Is Common Core Forcing ‘Islamic Indoctrination’ on Public Schools? No.

Common Core State Standards indoctrinate public school students with Islamic ideology, a recent Investor’s Business Daily editorial egregiously alleges. “Parents should know that this unconstitutional promotion of Islam—along with the marginalization, even denigration, of Christianity—is happening in public schools across the country as part of President Obama’s Common Core curriculum.”

The editorial perpetuates the flat-out untrue idea that Common Core State Standards usurp control from local educators and push certain ideologies on students. They do not.

The standards set clear, consistent learning goals for students at each grade. How those goals are met is left entirely up to local teachers and school boards—including the choice of materials, lesson plans and curricula.

Objective analyses have repeatedly dismissed accusations that the Common Core promotes political or religious beliefs. The goal of Common Core State Standards is to “better prepare students for college and careers and ensure that students in all states learn the same academic concepts,” a 2013 PolitiFact fact-check states. “That is a far cry from attempting to instill particular religious or political beliefs.”

Last year former Education Secretary Bill Bennett wrote:

“Increasingly, however, lies, myths, exaggerations and hysteria about what the Common Core means and does have dominated the “debate” and the real issues have been obscured…Now, if Islamic vocabulary lessons were truly endemic to Common Core, I would be outraged as well. However, it is not. This charge against the Common Core is a bold-faced lie.”

Unable to find success in disrupting implementation of the Common Core through proper legislative channels, opponents have turned to backdoor tactics—including fanning parents’ concerns. The Investor’s Business Daily editorial board perpetuates those baseless claims.

The editorial suggests Common Core is a curriculum developed by the Obama administration. Also not true. The standards are a set of learning goals. They were developed by educators and experts from 49 states and territories under the leadership of National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

States voluntarily adopted the standards and continue to voluntarily implement them. Most states are building on the Common Core framework and making changes to ensure the standards meet their students’ needs—exactly as the standards were designed.

Late last year the Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into law, further ensuring federal authorities have no say over what standards states use. The ESSA “forever ends what has long been an Achilles Heel of Common Core: federal entanglement through Race to the Top and secretarial waivers in state decisions surrounding the adoption of standards and the selection of aligned assessments,” Karen Nussle explains.

Congressman John Kline, chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, calls the Every Student Succeeds Act a “huge win for conservatives.” “The federal government should not be able to tell states what standards they can or cannot adopt. If states want to use Common Core, it is not the place of the federal government to tell them they cannot do that.”

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