One of the more hotly debated subjects in America right now is the subject of Common Core National Education standards. Videos of parents complaining to school boards have gone viral. To dispel the “Common Core misconceptions”, Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue had published Friday a letter to the editor of the Washington Post which said:
Common Core is not a curriculum, a federal program or a federal mandate. It was created at the state level. Curriculum remains within the control of districts, school boards, school leaders and teachers.
Donohue is responding to an article written by George Will where he states:
The Common Core represents the ideas of several national organizations (of governors and school officials) about what and how children should learn. It is the thin end of an enormous wedge. It is designed to advance in primary and secondary education the general progressive agenda of centralization and uniformity.
Opponents of Common Core cite the fact that it is, in fact, national education standards. According to the Common Core website:
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt.
Lindsey Burke, the Will Skillman Fellow in Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation, who has been following Common Core very closely argues that:
Common Core was developed by two national organizations, it’s adoption incentivized with billions in federal funding and waivers from the onerous provisions of No Child Left Behind, and the national tests funded with federal grants.
These are not the hallmarks of a “state-led” process. Moreover, these are not high standards. They are, to reference the work of Stanford professor of mathematics emeritus James Milgram, standards that prepare students for “non-selective community colleges.” The English Language Arts standards de-emphasize the reading of fiction and classic literature in favor of informational texts.
But most concerning, Common Core removes the ability of parents and teachers to direct academic content and will have a homogenizing effect on the educational choices available to families.