Saturday, February 14, 2015

Common Core


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Common Core

Common Core Standards attacked by Republicans

The Republican National Committee passed a resolution bashing the Common Core standards, calling them an “inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children.” Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, sent a letter to colleagues on the appropriations subcommittee that handles education funding asking that they “restore state decision-making and accountability with respect to state academic content standards.”

Of what are the Republicans afraid? They contend that curriculum is a state issue, Entrance to a university is not a state issue; admissions departments do not take into account that an unqualified applicant is from a state with lower standards, neither does the global jobs marketplace.

The Republicans are backed by an array of organizations with multimillion dollar budgets of their own and much experience in mobilizing crowds and lobbying lawmakers, including The Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, the Pioneer Institute, Concerned Women for America and FreedomWorks."

Bobby Jindal, Louisiana governor, was for CC before he was against it. His change of heart was caused by his attempt to be the perfect conservative, while campaigning for president.

According to the Report Card on American Education, Louisiana ranked 48th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It did, however, get an A- on identifying effective teachers. What the state does with that information is unknown. The state ranks 23rd in  cost per student.

Who is the constituency against CC? Where do the concerns of parents lie? Some parents simply want to weaken requirements for their children. Many are afraid of the consequences of failing the tests.

What are the best examples of successful educational programs in the world? Let us look at Finland and South Korea:

Ninety-three percent of Finns graduate from academic or vocational high schools, 17.5 percentage points higher than the United States, and 66 percent go on to higher education, the highest rate in the European Union. Yet Finland spends about 30 percent less per student than the United States. Against my point, Finland does very little testing.

Every year South Korea comes to a halt on the day of high school exams, for it is the most important day in most South Koreans' lives. The single set of multiple-choice tests that students take that day determines their future. This all-or-nothing exam is causing considerable stress and may be replaced in some fashion.

So what’s my point? I am a firm believer in a Common Core, but we may have to revisit the testing regime.

We will have more on legitimate reasons to oppose CC next time.

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