Under some circumstances, if you tell a lie enough, the uninformed will eventually come to accept it as truth. A recent article in the Tioga Tribune proves that this is indeed the case when it comes to North Dakota and the Common Core State Standards.
A reader of ours tipped us off to this fact last week when they sent us screen shots of Tioga Tribune reporter Jacob Orledge’s article on the school board race in Ray, North Dakota. To illustrate how two “newcomers” are “striking two distinct tones in their election bids,” Orledge featured statements by candidate Shilo Kilber in which Kilber apparently expressed his displeasure with low testing scores:
Statement 1 – “They have been steadily dropping since 2014-2015 since the introduction of Common Core into our curriculum.”
Statement 2 – “I would like to see us get away from Common Core and implement a more effective curriculum.”
Statement 3 – “Common Core has continued to fail our students as seen from our faltering testing scores.”
Now, to be clear, my purpose here isn’t to get into the weeds when it comes to the race for Ray School Board. It’s what Mr. Orledge wrote regarding these statements on Common Core that is the impetus for what I’m writing:
“It was a hot-button topic in North Dakota when the standards were first implemented. Those standards, however, are no longer used in North Dakotan classrooms. They were replaced by standards developed by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction in 2017.”
No, Mr. Orledge, you are wrong. Dreadfully wrong. The Math and English standards used today in North Dakota’s schools are very much still the Common Core State Standards. The Department of Public Instruction didn’t develop them— they plagiarized them.
The one thing Orledge is right about is the fact that Common Core was a hot-button topic when they were first implemented. So much so that a strong push was made to eliminate them during the 2015 legislative session. That effort failed. When a second attempt was made to scratch them in 2017, an angry Kirsten Baesler — our State Superintendent of Public Instruction — stood before the House Education Committee and showed her dark side in opposition to the bill. It worked. The legislation was defeated.
Being the smooth politician that she is, what Baesler did was embark on a disinformation campaign to mislead lawmakers and the public at large. Her words were intentional and proved to be effective. She promised to “create a set of standards by North Dakotans for North Dakotans.” She also used words in which she claimed that “new standards will replace the standards adopted in 2011 based on the Common Core.” And when all was said and done, she wrote that, “They are truly North Dakota standards, written by North Dakota teachers.”
It was all a lie.
When the dust settled, these “new” standards, that Baesler had bragged so much about, weren’t really new at all. They simply made some minor changes and rebranded them as “North Dakota” standards instead of Common Core. I proved it with screenshot evidence in September of 2017. A month later — in October of 2017 — Freedom Project’s Duke Pesta picked up on it and spent an entire segment discussing the reality. (See video below.)
The evidence is still there. You can compare the Common Core State Standards to the so-called North Dakota Math and English standards and see for yourself. Lawmakers and the public at large were deceived.
As I expressed in 2017, the very least that I expect of any Superintendent of Public Instruction is to be transparent and honest. Baesler hasn’t been and that reflects poorly on the State of North Dakota, our Department of Public Instruction, and the Superintendent herself.
The problem with Jacob Orledge and the Tioga Tribune propagating Baesler’s lie about Common Core is that it made a school board candidate look ignorant. Intentional or not, that’s not okay. Especially when the ignorance was their own, not his. The Tioga Tribune owes it to Shilo Kilber to issue a retraction, an apology, and to set the record straight with their readers. That’s what honest journalists would do.
- Read the Standards | Common Core State Standards Initiative (corestandards.org)
- North Dakota’s Math & English Standards are the Result of Plagiarism – The Minuteman Blog
- The Dark Side of Our Superintendent of Public Instruction – The Minuteman Blog
- ND Mathematics Content Standards
- ND ELA Content Standards