The Douglas County School Board in Colorado passed a resolution opposing the Common Core national standards due to the quality of the standards and on principle.
Douglas County has been setting a great precedent for education policy with the Douglas County Choice Scholarship Program and its merit-based pay for teachers. Now, it is working to ensure that what is taught in Douglas County schools is not determined by distant national organizations or bureaucrats in Washington.
In the resolution, Douglas County school board members stated that it is their constitutional duty and discretion to set curriculum and standards for their students. They uphold that duty by using “broad local control to pursue world-class education innovations and the most rigorous academic standards anywhere—innovations and standards that will prepare our students for the demands of the 21st century workplace and global economy.” They do not believe the Common Core standards allow them to uphold that duty or adequately prepare their students.
In their list of grievances against the Common Core, the school board members stated that the Common Core is not appropriate for Douglas County because the district’s current Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum (GVC) is “more rigorous, more thorough, and more directly tailored to the needs of Douglas County students” than the Common Core national standards.
The members stated that “the District’s leadership team has reviewed the Common Core Standards, and determined that they do not meet the expectations the District has for all of our students.” The district leadership has been working alongside teachers for more than a year to create the GVC, and they believe that their locally grown curriculum will “best prepare our students for the college or career of their choice in the 21st century”—and that the Common Core will not.
The members of the school board also voiced concern about the principle the national standards enforce: a top-down approach to education.
The board officially resolved its “general opposition to a one-size-fits-all application of the Common Core Standards, because local school districts should retain broad latitude in establishing customized, rigorous and high standards and guidelines for the maximum educational attainment of all students in their specific communities.”
Douglas County is standing on the principle that local leaders, not Washington bureaucrats, ought to have control over what local students are being taught. They state, “Our taxpayers, parents, teachers and students expect the very highest and rigorous standards.” The board plans to meet or exceed those expectations “at every turn, for every student, in every school.” The best means to do that is to leave it in the hands of those who know their students best: parents and local leaders.