Education Montana Politics

Matt Rosendale: Demagoguery on the Common Core

Maryland native and Montana congressional candidate Matt Rosendale sent out a release today about the Common Core State Standards that contains profound factual errors as well as an almost total misunderstanding of education policy. It’s the work of someone more dedicated to appeasing an ill-informed TEA Party base than actually working to improve Montana schools.

Rosendale misleads:

Common Core is a move by the federal government to further interject itself into our lives.  Frankly, it is more of the same forced, top-down, expensive education policy that has failed our children and our schools for decades.

Flatly untrue. The Common Core State Standards were sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers, who have led the implementation of the program across the country after starting the discussion back in 2009. Since then, 45 states, including Montana, have voluntarily signed on to the standards.

Rosendale dissembles:

Unfortunately, there is a large movement growing out of liberal academia which threatens the education of our children and our personal freedoms.

As I noted before, the CCSS is hardly the product of liberals in academia; it was the brainchild of state education chiefs and governors. Conservative education groups like the Fordham Foundation were among the early proponents of the reform of state standards, as are conservatives like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Education Secretary Bill Bennett, and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Rosendale misleads:

With a one-size-fits-all approach, education will be dumbed down to the lowest denominator, and while that might seem like a good idea in Washington, D.C., it is wrong for our public education system in Montana.

For most states, including  Montana, the Common Core State Standards represent a significant increase in the expectations for our students. Radical communist front group Exxon Mobil said of the CCSS that “It sets very important milestones and standards for educational achievement while at the same time providing those most invested in the outcome – local teachers and administrators – with the flexibility they need to best achieve those results.” Conservative education experts at the Fordham Institute concluded that the CCSS are more rigorous than were the standards in 39 states, including Montana.

The CCSS will demand more of our students, because we can—and must—expect more of them.

Rosendale demagogues:

Parents, teachers, administrators, and school boards coming together to best decide what our children should learn and under what kind of timeline.

And that isn’t threatened by the Common Core Standards. States across the country have had standards for education for decades; what is decided at the local level is curriculum, which remains in the hands of local school boards today. I don’t expect that every person in the U.S. understand the difference between these concepts, but someone who wants to make federal education policy at the Congressional level certainly should.

Nonsense like this might play well to the part of a Republican primary electorate who believes in the threat of the UN’s Agenda 21 and communist infiltration of our precious bodily fluids, but doesn’t serve the interest of our students or state.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.


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  • Don, you leave out half the truth.

    Federal involvement

    PolitiFact Florida also addressed the second part of Pope’s claim — that federal officials “do not have their fingerprints” on Common Core. Our colleagues found that, although Common Core is voluntary for states to adopt, the federal government has had a role in encouraging them to adopt the standards.

    To get grants from Race to the Top — Obama’s signature education program — or waivers from the mandates of No Child Left Behind — an education reform law adopted under President George W. Bush — states have to prove they have standards to prepare students for college and work. They don’t have to adopt the Common Core Standards, but that works as one way to qualify for grants or waivers.

    There was a rush by states to adopt Common Core by August 2010 because establishing standards won them points in the competition for a share of the billions in Race to the Top grants.

    Tom McCarthy, a spokesman for Pope, acknowledged “there really wasn’t a credible alternative to Common Core” at the time.

    So, the federal government didn’t force Common Core on the states, but it did create incentives for states to adopt the standards.

      • Looks to me to be the culprit. Local News story.

        “District spokeswoman, Leigh Anne Neal, says the poster needs to be viewed in the context of a bigger curriculum, which she calls abstinence-based for students in middle school.
        “The poster that you reference is actually part of our middle school health and science materials, and so it is a part of our district approved curriculum,” Neal said. “However the item is meant to be part of a lesson, and so certainly as a standalone poster without the context of a teacher-led discussion, I could see that there might be some cause for concern.”
        She said that the approved curriculum is in line with what other schools around the country do as well.
        “The curriculum it is a part of, it aligns with national standards around those topics, and it’s part of our curriculum in the school district,” she said.”

        • Get your mind out of the gutter, Ingie. Sheesh. What a freain’ PRUDE you are, dude. And YOU live on a ranch???? Gotta interject a true story here. Some twenty years ago, I went to teach in a very, very small school on the Hi Line. (which shall remain nameless) Well, one day in class, a freshman class consisting of about maybe ten kids, we started discussing what the kids did for money in the summer, or what sort of summer jobs they had. Well, I can tell you that I was taken aback when one particularly cute freshman girl told me quite unashamedly and without any embarrassment at all, or snickers from the other kids, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, that she “sold semen” in the summer! YIKES! THAT was my introduction to very small town Montana! Selling semen is about as radical as selling girl scout cookies! Seems that on the ranch were she lived, selling semen was a profitable way to kids to make some money in the summer! True story. But me, bein’ basically a city dweller, it was culture shock 101!

