I've never been a CEO of anything other than my own kitchen. My husband is the head of our family. I am a wife and a mother. I do know a few things, however, about economics, world history, and state run education.
Rex Tillerson is the CEO of ExxonMobil Corporation. I've seen Mr. Tillerson only a couple of times on television. I am certain if I ever had the pleasure of meeting him, I would like him very much. I'm always impressed with his demeanor and his confidence. He's not like the politicians we see frequently who are anxious to be at the microphone hoping their sound bite will add to their future electability. Mr. Tillerson speaks in a calm unhurried manner about the things he has great knowledge and learned expertise. I respect that.
So I was shocked to see his editorial in the Wall Street Journal on September 6 in which he lauded, of all things, Common Core Standards for education. Tillerson spoke of the pipeline, not for oil, but for the flow of new well trained members of the workforce that will be needed in future years to carry on research and development, as well as day to day operations of corporate giants such as ExxonMobil. Somewhere he has been led to believe the way to insure that flow of human resources, people fit for the jobs that need to be done, is to get on board with Common Core Standards.
I have absolutely nothing bad to say about Mr. Tillerson or ExxonMobil. I own stock in the company and I am married to an engineer who worked for that very company his entire career from college graduation to retirement, but I must say, it wasn't a national standard that got my husband through school, it was effort and dedication on his part, discipline and encouragement from his parents, and the support and inspiration of his Catholic school instructors. He always knew he would be a husband and a father one day. He knew he would need the ability to provide shelter and food for them. Guided by his Catholic faith he pursued a course of study suited to his talent, not because it was easy, but because he knew it would help him reach his goals. His own goals.
While it may appear to be an overreaction on my part to hint that Common Core has anything to do with mass atrocities of the last century, the truth is large scale plans of any kind which involve directing the lives of humans without their consent, even those that begin with the best intentions, most often end with tyrannical results. I therefore bristle with fear and caution at anything or any philosophy that doesn't protect the interest of the individual and the family.
The progressive liberal left today wants a total takeover of public education on a national level. The propaganda to sell that idea to the public is full of broad brush rhetoric which leaves us with little more information than did the mantra of "Hope and Change." They are leaving the details to textbook authors, computer companies, socialist leaning faculty members, and politicians who believe there is something in it for them.
For some reason I cannot imagine, these people have convinced Rex Tillerson to believe simply setting a new or different standard, an all encompassing single standard for the entire country---a notion so opposed to free market economics it isn't funny, will somehow produce the work force he speaks about in his article. I don't deny we need a future workforce. A capitalist nation cannot continue to exist unless all the positions in its integrated economy are filled with men educated to carry them out, but as long as the scarcity of labor exists, the value calculated for the skills held by those entering the workforce will act as the best standard there is, or ever will be, to guarantee our nation will continue to thrive. One "common" standard leaves us all with no alternative. Without competition how can we be guaranteed excellence? Surely, Mr. Tillerson understands that.
As we have seen so many times in the past, there is great danger in thinking it is possible to lay out a master plan, establish a goal, and put faith in a method to produce the end we desire where human beings are concerned. Whereas, the end may appear to have merit, it's always the means that jam us up. ExxonMobil is the epitome of the best our country has to offer. It is a marvelous example of what freedom loving individuals can achieve. For the head of this giant corporation to suggest the way to insure a future for such an industry and others is to be accomplished by regimenting our youth through centrally planned and organized education structures is not only ludicrous, it is appalling. To Mr. Tillerson I'd like to say, you are barking up the wrong tree. You may have a goal in mind. You may have bought into a method someone has convinced you will work, but at what cost to the youth of this country? At what cost to this liberty loving nation?
The secret hope of those who have devised and promoted Common Core is that the implementation of curriculum in the "less controversial subjects" like math will get us so far into the plan financially, turning back won't be justifiable without a lot of economic pain. This is simply another case of "passing the plan to see what's in it." We are being lured into following a path with our very own children and grandchildren without even knowing what lies ahead. Math is not the only subject our children will be taught.
Oddly enough, however, it is practically the only one we hear anything about these days. Hints of what lies ahead for science, literature, social studies, and history are beginning to leak out and they are frightening to anyone who cares about Judeo-Christian values, takes pride in the founding of this country, and the miraculous accomplishments of the men who built this country into the beacon it has become for the rest of the world.
Mr. Tillerson and others need to understand, the best results come from properly incentivized individuals. The best incentive for any man or any child is freedom and moral guidance. The only national thing this country needs is a Constitution and a flag that represents the sovereign states of men and women who have lived and died to keep this nation free, men and women loyal to the idea that your best chance at success is a belief in yourself and God.
The agenda of the Common Core is nothing less than the total opposite of that.
Spero columnist Chriss Rainey is a freelance writer.