A final version of the Common Core State Standards was released on June 2, 2010, meaning the education benchmarks turn 5 years old this week. It hasn't been a peaceful childhood for the Common Core.
The standards, which have been adopted in a majority of states, emphasize critical thinking over rote memorization, and aim to make students more college- and career-ready. A bipartisan group of education experts, governors and state school chiefs developed the standards, and the Obama administration incentivized states to adopt higher standards through its Race to the Top competition.
There are vocal opponents on both ends of the political spectrum. Their reasons vary: Some disagree with content of the standardized tests associated with Common Core, while others say the standards exemplify federal overreach. But some criticism -- which has, over the years, turned Common Core into an acutely polarizing political issue -- is far more extreme.
Here are five ways some of the more severe Common Core opponents say the standards continue to hurt kids.
1. They Turn Kids Gay
While speaking at an Operation Education event -- a conference about "how education reforms are attacking America's foundation" -- in May 2014, Florida Rep. Charles Van Zant (R) took issue with Common Core. He said the American Institutes for Research, the group tasked with designing Common Core tests in the Sunshine State, "will promote double-mindedness in state education and will attract every one of your children to become as homosexual as they possibly can."
Some right-wing activists have supported these claims. Raymond Johnson of Biblical Concepts Ministries, a nonprofit Christian ministry, issued a press release agreeing with the politician.
“We are grateful that Representative Van Zant raised concern making the public aware of this situation, hopefully through this attention we the people can help correct this wrong," the press release read, according to Right Wing Watch, a People For the American Way project that reports on the right-wing movement.
Similarly, a group called the FreedomProject Education, which promotes Judeo-Christian values in education, has said the Common Core is “mainstreaming … homosexuality, promiscuity and other practices," according to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
2. They Indoctrinate Kids Under A Nazi Society
Some people have likened America under the Common Core to Hitler's Germany, suggesting the standards make kids obedient and mindless.
In February 2014, Patrice Lewis wrote in a World Net Daily opinion piece:
“The government doesn’t just want our children’s bodies; it particularly wants their minds. If Nazi German taught us nothing else, it taught us this: Children are the currency of tyrants. It’s worth remembering that when people objected to joining the Nazi Party, Hitler gave a verbal shrug and assured them that their membership wasn’t necessary since he already had their children. 'He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future,' he famously said."
3. They Turn Kids Into 'Green Global Serfs'
In a March 2014 The New American article, Alex Newman wrote that Common Core State Standards are part of a global agenda to create a "new 'green' world order." The writer connects the United Nations Agenda 21 -- which seeks to promote sustainability and combat pollution around the world -- to a plot to create a global curriculum. The Common Core, Newman says, is part of this plot.
"As the Obama administration, Bill Gates, the United Nations, and other forces seek to finalize the decades-old effort to nationalize -- and even globalize -- education by bribing and bludgeoning state governments to impose Common Core, one of the key agendas behind the deeply controversial standards has been largely overlooked. In essence, official UN documents and statements by top administration officials reveal a plan to transform American children, and students around the globe, into what globalists refer to as 'global citizens' ready for the coming 'green' and 'sustainable' world order."
He calls Agenda 21 a "radical" program, and says its so-called plot for a "globalist" education is "completely at odds with the U.S. Constitution, national sovereignty, individual liberty, God-given rights, Judeo-Christian values, and Western traditions."
4. They Turn Kids Into Communists And/Or Socialists
Some prominent conservative commentators, like Glenn Beck, have said the Common Core promotes communism, claiming that it pigeonholes students into specific career paths.
Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R) has also likened the standards to socialism.
"I believe in exceptionalism and I think what Common Core does is it brings it all down to the lowest common denominator. It’s much like socialism," he said in February 2014.
5. They Turn Kids Against Christianity
Some opponents of the Common Core fear the standards have an anti-Christian agenda.
Tony Perkins, president of conservative Christian lobbying group Family Research Council, emailed members of the organization in August 2014 to warn them about Common Core.
“Children are indoctrinated with a liberal ideology that celebrates sexual perversion, worships the creation rather than the Creator, all at the expense of academic achievement and our nation’s Christian heritage," he wrote, Right Wing Watch reports.