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A Core Concern

KSAL Staff - August 13, 2013 8:26 am

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The Hutchinson News:

Overblown concerns about Common Core won’t improve education

Some political groups and Kansas lawmakers who are pushing against the adoption of Common Core Standards in public schools could use a dose of education, and perhaps something to refresh their memories.

Common Core standards have been adopted as a way to measure student progress and achievement in English language arts and math in 45 states. They are, more or less, the new and improved version of No Child Left Behind, which was one of the signature initiatives of former President George W. Bush.

It is a state-led effort, developed by the National Governors Association, along with education experts throughout the nation. Its aim is to establish benchmarks that states can use to ensure students have the necessary skills to enter college or the work force.

It was not developed by the federal government and is not a sinister plot to nationalize the country’s public education system. It’s an effort, much like NCLB, to improve educational outcomes for U.S. students – and, like NCLB, federal education dollars have been tied to adoption of the Common Core standards, which is not a new practice by the federal government.

Yet, that didn’t stop some lawmakers from attempting to derail Common Core at the end of the regular legislative session in Topeka. It didn’t stop the creation of a group, Kansans Against Common Core, which hopes to remove Kansas as a participating state. And it didn’t stop the local TEA Party group – the Patriot Freedom Alliance – from flying in a speaker from the Koch-funded Heartland Institute to provide misinformation about how Common Core is akin to Soviet-style communism.

Such groups might do the country’s future a favor by working to find solutions to the country’s education issues rather than drumming up an apocalyptic warning that serves no purpose beyond creating fear and distrust.

The country’s education system is in dire straits – of that there is no doubt. American students are falling behind students from other modernized countries, and there’s little evidence that trend will soon change. Some argue that it’s a lack of funding, while others argue that public, taxpayer-funded education has outlived its effectiveness.

Yet the underlying problem is that teachers – who simply want to help students learn and prepare for the future – often find themselves caught in a whirlpool of competing ideologies and the accompanying measurements, matrices and quality control tests that develop around the latest in teaching standards.

Under NCLB, teachers spent far too much time and effort proving to state officials – and eventually federal education officials – that they were teaching and their students were learning. Common Core likely will come with its own load of unnecessary paperwork – but it is no more a federal takeover of education than Bush’s less vilified attempts at education reform.

As long as groups like the Heartland Institute, Kansans Against Common Core and the local Patriot Freedom Alliance waste time on mythical problems, they fail to contribute anything meaningful to the real discussion that needs to happen about how to improve public education.

Bob Bowser

August 18, 2013 at 10:43 am

Why are so many states considering opting OUT of Common Core if it is so wonderful the?
Why is data mining (violation of privacy) such an issue if this is a good program?
How can Kansans afford the increase in testing when liberals are already complaining that our school systems are underfunded?
And why were there NO educators involved in the development of Common Core Standards?
Once again a smear by liberal media against Patriots who are actually CONCERNED about future generations’ well-being rather than fattening their own pocketbooks. All of these groups are privately funded versus Common Core which has been funded by government from inception.
I find it to be the DUTY of Citizens to stand against tyranny in all forms and NEVER a “waste”.
“Give me control of the education of your youth and I will give you a 1000 year Reich. — guess who

wallace white

August 23, 2013 at 11:08 am

Common Core is a one sized fits all approach to big govt education. Govt will determine early in life what they feel you are skilled in and put you on a pathway much the same way China does. If you are a late bloomer, you are going to be left behind.

Furthermore, the focus on method and NOT results.– Let me quote a common core official…. “OFFICIAL: But even under the new Common Core, even if they said three times four was eleven, if they were able to explain their reasoning and explain how they came up with their answer really in words and in oral explanation and they showed it in the picture but they just got the final number wrong, we’re really more focusing on the “how.”

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