Former Republican governors supporting President Obama’s Common Core education reforms may be riding a Trojan Horse.
Probably the most visible of these is former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. “As America’s top competitors lengthen their leads over other countries, the U.S. is mired in a debate over whether or not the federal government had any involvement in the Common Core State Standards – a state-driven initiative to raise minimum reading and math expectations in kindergarten through twelfth grades,” he stated in an op-ed which appeared in Human Events, the conservative weekly newspaper. “That’s right – policymakers across the nation have spent hours upon hours of debate on whether or not we should expect a child to understand the components of a sentence, such as identifying a noun or verb, by the end of the third grade.”
“The old standards in the vast majority of states do not stand up to the challenges of a 21st century economy. Common Core State Standards are the very least we must do to accelerate student learning. Instead of debating whether or not to go backward or stick with the higher standards adopted by 45 states, let’s contemplate going even farther.”
Meanwhile, Florida’s current Republican governor, Rick Scott, withdrew from Common Core. “While the debate surrounding Common Core Standards has become polarized into a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ discussion, we heard during the Education Summit that most education leaders agreed on two things,” Scott recently averred. “We agree that we should say ‘yes’ to high standards for Florida students and ‘no’ to the federal government’s overreach into our education system. Therefore, I notified the federal government that Florida would be withdrawing from PARCC [The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers], and at the same time we will hold public comment sessions to receive input on any alterations that should be made to the current Common Core Standards.”
Former Michigan governor John Engler endorsed Common Core late last summer in an appearance at the Center for American Progress, President Obama’s favorite think tank. Engler now heads the Business Roundtable.
Increasingly, Common Core proponents are not only scant of information but short-fused with those who seek it, as Baltimoreans found when one of their own attempted to question local officials about the program.
“Last night I attended a ‘forum’ held by our school system,” one of Michelle Malkin’s readers wrote in a letter to the author and columnist. “In a nutshell, it was an hour and a half long and the first hour was listening to Dallas Dance (county superintendent), Lillian Lowery (state superintendent),a PTA leader, and a teacher from Catonsville High School basically tell us how great this was going to be.”
“Then we [watched] a video starting with Martin O’Malley saying how great it was, and then other ‘educators’ saying how great it was. Finally, Dallas Dance read some written questions submitted by parents for the other three in the forum to answer. They were mostly softball questions of course and you could feel everyone’s frustration that no hard-hitting questions were being asked.”
“Finally, a frustrated parent got up and interrupted Lillian Lowery and was challenging one of her pre-planned answers. He was not rude but they had security come in to take him out. Luckily a parent was videotaping the event and sent it to our local media.” Perhaps technology can save public education after all.
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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