To the Editor: This letter is eight months in the making. That’s how long I’ve wanted to write it. The reason for my hesitancy was because everyone kept telling me, “wait til after the election.” Well, by the time you read this, the election will have taken place and the winners will be basking in the glow of their victory. Late last March, together with a small group of middle to senior-aged, average citizens, I became immersed in a crusade to defeat an enemy, namely the “Common Core State Standard Initiative.” The year has sped by in a blink and this agenda is due to be fully implemented in the 2014/2015 school year. Common Core (CCSS), contrary to proponent’s views, is a gross, top down, federally funded (your tax money), one size fits all takeover of the education system in our beloved country. For those citizens who think Obamacare is an over-reach, just wait till you meet ObamaCORE! Your children and grandchildren are already being indoctrinated with CCSS learning. It’s been happening slowly as not to call attention to it. Since June 2010 what was put out to be a voluntary selection by governors for states to receive funding for their schools. At the onset, just Math and English would be the focal point of the standards. Of course there was a catch. The governors had to sign on the dotted line that they would adopt CCSS in order to be eligible to receive the grant money. 45 states, including the District of Columbia took the bait and got the booty. N.J. got $38 million, while Tenn. got $400 million. Five courageous states pushed back and would not comply. Those states include, Va., Neb., Texas, Alaska and Minn. I so admire their tenacity. They knew that nationalization of the system is not what we want for our students. One size, does not fit all! Since we, Concerned Citizens of South N.J. have been doing our own homework, we found that CCSS was never field tested, no cost analysis was ever done and parents and most teachers were completely in the dark about what the curriculum is or isn’t, depending on how you look at it. There were just two experts on a review panel to look at Common Core. Dr. Sandra Stotsky of the Pioneer Institute and the University of Ark., member of Common Core’s Validation Committee who refused to sign off on the Standards, criticizes the ELA standards as “empty skill sets … [that] weaken the basis of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework.” Common Core’s focus on skill sets rather than true content is unlikely to genuinely educate students in English.” Folks, I am neither an expert nor an educator but I am a cheerleader for children's freedoms. One fact that I must state here is that we must not let our children be used as pawns in an effort by big government to dumb down the curriculum and turn our precious youth into creatures of mediocrity. Please urge your legislators to pass Senate bill 2973, and Assembly bill 4407, to halt the implementation of CCSS and establish a task force to review the standards and hold public hearings. Your help is urgently needed to save our educational freedom. For further info, call (609) 846-7842, or email email@example.com.