Sunday, January 03, 2016

Top 10 Reasons to Oppose Common Core

1. Common Core is a Federal Takeover of Education
The ultimate goal of Common Core is to have every school district follow the same national standards. This is a failed educational approach that will undermine educational quality and choice. States and local communities better know how to design standards based on their students and parents’ needs than Washington bureaucrats.

2. Common Core is Bad for Parents

Parents will not have a say in their child’s education under Common Core. They will not be able to suggest changes to their local school’s standards or enroll their child in another public school with better standards. Common Core would limit parental choice and shut their voices out of their child’s education. 

3. Common Core is Bad for Teachers

Teachers would have little control over their classrooms under Common Core. They will be forced to comply with standards decided upon by federal bureaucrat. This leaves little to no room for teachers to innovate to meet the unique needs of their students.

4. Common Core is Bad for Taxpayers

Common Core has a hefty price tag that will be paid by taxpayers in states. Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction estimates that Common Core will cost the state $300 million. California Department of Education estimates it will cost $759 million to implement the nationalized standards.   Common Core will cost taxpayers a lot of money while not improving education quality.

5. Common Core is Bad for Students

Common Core is a one-size-fits-all education policy that assumes every students learns exactly the same. A top down and centrally controlled standards will hurt students’ creativity and learning.  Good education policy realizes that all students have different learning styles, preferences, and paces.

6. Common Core Violates Privacy

The Race to the Top Grants associated with Common Core violates privacy by “data mining” information about students that will follow them the rest of their lives. The information collected is more than just test scores and academic progress. Common Core will track information on religious practices, political beliefs, “sex behaviors and attitudes”, and more.

7. Common Core Resembles Failed No Child Left Behind Program

A main criticism of the failed No Child Left Behind program is that teachers “teach the test.” This means that students are memorizing rather than learning and critical thinking about information. Common Core would resemble No Child Left Behind by requiring students to take national standardized tests to measure their progress.

8. Common Core is Unconstitutional

The federal government should not control education. Since education is not specifically listed in the Constitution, the authority over education should be left up to the states and the people. This allows localities from New York City to rural Alabama to design unique curriculums that are best for their students.

9. Common Core Will Require Some States to Move Backwards

Some states have advanced standards that are designed with students and parents in mind. Sandra Stotsky, a professor at the University of Arkansas, who served on the committee to validate Common Core standards said, “The standards dumb American education down by about two grades worth.”   Some states would have to move their standards backwards to comply with Common Core standards.

10. Common Core Is a Failed Education Approach

Washington has tried one-size-fits-all education approaches time and time again. Centralized education programs have not worked and will never work. The quality of education has only declined over the past few decades. The solution is to get the federal government out of the education business. 


Massachusetts Ditches Common Core

Soon, schools in Massachusetts will be free of the pernicious standards

There seems to be a recurring theme of liberal, New England states regretting the big government programs they implement. First, Vermont was forced to abandon its plans for a single-payer health care system upon finding that there was no way to pay for it. Now, Massachusetts is dropping out of the Common Core education standards that don’t work and that nobody likes.

While it’s surprising that a state like Massachusetts would see the light more quickly than many others, it’s not surprising that the standards have been a failure. A top down approach to education, from bureaucrats in Washington straight to your children’s ears, was always destined to be a disaster, due to a complete misunderstanding of how children learn.

The response to the imposition of these standards has been negative almost across the board. Students have opted out of the required tests in droves. The number of homeschoolers leaving the school system entirely is at a record high. Even the new education authorization bill working its way through Congress has included anti-Common Core language as a response to massive anger against the standards.

This anger has not just come from students and parents. Fewer than half of teachers approve of the standards, and several prominent teachers’ unions, the most unlikely of allies in this fight, have come out in opposition to Common Core.

In Massachusetts, the school board’s decision to withdraw was partially motivated by the state’s declining test scores after adopting the standards, a pattern that has been repeated in other states as well. For those always harping on the need for testable, empirical progress in education (a need which, frankly, I’m not convinced exists), this should be all the evidence they need that high stakes testing and one-size-fits-all standards don’t work to achieve their goals.

If even a liberal stronghold like Massachusetts can see the error of Common Core, and work to come up with a better solution, there’s no excuse for the rest of the country continuing to hold back. There’s no reason why conservative states like Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana should still be stuck with a big government program that makes their students worse off when they should be given the freedom to soar.

States like Oklahoma, Missouri, and South Carolina have already withdrawn from the standards, but Massachusetts is only a little late to the party. There is still much work to be done in the states where Common Core persists.


Tennessee to cut back teaching of Islam in Schools

 A Tennessee state legislator has proposed a state law that would prevent public schools from teaching anything about religious principles until students reach the 10th grade.

The bill from Rep. Sheila Butt of Columbia (about 45 miles south of Nashville) comes in response to a grassroots campaign across Tennessee by parents — primarily evangelical parents — against what they perceive as an inappropriate focus on Islam in history and social studies courses in middle schools.

Last month, for example, parents in the Nashville suburb of in Spring Hill expressed alarm because their children in a taxpayer-funded middle school are learning about the Five Pillars of Islam in a world history class. (The first and most important pillar is roughly translated as: “There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God.”) At the same time, the parents say, the course material pointedly ignores Christianity.


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