Have you been listening to the recent debate about the Common Core standards? If so, you should have noticed two things. First, the objections focus on things other than the standards that comprise Common Core: Common Core is being forced upon the states by the federal government. Common Core mandates teaching methods for the states. In essence, Common Core is a horrible overreach by big government.
The problem is, none of this is true. Reliable news sources have reported that Common Core was developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Common Core does not direct the states how to teach; it sets educational benchmarks to be met. The federal government’s involvement is limited to offering financial incentives to states that employ Common Core. These facts have been echoed by teaching professionals but, sadly, the facts are drowned out by the very vocal, but misinformed opponents.
Second, no one is talking about the most important aspect of Common Core—the kids, and what they should be learning. We hear a lot about this supposed federal intrusion into state education—which isn’t true—but no one talks about what Common Core means for kids. How is it that the people in the business of teaching think Common Core is good for our kids, but others criticize the program without addressing whether the standards themselves will make for better students?
Significant time has been spent developing the Common Core standards, and its opponents want to toss those standards, and all the related time and expense incurred in developing them, only so that more time and expense can be consumed in developing new standards. Really? Is anybody thinking about the kids?
Regrettably, politics has raised its ugly head in this mess. Governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana were in favor of Common Core just a couple years back. They have since backed off in their support, and Reuters News reported last week that Jindal filed suit against the federal government and seeks an injunction to stop the federal government from rewarding or penalizing states for participating in Common Core.
Ohio is not doing much better. Rep. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, is sponsoring House Bill 597, which would eliminate Common Core standards next year for Ohio schools. Huffman wishes “we would have had it [a debate on Common Core] four years ago.” Now that Common Core is here, don’t you think it’s a little late to be questioning it, especially when Ohio doesn’t have a better plan? Governor John Kasich’s support for Common Core has been lukewarm.
I understand the need for politicians to be sensitive to the voices of their constituents, but does that obligation exist when constituent criticism is based on false premises? Isn’t there an obligation to say, “Wait a minute, folks. Let’s look at the facts.”
Jack D’Aurora writes for considerthisbyjd.com
To subscribe to this blog, use the subscribe box at http://www.considerthisbyjd.com.