April 22, 2014

The Common Core blues: one size education doesn't fit all

By Anastasia P. Boden Attorney

Below is a collaboration between singer/songwriter Scott Simpson and South Dakota high school teachers, aptly titled,  “The Common Core blues.”  This lament may become the anthem for teachers across America, as states continue to accept the bribes inducements the federal government is offering in exchange for adopting Common Core.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdgVNSS-tz0

h/t Heartland Institute

My favorite lines:

“Cause those students are comin’ in from ‘Bama, Philadelphia, PA //They’re bringin’ all sorts of skill sets (who can make sense of this anyway?).”

“This whole process is really kinda strange.  How am I gonna use this back down home on the range?”

In other words, one size does not fit all.  Public school students in California are different from those in Nevada, let alone from those in New York, or from “back home on the range.”  Yet Common Core foists the same expectations (and as we’ve argued before, curriculum) on them all.  Worse, because the SAT is being re-written to align with Common Core, and because some states are insisting that school vouchers and tax credits only be used at Common Core-aligned schools, even private schools might be coerced into using the standards.

Happily, many states are asserting their independence by dropping the standards.  Indiana recently scrapped the program after the costs of implementing it incited public backlash.  Missouri’s House of Representatives and Oklahoma’s Senate have voted to get out, and Governor Bobby Jindal is pushing Louisiana is to do the same.  The South Carolina Board of Education and Department of Education are currently battling over whether the state will keep the Common Core assessments.  All in all, the Heritage Foundation counts 10 states that have downgraded their participation in the program, and 3 that have paused implementation altogether.

Even in New York, one of the earliest and most eager adopters of Common Core, there are growing complaints.  In February the teachers’ union withdrew its support of Common Core until major corrections took place, and parents have reported students no longer wanting to go to school because of the mandatory high stakes testing; it didn’t help that less than a third of students passed the new tests last year.

At PLF, we believe that giving parents meaningful choice over their children’s education, not luring cookie-cutter education with federal money, is the best way to improve the system.  But for now, most states are stuck singing the Common Core blues.

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