Among the long list of complaints Americans have leveled against Common Core is the charge that the controversial federal standards will disproportionately harm racial minority students. This charge comes not from Al Sharpton, but from at least two prominent black conservatives.
“Minority children are going to be hurt first and foremost by Common Core because they are stuck in the public schools, which are government schools,” Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson told WND.
“And even as adults, it will keep them in a state of helplessness and hopelessness because Common Core is going to dumb them down. [It] is going to make them feel that America is totally against them and that white people are holding them back. And they’re going to feel unprepared as adults to deal with life because they’re not going to be properly educated, that’s for sure.”
Peterson, a WND columnist and founder and president of The Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, was referring to the fact that racial minorities are more likely than whites to be poor, thus many of them can’t pay their way into private schools that don’t use Common Core. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 27 percent of blacks and 24 percent of Hispanics lived in poverty in 2013, versus only 10 percent of whites.
Alveda King, a civil rights activist and niece of Martin Luther King Jr., shares Peterson’s worry. On May 22, King penned an open letter to the Alabama Legislature calling on the body to abandon what she called the “one size fits all Common Core curriculum.”
In the letter, King quoted a statement from the Chicago Teachers Union that read in part: “We also know that high-stakes standardized testing is designed to rank and sort our children and it contributes significantly to racial discrimination and the achievement gap among students in America’s schools.”
King then followed up: “This sorting of students in Alabama based on the color of their skin or their parents’ income and the setting of lower achievement goals for African Americans than Caucasians has been widely reported. If teachers are told to expect less from minorities, they are likely to get less.”