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Building the Machine – Review

It was my husband who brought Common Core to my attention a little over a year ago. He asked that I look at it, see what I thought. I did, and we are now homeschooling, but that’s another story for another time!

Throughout the course of the year, we have watched and studied the issues surrounding Common Core State Standards(CCSS). We watched as we saw schools talking about adopting the new standards, and telling parents how great these new standards would be for the kids. We researched, we talked to parents and teachers. We have our opinions on how bad this could be for children, and are starting to see the initial fruits of the poisoned apple being fed to them.

So when I heard that HSLDA was making a documentary on CCSS, I was thrilled! I looked forward to it, hoping they would tell the complete truth of this nightmare takeover of education. I watched it with my husband last night, and we feel that it was a good start that will hopefully have parents questioning CCSS, there are some issue, but first he positive:

  1. They raise the question of whether the education of our children is up to us, or the government.
  2. What the real goal of education should be, how we are educating a whole person, not a cog to be inserted into a machine. 
  3. They bring up the known issues of “teaching to the test”, and why that is a problem. The fact that teaching to the test turns out kids who are missing whole sections of history simply because they could not be quantified on a test.
  4. They talk about the single biggest factor in a child’s success: Involved Parents!

And now for the things we took issue with while watching the movie:

  1. I feel that Michael Petrilli, the representative from the Fordham Institute was not challenged strongly enough regarding his mis-statements about the evolution of CCSS. He claims they were publicly debated and that the states were heavily involved in the development of the CCSS, the evidence does not support this. In fact the reverse is true.
  2. The documentary talks about how the Federal government pushed Race to the Top(RTTT) and the states signed off on RTTT mandates when they applied for the grants. They do not reference the fact that it is illegal according to several federal statutes for the federal government to foist national standards onto the country. The Gates Foundation is funding this activity so that the federal government can have the “political cover” they want.
  3. They do not discuss how the irrelevant data that is being collected through CCSS and its related programs is going to be used. The fact is that the database being built around every bit of data from our children’s education life, and home life will be collected. Everything from religion and political preference to whether the family owns firearms. These things are none of their business.
  4. They do not discuss that when you really dig into the standards, you can see that it was written about what can be categorized, tagged and put into a database. Not what’s best for our kids. 
  5. At the end, I feel that it could leave people with the feeling that CCSS can be fixed. The evidence in this is just not supported. 

These things aside, I believe that the movie is a great way to get your toes wet in CCSS, to maybe find some questions to start asking. Share this with your friends and family! Perhaps they will start asking questions. This is good. But I think the movie could have been better. I think it could have made a stronger stand against CCSS.


“Building the Machine introduces the public to the Common Core States Standards Initiative (CCSSI) and its effects on our children’s education. The documentary compiles interviews from leading educational experts, including members of the Common Core Validation Committee. Parents, officials, and the American public should be involved in this national decision regardless of their political persuasion.”