"Issues and Action in Education"

The Roll-Out of the Marc Tucker/Obama/Arne Plan

By Donna Garner

February 17, 2010


Here comes the roll-out of the cradle-to-the-workplace plan that was begun by the National Center for Education and the Economy (NCEE), Marc Tucker, and Hillary Clinton in the 1980’s and now is extended even further by Obama and Arne Duncan.

For those who may be wondering who Marc Tucker is (since he is advising the U. S. Department of Education about how to implement the Common Core Standards and Race to the Top), here is a reminder.  

Marc Tucker and Hillary Clinton had plans way back in the 1980’s to have national standards, national tests, national curriculum, and a national database.  The Marc Tucker “Dear Hillary Letter” was posted by Rep. Bob Schaffer in the Congressional Record (9.25.98):  


Now Marc Tucker has joined up with Obama and Arne Duncan to mount a complete federal takeover of the public schools without a single vote ever having been taken in Congress to approve this effort:  National standards (i.e., Common Core Standards), national tests (i.e., Board exams), national curriculum (aligned with the national tests), a national database (probably produced by Bill Gates), and teachers’ evaluations and merit pay tied to individual students’ test scores, thus forcing teachers to teach the national curriculum each day --

Race to the Top federal funds provided by taxpayers will be used to push states into allowing 10th grade high-school students to take national tests (i.e., Board exams based upon the Common Core Standards); passing these exams will allow students to enroll in community colleges.  

Students will be pushed into community colleges rather than required to take the rigorous high-school coursework that provides the prerequiste skills needed for admittance to major colleges and universities.

The 10th , 11th, 12th  grade Board tests will be less than rigorous.  The college readiness draft standards in math released by the writing team have given us a big clue. So far the comments by experienced mathematicians and math teachers are pretty grim.   Please read “Alternative Needed to Common Core: An Additional Consortium for ‎Common Standards” written by Williamson M. Evers & Ze’ev Wurman and published on 1.3.10: http://www.educationnews.org/blogs/19265.html

In mathematics, the standards are perhaps even worse. While essentially all four-year state colleges require at least three years of high school mathematics, including Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry or above, CCSSI’s standards require only Algebra 1 and few bits and pieces from Algebra 2 and Geometry. In other words, students who graduate from high school having taken only math coursework addressing those standards (and presumably having passed a test based on them) will be inadmissible to any four-year college around the country.

The high-school students who pass these less-than-rigorous Board exams (national tests) will not take the rigorous four years of high-school courses normally required of them. Their high-school years will instead be spent taking less rigorous community college courses that will doom students to workplace careers rather than motivating them to master the prerequisite skills needed for success in major colleges and universities.   

These “feel-good-about-yourself” community college courses will end up giving students a false sense of accomplishment.  The end result will be a society made up of 90% “worker bees” without their having mastered a four-year, high-school, broad-based, foundational, liberal arts program that will make them well-educated American citizens who are able to read well and think logically and analytically. 

It is my opinon that around 10% of high-school students will choose to stick with the rigorous four-year, high-school program centered around Advanced Placement courses that will give them the academic background to attend major colleges and universities.  

In other words, the Marc Tucker/Obama/Arne Plan will produce probably 90% of Americans who are the poorly educated “worker bees” -- those who will be easily manipulated by political and social justice agendas. 

Only 10% of high-school graduates will gain a quality high-school background leading to admittance to major colleges and universities, and these students will be the ones who control the direction of our country.

What this cradle-to-the-workplace plan actually will do is to track students.  One track will take rigorous high school, AP-type courses; and the other 90% will take dumbed down community college courses.

Contrast that with the goal of our Texas Commissioner of Education and our Texas State Board of Education’s plan.  They are rewriting all of our curriculum requirements so that ALL high-school students have access to learn the skills necessary to go to college or into the workforce.

All Texas students will be given the opportunity to learn explicit, rigorous, academic, grade-specific, measurable curriculum that grows in depth and complexity from one grade-level to the next (K-12). 

Through careful implementation of well-designed state curriculum requirements and state-designed tests aligned with the curriculum, a majority of students will learn and achieve success at each grade level so that they arrive at their high-school graduation with a broad-based, enriched, core-subject background that will prepare them for whatever life choices they make.  

High-school students in Texas take the 4 x 4 core courses (e.g., math, science, history, English) all four years in high school, but students can explore their individual interests by choosing electives from a wide assortment of courses.

The Texas Plan offers a much better future for our country than the Marc Tucker/Obama/Arne Plan.  If we set the standards right, focus them on back-to-the-basics skills that grow in depth and complexity from one grade level to the next, and then test students on quality tests that are aligned with the grade-specific curriculum, we will see a large percentage of our Texas students develop the pre-requisite skills necessary to be successful in college and/or the workplace. 

For those states that follow the Marc Tucker/Obama/Arne Plan, we will see a large percentage of students who will be fooled into thinking they have taken “college” courses when in reality, they have been pigeon-holed into the “worker bee” mode for a lifetime.

For another disturbing aspect of the Marc Tucker/Obama/Arne Plan, please read about the subjectivity of the scoring of the national tests -- Education Week, 1.14.10, “Experts Weigh In on 'Race to Top' Testing Rules,” by Catherine Gewertz: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/01/14/18tests.h29.html

 Donna Garner


Home - EdWatch Index