Common Core: The Worst of Both Parties

Re-posted with permission of Education Freedom Ohio   Posted on April 29, 2013 | 2 Comments

(The following is a rebuttal to Jeb Bush’s Op-Ed about Common Core, Columbus Dispatch 4/27/13)

Unfortunately, Jeb Bush’s recent OpEd only parroted false talking points about national Common Core standards, especially given the failure to disclose the millions that his “Foundation for Excellence in Education” received from Common Core developers (like Fordham, Business Round Table and others). This is just further proof that Common Core represents the worst of both political parties: Big business crony capitalism and overreaching, big government progressivism.

Common Core was not a state-led initiative; it was the brain child of President Obama’s education advisers, DC-based trade unions and special interest think-tanks. With 2009 Stimulus money, the feds earmarked $4.35 billion to the US Dept. of Education, that in turn offered states a chance to compete for the money via “Race to the Top” Grants (RTTT). Consultants were deployed from the heavily-funded National Governor’s Association and Chief Council of State School Officials (DC-based trade unions) to help the states comply, and as a mere condition of submitting the RTTT application, governors agreed to adopt a set of national standards sight unseen, before they were completed or had the name “Common Core.”

Sadly, only a handful of governors realized that they had neither the authority nor desire to bypass the people, and surreptitiously adopt a set of standards so they could find out what was in them. The process is in violation of three federal laws. Still, Ohio was granted $400 million.

The legislature (and by extension Ohioans) were bypassed. Legislatively, Common Core is a set of RTTT compliance points inserted under various names (the more points in place, the more money Ohio was eligible to receive). This is why Speaker Batchelder’s aide has sent out two sets of [false] talking points to inform House members befuddled by all the calls about Common Core.

So most legislators are funding a program about which they know nothing, or how much it will ultimately cost. That $400 million is a high price to pay for our state sovereignty and local control, and a drop in the bucket compared to the wholesale replacement of local resources, training, and technology infrastructure for testing and data mining. Ohioans pay nearly $7 billion for K-12 education each year, and the feds come in with $400 million and call the shots?

Per the Ohio Revised Code, our State Board is supposed to prescribe and develop standards, curricula and assessments organically, with local input and actual teachers, not relinquish that responsibility to national, unelected, unaccountable entities who hold the copyright for Common Core.

Mr. Bush said, “Common Core standards will challenge students to read critically, write extensively and solve real-world math problems at greater capacity.” If this were about standards, we wouldn’t be having a debate…

Members of Common Core’s own validation committee refused to sign off on the standards because they put our kids at least two years behind those of other industrialized nations. No Algebra until high school and a 50% slash in Classic Literature to be replaced with “non-fiction informational” reading just scratches the surface. That’s not the way to “American Exceptionalism” Mr. Bush, and regardless, the greatest standards in the world aren’t worth ceding local control to national, unelected, unaccountable entities.

Another concern is the P20 Student Longitudinal Data System designed to track 400 data points on our kids from “cradle to career” (their words). Not just academic information to be shared with other schools, but thanks to holes punched in the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, all types of information may be shared with the US Departments of Education, Labor and HHS, as well as outside “for profit” entities who may want to market to your child. SLDS information even trumps HIPPA. Good luck going through the feds to change a mistake made on your education record; it will be easier to get a felony removed.

The ideas behind the P20 stem from big government micro-managers, and were seeded by big business cronies who will benefit greatly from the very expensive technology, training and resource material.

Corporate Ed meets Fed Ed.

The expanding movement to roll back Common Core is fueled by intellectually consistent folks on both sides of the aisle. Traditionally, a national one-size-fits-all approach to education yields the very opposite of high standards. Ohio lawmakers and education officials need to stop funding and implementation of Common Core, roll up their sleeves and develop standards organically instead of imposing this top-down approach.

Local control, choice and strong parent-teacher relationships breed the innovation and best practice models necessary to set and attain high standards. Implement Common Core, and we destroy the very mechanisms vital to success.

Category: Common Core State Standards, Ohio Education News

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