"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

Search This Blog

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Republican Utah Senators Understand Common Core Standards are Akin to Health Care Mandates: They Take Away State Control

Some legislators in Utah are having second thoughts about the common core standards that State Board of Education signed onto according to the Salt-Lake Tribune:

State education leaders decided last year to adopt new academic standards in an effort to better prepare students for college and the work force.

But now some lawmakers want State Board of Education members to reconsider adopting those standards out of concern that Utah might be losing some local control over education by doing so.

The Senate Majority Caucus passed a motion Tuesday asking the House Majority to join it in sending a letter to the state board asking it to reconsider adopting the new standards in place of Utah’s current ones, said Senate Majority Whip Wayne Niederhauser. The standards outline the concepts students should learn in each grade in math and language arts.

A State Board member who signed onto the standards said:

“I think there’s a misunderstanding that somehow the Common Core are federal standards,” Thomas said. “They’re not federal standards.”

I imagine this might be the same response from one of our Board members. Technically, they are not federal standards at this time, however, the standard writing funding process is partially federally funded and states take a risk by not signing onto the standards as Title 1 money will be withheld. The Federal Government has its hooks into the states with these standards.

The Utah senators are trying to slow down the process to determine:

  • exactly what are in the standards the Board agreed to for the students and school districts
  • how much these standards are going to cost when implemented
  • if the Federal Government mandates are binding
  • determining if Utah has any control over these new standards, i.e., "local control"
Maybe the Utah senators want to know exactly what's in the standards before they are implemented. Does that sound familiar? Regardless of your stance on the Health Care legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president, legislators should have known what was in the bill before they signed it. The Utah legislators apparently are in the same boat in as Missouri legislators. Signing on to the common core standards was decided by the appointed State Board members. It is no excuse, however, for Missouri legislators to tell voters they can't do anything about that decision.

They can do plenty to stop common core standards becoming the law in Missouri:
  • They can refuse to fund the unfunded costs (probably in the millions) incurred in implementing the standards;
  • They can write detailed legislation exempting public schools, charters, virtual, private and home schools from any current and future common core mandates;
  • They can amend the Constitution and give the power back to the Legislature for educational decisions.

The Missouri Legislature needs to take a play card from the Utah Legislature. Here are the quotes from the article that sum up the arguments of the 10th Amendment and the constitutional responsibility of the state:

“We’ve got a pig in a poke,” Buttars said. “We don’t know what we’ve got a hold of, yet we’ve been committed to it.”

Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said the caucus mostly was concerned about making sure Utah has control over its standards.

“We want to be able to reflect in our core standards what we teach in Utah, what Utah wants to teach and not what people from other places want to teach,” Niederhauser said. “That might match up in a lot of ways, but we want to be able to have control over that.”

Haven't we learned enough from the Health Care debacle (we need to pass it so we can know what is in it) to say "NO" to this educational decision giving away our right to teach our own state curriculum? Our legislators were tenacious in crafting state health care legislation exempting Missouri citizens from federal health care mandates. It is time for them to step up to the plate and do the same on these educational mandates that take away state choice of curriculum.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it clean and constructive. We reserve the right to delete comments that are profane, off topic, or spam.

Site Meter