Public School Nationalism

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Arguably America’s public schools worked better when there were truly local. Yet a series of U. S. presidents—Republican and Democratic—have added even more centralization to the schools.

Enter the Obama Administration, which, as with so many programs, has really put this trend on a fast track. “The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, both influential Washington, DC-based organizations, collaborated to create the so-called Common Core standards,” Pacific Research Institute (PRI) education analyst Lance Izumi said in an interview with PRI’s magazine Impact. “These subject matter and college-and-career-readiness standards were then used as de facto national standards by the Obama Administration.”

“Not only did states have to sign onto these Common Core national standards to earn critical points under Race to the Top (RTTT), in early 2011 President Obama told the nation’s governors that he wanted states to adopt national standards as a pre-condition for receiving federal Title I funding for disadvantaged students.”

Izumi was recently appointed to sit on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for California Community Colleges. “Various studies, including a co-sponsored study by PRI, estimate one-time costs to California of around $1.5 billion, with seven-year costs running near $2.4 billion,” Izumi noted. “And the sad upshot is that California did not win a RTTT grant, so the state will have to absorb these costs with no federal financial help.”

Moreover, among the privileged few who have seen the Common Core standards, some scholars argue that they may be new but are not necessarily improved. Stanford math professor James Milgram judges them “written to reflect very low expectations.” Dean Porter, dean of Penn’s graduate school of education claims they “do not represent a meaningful improvement over existing state standards.

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

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