Last week, North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest released a video explaining his opposition to his state’s rush to adopt Common Core national standards and tests and lending his support to the State Board of Education’s decision to review the standards over the next few months.
As a sitting member on the Board of Education, Forest says he is unsure how “a national one-size-fits-all standard will serve our students well and allow parents the ability to be engaged in educational decisions.”
Forest is also concerned about the financial burden of Common Core implementation. “In the rush to roll out Common Core, I am not convinced the proper due diligence has been conducted to properly budget for this monumental expenditure for our state.” This is troubling indeed for a state where education consumes 55 percent of the entire budget.
Forest is right to be wary of the cost of implementation. The Pioneer Institute has found that it will cost nearly $16 billion for states to align their systems to the new standards over the next seven years.
Forest is also concerned that Common Core would halt innovation and personalization in education: “The very premise of Common Core—to somehow standardize learning and test-taking—runs counter to the world of mass customization we live in where, via technology, curriculum and the learning experience can literally be customized to the needs of each individual student.”
To top it all off, Forest points out that Common Core has not been field tested in the state: “North Carolina is rushing to roll out a new educational standard that has not been field tested in any of our 115 school districts. It is like the [Food and Drug Administration] rolling out a new drug with no testing and no idea of the side effects. And then telling the public to trust us.”
The North Carolina State Board of Education will now begin reviewing Common Core in order to determine facts concerning costs, consequences, and efficacy. Forest notes that “a third of all states in our country have either rejected Common Core or are currently seeking legislative action to pause or back out of implementation.”
The board’s review of Common Core is a good first step. But regardless of the outcome of such reviews, governors and policymakers in every state should reject ceding control over what is taught in their schools to national organizations and Washington bureaucrats. Heritage’s Lindsey Burke argues that adopting Common Core national standards and tests “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.”
Following North Carolina’s example, states should look before they leap headfirst into Common Core implementation.
Elizabeth Henry is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please click here.