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Building the Machine Review by Jesse Bluma

Building the Machine Review

Imagine what the best learning environment looks like in your mind.  Now see why creating that environment is no easy task.  The movie paints an excellent picture of various viewpoints within the education field.  The stories, examples, interviews, movers, shakers, and statistics used in the documentary give us a clear understanding of why many people object to the federal Common Core standards.  Please share your thoughts and actions you are taking to ensure a good education for yourself and others.  

"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.

The Common Core is the largest systemic reform of American public education in recent history.  What started as a collaboration between the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to reevaluate and nationalize America’s education standards has become one of the most controversial—and yet, unheard of—issues in the American public."

The foundations for Common Core trace back to the 1992 presidential election.  Then president of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), Marc Tucker, wrote to then First Lady Hillary Clinton.  Tucker envisioned a national, comprehensive system.  He stated, “It needs to be a system driven by client needs (not agency regulations or the needs of the organization providing the services), guided by clear standards that define the stages of the system for the people who progress through it, and regulated on the basis of outcomes that providers produce for their clients, not inputs into the system.”  As the Bill Clinton presidency progressed, education laws were passed such as Goals2000, the School-to-Work Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  These laws gave more power to federal officials over education in the U.S. through standardization of the curriculum, testing, and data collection.

Hillary Clinton supported and promoted Common Core—an education initiative developed in 2009.  Common Core was implemented during the Barack Obama administration and supported by Clinton and others.  She maintained her support for the standards throughout the Obama presidency.  During the first debate of the 2016 presidential election, then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called Common Core “the most important non-family enterprise”.

Hillary Clinton was either unaware of the public’s dislike for Common Core or was attempting to politically advance the standards and testing methods in-spite of the fact.  However, the lack of support for Common Core was not lost on the Democrat National Committee.  Wikileaks, an international organization that publishes private and significant information, released an email from Eric Walker, Deputy Communications Director at the DNC.  In the email Walker stated,

“A)  Common Core is a political third rail that we should not be touching at all.  Get rid of it.

B)  Most people want local control of education so having Cruz and Trump saying it on a DNC video is counterproductive. Would get rid of any references to that.

C)  We wanted Christie in there bc he’s a trump surrogate / could be trump VP / most anti-teacher guy out there.  He’s yelled at pretty much everyone, there HAS to be video of him yelling at teachers and looking like a bully

D)  Need Cruz saying dept of ed should be abolished. If you can’t find it – use this from AFP summit: “The department of Education – which should be abolished”


Wayne Brasler, Sandra Stotsky, Jim Sturgios, Mike Petrilli, Andrew Hacker, Paul Horton, Ze'ev Wurman, Jim Milgram, Chester Finn, Bill Evers

Directed By

Ian A. Reid

Produced By

Suzanne Stephens, Michael Farris, Mike Smith

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Image Credit:  Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA),,

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