WHY COMMON CORE SHOULD BOTHER ALL REPUBLICANS
“Our current system of top-heavy, bureaucratic, centrally planned education is failing to ensure the quality of education our children need and deserve. Therefore, we support measures that maintain the independence of Louisiana schools from the federal government. We support keeping all Louisiana education dollars in Louisiana without going to maintain unneeded bureaucrats at the national level.
Real education reform means local control of curriculum, budget, textbook selection, and personnel in the public schools. We believe parents must have complete access to all information concerning curriculum and activities used in educating their children, and we believe parents must have access to all materials used for teacher development in the public school system.”
Considering the push to promote the Common Core State Standards Initiative in the state of Louisiana by many of our Republican legislators, it is surprising to note that the above quotes are from the platform of the Republican Party of Louisiana.
Since the implementation of these standards has begun in our state, citizens are educating themselves about the full agenda associated with Common Core. There are several Republican legislators in Louisiana who are aware of this and are working hard to rid Common Core from our state. Fortunately, this number is growing.
Many Republicans, like me, are wondering how other legislators, particularly Republicans, can support something which is in complete opposition to the platform which they are supposed to uphold. Have some of our elected Republicans failed to realize that when they run as a Republican and are elected as a Republican, their constituents expect them to vote and make decisions as a Republican as well as remain true to their party?
Common Core does not align with what Republicans represent. It does not align with our country represents. Both the Republican National Committee and the National Federation of Republican Women have been able to see this and both organizations passed resolutions opposing the Common Core State Standards.
Recently, US Representative Jeff Duncan (R-SC) sponsored a bill to retain state authority over education and denounce Obama’s coercion of states to adopt Common Core. Forty-two Republican representatives co-sponsored this resolution, including Louisiana’s John Fleming. There was also a similar Senate Resolution 345 drafted by Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and co-sponsored by nine other Republicans.
The driving force behind creation of these resolutions is due to the amount of authority that these national standards and their associated assessments take from the local districts and states and gives to the federal government. This action is in violation of the United States Constitution which does not give a role to the federal government in dictating what is taught and how it is tested in our children’s classrooms. During a 2010 speech to UNESCO, United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated,
“Traditionally, the federal government has had a limited role in education policy. The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more.”
It seems that Mr. Duncan forgot that it is the Constitution that has limited the role of the federal government in education, not tradition.
The federal government’s role in this initiative is undeniable. After the Bill Gates-funded standards were developed, the federal government worked hard to coerce the states to adopt them through the Race to the Top competitive grant, NCLB waivers, and Title I funds. In Obama’s Blueprint for Reform, it states:
“Beginning in 2015, formula funds will be available only to states that are implementing assessments based on college- and career-ready standards that are common to a significant number of states.”
This report failed to mention that college-ready is defined by Common Core standards creator Dr. Jason Zimba as meaning ready for a non-selective community college, not a four-year college.
The federal government is also exerting its control through its agreement with participating states in the testing consortia (PARCC and SBAC), which are funded exclusively by the federal government. The purpose of these groups is to create the Common Core-aligned assessment tests and provide individual student data to the US Dept. of Education – which can share it with whomever they choose due to recent changes to the FERPA law. They will also provide curriculum frameworks to assist teachers. This is in direct violation of the General Education Provisions Act. In the cooperative agreements between the US Dept. of Education and the member states, it mandates that these participating states report fully and often to the US Dept. of Education, produce:
“all student-level data in a manner consistent with an industry-recognized open-licensed interoperability standard” that is approved by the Department and must “working with the Department to develop a strategy to make student-level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis for research, including for prospective linking, validity, and program improvement studies; subject to applicable privacy laws.”
It is obvious that the largest overreach of the federal government occurs within its role in SBAC and PARCC. Since high-stakes assessment tests ultimately result in teachers feeling pressured to “teach to the test,” the curriculum will inevitably be developed based upon these federally-funded tests. By default, the control of curriculum will not remain in the hands of our local school districts. It will be our federal government who is in charge of what and how our children learn.
Critics of the Common Core initiative, including myself, are not misinformed but rather quite educated on what is behind this particular attempt at education reform.
- We reject what our state officials are trying to force on us.
- We are aware that this is an attempt to improve our workforce, not an attempt to improve education.
Common Core is a political movement that is being driven by money and an agenda.
Now, we are just waiting to see the next step of our Republican legislators.
- Will they give in to the big businesses who are promoting Common Core because of their potential future profits or their belief that these unproven, untested standards will provide them with a better workforce?
- Will they continue to arrogantly assume they know what is best and blame the criticism on “hysteria”?
- Will they act as elitists, or will they listen to their constituents who are loudly rejecting the initiative of Common Core?
Big businesses might be able to provide funds and support campaigns, but the common citizens are the ones who can provide votes. We are watching to see if our Republican legislators will remain true to the platform of their party and true to the beliefs of their constituents. We will remember what they decide when we next cast our votes.
Let me just start by saying I am not a Republican do it would probably be inappropriate for me to write this piece. I’m also not a Democrat, Tea party member, Greenie, Reform Party member, or Libertarian. I share some of the same beliefs and goals as each of these parties, but I am not beholden to any of them. Throughout my life I’ve thought I belonged to one or another of these groups, but over time I realized I didn’t want to belong to anyone but myself and my own ideals. That’s not to say any of these groups are inherently “bad” or wrong or that belonging to a political party is bad or wrong, just that doing so does not work for me personally. Every day I see more and more dysfunction in Washington and in our own Capital, and every day I feel a little better about my own personal decision. There are advantages to belonging to a party such as money, organization, and in some cases matching animal symbols. (If Democrats had cooler symbols than elephants and donkeys, like Griffin’s and Dragons I might change my mind, but I am in no hurry to commit myself to such an uncool symbols. . . and besides, doing so would clash with my whole Crawfish angle.)
Political Parties have platforms. These are the ideals ideas and stances that drive their agenda, or at least they are supposed to. Many people are drawn to these ideals and principles and commit themselves to upholding supporting them through a collective effort, through their party. What I have seen too often is parties that fail uphold their own ideals, or allow outside money and influence to dictate how actively they pursue their goals. In some cases I’ve seen parties take the exact opposite of their proclaimed stance. I would understand that approach if it was done openly, but all too often it is not. I sometimes switch my longer held beliefs when presented with new information, circumstances or realizations. For instance; when I was in my teens and twenties I prized personal freedom above safety, now that I have kids to protect I am much more appreciative of sobriety checkpoints, metal detectors, and ID checks at cash registers and movie theatres. I think that is a natural progression and I will be the first to admit it and I see nothing dishonest about that type of personal evolution. What I have a problem with is what one of my readers, Anna Arthurs, describes. When a group forsakes and abandons its own ideals and values it betrays all of the members who had committed to that group and those beliefs it loses all credibility in the eyes of its members.
Obama’s education policies that widen the divide between the haves and have nots and promote a corporate takeover of Curriculum and schools, for the purpose of raising campaign funds and enriching wealthy donors will drive a lot of folks from the Democrat party. I wonder if the Republican embracement of nearly identical policies will drive a similar flight from their party as well? I see that happening if they continue to lie to their constituents about promoting local control over Big Government, corporate rights to educate and control children over parent’s rights to determine what is right for their own children. Frankly, I don’t see that as a winning stance for any Party, but I have no doubt it could be a very profitable one as there will be plenty of money available to those willing to sell out their constituents. Which way will Republicans take on this issue? According to their “Platform” they took the right way, but according to their actions . . . ?