The Party for Socialism and Liberation, a completely obscure group of hardcore Marxist-Leninists hellbent on a workers’ revolution, has come out against the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
A 1,221-word editorial piece in Liberation, the group’s agitprop organ, explains the rationale. The piece is written by Nazila Bijari, an Iranian-American activist who was once active in the ANSWER Coalition.
“Despite Common Core’s use of progressive sounding buzzwords and its claims that this approach is likely to ‘level the playing field,’ in actuality it is more likely to result in widening the gap between students from poor and oppressed communities and those from affluent backgrounds,” Bijari writes.
She notes that poor students are likely to suffer the most under any curriculum that de-emphasizes basic skills.
Later, Bijari wisely observes: “The rapid adoption of Common Core in almost every state has little to do with the educational merits of the standards. Instead, the driving force behind it is states’ eligibility for federal grants.”
After assuring readers that “the capitalist class, the owners of banks and corporations” want to keep “the working class” down, the middle-aged professional revolutionary weaves an odd conspiracy theory involving “a few highly-trained, highly-paid workers,” “many low-skilled future workers” and a strangely absent bourgeoisie.
A side goal of Common Core, the bitter-ender asserts, is the weakening of public schools and the strengthening of charter schools and private schools.
She also suggests that some people advocating for Common Core are not aware that they are part of this vast conspiracy.
“What we need are fundamental reforms to strengthen and enhance public education, not in the interests of the banks and corporations, but in the interests of the working class,” Bijari concludes triumphantly. “Progressive reforms can only come as a result of a grassroots struggle.”
The ultimate goal of the Party for Socialism and Liberation is a revolution that will lead to a new government of workers.
The party favors a 30-hour work week, a basic income guarantee and the right of political self-determination for all manner of minority groups including blacks, Native Americans, Latinos, Hawaiians and people from the Mariana Islands.
The party supports freedom of speech—but not bigotry or, of course, any speech in favor of capitalism.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an attempt to standardize various K-12 curricula around the country. It has been implemented with varying degrees of success in 45 states and the District of Columbia. (RELATED: Pro-Common Core panelist: ‘The children belong to all of us’)
The Common Core standards demand that students know certain things by certain grade levels, but do little to describe how teachers should impart those skills.
The standards have been endorsed by numerous groups including the National Governors Association.
Criticism of the Common Core has risen sharply. Opposition has brought together conservatives who are opposed to centralized public education and leftists who deplore ever-more standardized testing.