Friday, February 20, 2015

Is Common Core Really Dangerous?


See article at:

Finding legitimate reasons to abandon Common Core has proven to be difficult. I did find an article on the objections of some conservatives.

As George Will stated in a Washington Post column, “What begins with mere national standards must breed ineluctable pressure to standardize educational content. Targets, metrics, guidelines and curriculum models all induce conformity in instructional materials.”

The creeping incrementalism theory never worked for me. It’s all about saying that this opens the door to a terrible situation; when it starts to become terrible, we stop it right there.

When SAT, ACT, and GED exams are “aligned” with Common Core, homeschooled students—as well as students educated in private schools—may be pressured into adopting Common Core for curriculum at home so that they are familiar with the presentation of material on the newly aligned college entrance exams.”

When one actually looks at the material, it becomes clear that they focus on skills, not content. Thus, one cannot really “adopt Common Core for curriculum”—it doesn’t really provide curricular content. One could use it to measure the difficulty and proficiency of one’s curriculum, but that’s slightly different.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says that the state should set the standards.  How’s that working? In a recent evaluation the state rated 48th among the states and D.C. I think I brought that out last time.

Does anyone doubt that much of the objection is because it is being promoted by President Obama? Is the opposition of parents because of the consequences of their children failing are so great?

The only objections that I can see are that teaching will be solely aimed at passing the test and that it may lessen the broader aspects of being an educated person. Perhaps the tests can be better constructed, but the concept is still sound.

Jindal’s Budgeting Skill

In a state the size of Louisiana, the shortfall is huge. But it is all the more daunting considering that the governor has unequivocally ruled out any plans for new revenue, bone-deep cuts have already been made to health care and higher education, ad hoc revenue sources that could be found to fill the gap have been all but drained and that robust economic growth, which might cushion the blow, has yet to materialize.

Tyler Bridges’ Scathing Assault on Bobby Jindal’s Budget Performance In POLITICO

But here’s what Jindal doesn’t say: Louisiana’s budget is hemorrhaging red ink, and it’s getting worse. He inherited a $900 million surplus when he became governor seven years ago, and his administration’s own budget documents now show the state is facing deficits of more than $1 billion for as far as the eye can see. There are no easy solutions today because Jindal has increasingly balanced the budget by resorting to one-time fixes, depleting the state’s reserve funds and taking money meant for other purposes. Louisiana finished 2014 with an operating deficit of $167 million. 

“There are all kinds of tricks in the budget,” said Greg Albrecht, the state legislature’s chief economist, a nonpartisan position. Meanwhile, the state’s unemployment rate has risen from 3.8 percent when Jindal took office, a point below the national average then, to 6.7 percent today—nearly a full point higher than today’s national average. 

For more on the story, see Rod Dreher’s “How Bobby Jindal Wrecked Louisiana,” published in, of all places, “American Conservative."

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