the following features of Common Core: (1) Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science, (2) National Science Education Standards, (3) A Framework for K-12 Science Education, and (4) Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Properties.

    The threat of catastrophic global warming due to carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is again emphasized in areas outside the science portion of Common Core.

    UK Precedent against Propaganda

    The United Kingdom’s Global Warming Policy Foundation issued a report, Climate Control—Brainwashing In Schools. Statements in the Report’s Executive Summary are as follows:

    We find instances of eco-activism being given a free rein within schools and at the events schools encourage their pupils to attend. In every case of concern, the slant is on scares, on raising fears, followed by the promotion of detailed guidance on how pupils should live, as well as on what they should think.

    In some instances, we find encouragement to create ‘little political activists’ in schools by creating a burden of responsibility for action on their part to ‘save the planet’, not least by putting pressure on their parents.… Surveys show that many children are upset and frightened by what they are told is happening to the climate.”

    In the main body of the report is the statement, “The chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri has suggested that a focus on children is the top priority for bringing about societal change, and that by ‘sensitizing’ children to climate change, it will be possible to them to ‘shame adults into taking the right steps.’.

    Australia has a similar problem of climate science corrupting education in a paper titled “Schools places of indoctrination rather than learning”. The report cited, “The current Australian Curriculum is full of references to “sustainability”, which is a concept without any intelligible meaning in most of the contexts in which it is used, apart from in the very short-term.”

    Propaganda and Youth

    Another approach to the outcome of teaching climate science to young people is reported by Robert Bradley Jr. in his paper “Adults Reject Climate Catastrophe, Alarmists Bring In the Children (thoughts on Hansen’s latest).

    Bradley protested the rhetoric of climate alarmist’s labeling those who disagree with carbon-dioxide-caused global warming as “denier” implying they are in league with those who are “Holocaust deniers”. The Holocaust is a tragedy occurring during the reign of terror from Hitler’s National Socialism.

    National Socialism used the Hitler Youth from 1922 to 1945 to train young men to be obedient to their goals, enforce their rulings, and provide fanatical defense of the Fatherland. This use of propaganda and brainwashing to enlist support of the young can be seen as analogous to attempts to enlist young people in promoting climate change due to fossil fuel use is a threat to society.

    After a meeting with children at a Plant-for-the-Planet meeting in Seattle, Dr. James Hansen wrote “Children and Adults on Climate Policy: Evidence that They ‘Get It’”. The children wanted to put a price on carbon pollution, pledge no new carbon pollution, and plant trees.

    A link between National Socialism and Conservation movements is reported by German historian Uekoetter’s The Green and the Brown: a History of Conservatism in Nazi Germany published by Cambridge Press in 2006. A detailed review of this book is written by William Walter Kay.

    The conservation movement started in Germany in the late nineteenth century and found easy mixing with National Socialism with conservationists having memberships in their local groups and the National Socialist Party. Millions of trees were planted in the name of Adolf Hitler.

    Thus playing tit-for-tat, Mr. Bradley suggests we could label brainwashed youth from Common Core and other programs “Climate Youth”. In fairness to Mr. Bradley he correctly states this name-calling and comparisons with National Socialism should cease immediately.

    Even greater dangers from the science portion of Common Core are teaching people to accept the political use of science and not follow fundamental principles of scientific inquiry–propose a theory about the behavior of Nature and continually test that theory by experiment.

    Never accept propositions of “science is settled”. Additional problems are painting the planet’s future in a dismal fashion with reduced living standards and poverty for many parts of the planet. This may lead to psychological damage to students.


    The United States has vast fossil fuel energy resources; an inventive, resourceful population; and one million square miles of farm land with the best farmers on the planet. With correct policies legalizing the development of our superior assets, the future is very promising for us and the world.

    Our science programs should stimulate students to have an inquiring mind–the very opposite of the science-is-settled, “consensus science” mindset. Obama’s Common Core is a Trojan Horse mixing propaganda with science in our youth (ages 5 to 18). Common Core should be discarded from an intellectual point of view. One-size-fits-all learning smacks of collectivism in place of individual initiative. Greater pluralism and localized decision-making are called for.


    James H. Rust is a retired professor of nuclear engineering and a policy adviser for The Heartland Institute.