PARKER, Colo. – Having grown up in communist China during Chairman Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, Lily Tang Williams of Parker, Colorado, says the Common Core national standards being imposed on America’s public education system scare her.
She came to the United States from China to further her law degree. But after a time, she decided she loved the freedoms and opportunities that America provided and decided not to go back. She now has three children. One of her two sons was just graduated from the Air Force Academy and the other is working full time and going to school part time. Her 15-year-old daughter is a sophomore in high school. In the midterms, she ran for a seat the Colorado Legislature as a Libertarian.
Recently, she decided to educate herself about Common Core. She says there are things about it that remind her of her education growing up in China. She tells EAGnews that her number one concern is the data collection, the data mining, of children and their parents.
“That’s what we had in China…every child will have a file, actually every citizen in China has a so-called ‘personnel file.’ And this ‘personnel file’ will document everything. When you are in school, they document your family political class, your gender, your age, your home address, your grades, you behaviors, political correctness. So everything is in that file.”
Common Core encourages such data collection. Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project says schools implementing the Core are increasingly conducting surveys to acquire very personal information about students. It’s a means of getting state and federal funding. She says the surveys are not directly related to Common Core.
But she says, “It’s all part of an educational progressive mindset. [Educational progressives] have got to have every school doing the same standards and ultimately with the same curriculum. And [they’ve] got to collect data on anything and everything because otherwise how can they know what’s effective and what’s not effective.”
Robbins says they’ve got to know everything in order to control everything.
Williams says the personnel files in China follow a person throughout his or her life and exerts a lot of control over individuals, where they can live and where they can work. She says she doesn’t want to see the same thing happen in this country.
Williams is also very concerned about the Common Core curriculum and standardized testing. She says the ‘Advance Placement U.S. History’ course, for one thing, is worrisome because they’ve taken out a lot of the American exceptionalism, information about the Founding Fathers and capitalism is only mentioned three times. Entrepreneurship is gone.
“So basically what they teach our kids is basically the leftist agenda and focus on what they want your kids to learn,” she says. “And that really worries me because I came to this country because of the Constitution, the rights, the values, individual liberties….that sounds like music to me because I never had those in China.
“But now they’re going to teach our kids not to focus on those individual liberties and American exceptionalism, and capitalism and free market…and they’re going to teach another kind, leftist agenda that is like a garbage agenda.
“Haven’t we learned from the past that communism and socialism don’t work? We’re in trouble because children are our future. If they control our education of our children, they will control this country’s future.”
Another concern is the standardized tests that go along with Common Core. In China the National College Entrance Exam is very competitive. It lasts for three days and all kids have to take it. And if they don’t pass, they don’t make it into college and it is considered a great humiliation.
“Some kids even commit suicide either before the test or after the test because the pressure is so big,” Williams says. “So why do we want to become like China? Those kids have a low life. Those kids are miserable. It’s all about training them to be test-takers, test machines, not critical thinkers.”
She says she has become very passionate about speaking out against Common Core. She says she feels morally obligated to tell her story so she can wake up Americans. Recently, she testified before the Colorado Board of Education and told them: “Common core, in my eyes, is the same as the communist core I once saw in China…. Nationalized testing nationalized curriculum and nationalized indoctrination…. I cannot believe this is happening in this country. I don’t know what happened to America, the shining city on the hill. Chinese children are not trained to be independent thinkers….They are trained to be massive skilled workers for corporations.”
Williams has written an open letter she is releasing titled, “A Chinese Immigrant Mother Against Common Core.” She tells EAGnews she is sending the letter to the president, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Department of Education, her representatives in Congress and the school board members in her daughter’s district.
A video of her testimony before the Colorado Board of Education has gone viral and she says she’s been getting requests for radio and print publication interviews. She also has been invited to speak to New Yorkers United for Kids.
By virtue of her passion about the issue, she has become an activist who’s is trying to get others involved in opposing Common Core. Her website is http://www.lily4liberty.com and she encourages people to log in and download her letter so they can take it to their districts’ school board meetings and present it to their board members.