          So, Ingie, lose your prude, dude! The kids can handle it! It’s ONLY the christofascist homeskuuled kids that have a problem with reality!

  • Rosendale is an [email protected][email protected]!! The REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR of OKLAHOMA (yes, THAT Oklahoma) MARY FALLIN, chair of the National Governors Association, said on C-SPAN yesterday she SUPPORTS common core and specifically emphasized it is NOT a federal
    mandate but a STANDARD for states to adopt and strictly voluntary!!!! ROSENDALE YOUR A LOSER!!!

  • I think the only reason Conservative people don’t like Common Core is it really emphasizes Fact over fiction…. Which means the three “Rs” Reading, writing, Arithmetic count more than the new “r” they’ve wanted for decades to add to school curriculum, without all the pesky Facts and science. Religion!

  • Sometimes, folk art is the best literature! Stole this from a site. Reminded me of Matt Rosie(palm)dale! Enjoy.


    LionHeart > Turk
    • 6 hours ago


    So, Rushbo staggers into a Tea Bagger bar in southern Florida. The dude is
    feeling awesome. He gulped down a handful of Vicodin and washed them down with
    about six “Pink Ladies” half an hour ago. Then, he crushed and snorted a couple
    a’ Viagra and Oxycontin.

    Now our hero is feelin’ his groove and he’s horny as hell.
    He can tell he’s in a Tea Bagger bar because all the clientele are nasty old white men over sixty ….. except for Michelle Bachman and Ann Romney who are down on their knees crawlin’ from booth to booth raising money for Mitten’s run
    at the White House.

    The bar tender looks at Rushbo and he can’t help but notice
    that there is Mandarin duck sittin’ on Rushbo’s head. As Rushbo slithers on to a bar stool and bellys up to the bar a bunch of large white pills fall out of his pants pocket and on to the floor. Rushbo bends over to scoop up the pills before the Tea Baggers can descend on the pills like a school of ravenous Piranha on a baby squid. The bar tender can’t help but notice that the duck isn’t sittin’ on Rushbo’s head — the
    duck is actually stuck on Rushbo’s head!

    In disbelief the young bar tender looks Rushbo right in the
    eyes and says, “Rush, I’m your biggest fan. I’ve been listening to you since even before I killed my first neighborhood cat with a BB gun in grade school. But, why in the hell is that duck stuck on your head????”

    And, the DUCK tearfully replied … “I don’t have the
    slightest M Fing idea. It started as a teeny-weeny anal cyst and it just kept growing and growing and growing.”

  • Off topic, BUT, I recently talked to a cousin of mine who’s moving there. I always thought that Costa Rica was the place to go for ex-pats. But now I find out that Belize, Panama, and Ecuador are the big three. If I didn’t have grand kids, and if I didn’t love Montana so much, and if I weren’t so damn old, I’d go! Health care for all is mighty appealing when compared to the big Koch we get in this country!

    p.s. Many of the folks I know who have left have been rightwing wackos who can’t afford to live here any more. True story.

    • I have been gently encouraging Larry for a while to start his own blog. Here is that link again, Larry: That way he can post and link away to his heart’s content and not distract from the conversation at hand. Alas, he has not taken me up on my advice.

      • Um, I would encourage you to not encourage me to do anything! You see, this is a thread about kooks and education. What I posted is relevant to that topic. What you’ve just posted isn’t! And BTW, I don’t know how long YOU spent in education, but I spent a great deal of time in education, and it’s a topic that I’m very concerned about. As I’ve written before, I was the very FIRST teacher in the state to take on creationism, so yeah, I’ve seen the kooks in action up close and personal. I am very familiar with them, and I don’t like’em on bit.

        Now, I know what Don’s up against. And I appreciate this blog a lot. So, I guess I’ll choose to just ignore you as usual.

  • Yep, the distraction comes from people who want religious charter schools… prominently, to teach a divide among Americans. To educate for a caste system. To funnel false Ideology into the minds of little children.

    Larry might not be saying it, in the way you want him too Marion…. but he is pointing at it just the same, as I would write it from my opinion! Its only Uncomfortable because of the ugly truths, Never sugarcoated.

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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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