On October 17th, in the Argus Leader “My Voice” column, the Argus Leader published a letter titled, “Common Core Should be Welcomed Not Feared.”
I want to take the time to address each and every one of your comments so if this gets long, I will try to stay on target. Before I begin, I’d like to say that I’ve only known about the Common Core Standards for 2 weeks. In that time, I’ve started researching everything I can find about CC. What I have found is that this is like an octopus with many tentacles and each one digging deeper into our freedoms and ideals. I will address each comment as I understand it, then wrap up my response with some additional information.
In my rebuttal, I will paraphrase your article, so if I chose a different word than you outlined it’s because I don’t have the complete article in front of me as I’m writing this.
You said there was a significant amount of misinformation. There is actually significantly less information being published than what is really there. I’ve found that the government websites, state websites, CC websites, & National Governors association websites all speak to this one idea, the government is taking over our education system and putting the squeeze on states to tow the line.
You stated that CC is not a specified curriculum, not federally mandated, not federally funded, nor taking away control from local educators. I don’t just disagree, here’s what I’ve found. First, under the NCLB program, educators have been held hostage by punishing them for failure, instead of rewarding them for success. This information can be found on the US Department of educations website at ww.ed.us.gov/… When you say that it was not federally mandated, the first line of the article refutes that claim. It is “The Obama administration’s blueprint to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) will support state and local efforts to help ensure that all students graduate prepared for college and a career.” If the administration set the blue print, then it is federally mandated. Also, in the RTTT grant, there is a waiver for the states that opted to take CC as their standards. It was an either or proposition. Either you could keep NCLB or you could adopt CC. So technically, it was federally mandated.
So let’s talk about the funding. Your right as far as South Dakota did not get any money to implement the CC standards, but the US department of education got a whapping $100 Billion dollars to get this thing kicked off. I would venture to say that most sensible people would say that is federally funded at its core. Pun intended.
You said that CC is a set of standards developed to ensure kids develop rigorous skills to compete in the global world. What? That statement doesn’t say anything sensible. Is it a lot of skills? is it a lot of skills working very hard or fast? I don’t even understand that statement.
You said the CC idea was generated by 45 governors. The National Governors Association sponsored a group of educators to develop the standards. NGA is actually a lobby organization that represents the governors, not the governors themselves.
You said it was developed by teachers, parents, and researchers. I can’t totally argue against that point, but the team included David Coleman, William McCallum, Phil Daro and Student Achievement founder, Jason Zimba.
You said that much examination and research by the public educational professionals and concerned members of the public went into adopting the standards in 2010. You are spot on about the educators researching the standards. I’ve learned that they were already getting ready to review those standards because of cyclical reviews of the states standards. Timing for these standards couldn’t have been any riper. I also know that the SD DOE gave them due diligence and at face value, they did appear to be better. The broke them down standard by standard and compared them to what we already had and they looked good in comparison. I believe our educators got the old bait and switch performed on them. The bill of goods they were sold in the beginning sounded really nice and very well packaged as a product of the states, when it was actually a product of the federal government.
This program is not research based more than the group that developed the standards. They are not bench marked to other nations standards. In 2010 the US ranked 14th in the world for our education standards. President Obama determined at that time to change the downward spiral of our results compared to the other developed nations of the world. Since making that commitment and implementing these new standards, we have fallen to 17th. If they are benchmarked, just tell me which county it is, because we are behind the following in ranking: Finland, South Korea, Hong Kong, japan, Singapore, UK, Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland, Denmark, Australia, Poland, Germany, & Belgium. If standards based education is so great, then why didn’t we improve under the NCLB standards or the CC standards that were adopted in 2010? The fact is that there is no tangible research to say that standards based education alone works. All 33 countries on the list have national standards.
You said CC had rigorous standards based on the best models from around the country. We don’t really know that because, we don’t have any comparison charts to show us who they were compared to.
I could go on and on and point you to the research that I’ve found in just a few weeks of digging, but I’ll save that for another time. You need to do your own research and see how CC, SBAC, SLDB, ESEA all tie together to put the noose around the American publics neck.