The Common Core State Standards are causing major discontent across the ideological spectrum. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has joined groups like the Republican National Committee, the American Association of Christian Schools, the Home School Legal Defense Association, Tea Party groups, public policy organizations, and parents across the country in expressing concerns about Common Core national standards and assessments. AFT president Randi Weingarten addressed her home state of New York last week calling for a delay in the stakes associated with Common Core assessments.
Weingarten argued that teachers are not adequately prepared to implement Common Core, and that at the present time, attaching high stakes to the Common Core assessments will cause more harm than good. “The fact that the changes are being made nationwide without anything close to adequate preparation is a failure of leadership, a sign of a broken accountability system and, worse, an abdication of our moral responsibility to kids, particularly poor kids,” Weingarten stated.
The union head proposed at least one year of field testing for the standards, as a matter of responsibility. She claimed that teachers and parents “must be a part of this.”
Weingarten addressed her home state of New York because, in her words, “they simply don’t get it in Washington.”
Weingarten’s statement acknowledges it is the parents and local leaders within the states who will bear the burden of Common Core. Parents have the most at stake over the education of their children, and should have a seat at the table when it comes to establishing the content taught in local schools. This is precisely why groups from across the spectrum are fighting against the centralization that Common Core represents. It strips control from the people who have the most at stake in the education endeavor: parents and taxpayers.
“Adopting Common Core national standards and tests surrenders control of the content taught in local schools to distant national organizations and bureaucrats in Washington. It is the antithesis of reform that would put control of education in the hands of those closest to the student: local school leaders and parents,” writes Heritage’s Lindsey Burke.
There are a variety of reasons to be concerned about the Common Core standards. One of the strongest reasons to oppose is that responsibility over what children are being taught should remain in the hands of the parents and local school leaders, and Common Core national standards are a threat to that very basic principle.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post mischaracterized the American Federation of Teachers’ position on the Common Core standards. This post has been corrected to reflect the organization’s position.