"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

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Romney Comes Out Against Common Core

There is that moment in the very early morning, when the sun has not yet risen in the sky but when there is clearly brightening on the horizon that begins to focus on a single point of light. For those opposing Common Core, that moment occurred yesterday in an interview between candidate Romney and Brian Williams at the NBC organized Education Nation Summit in New York. In that exchange, Romney said, “I don’t subscribe to the idea of the federal government trying to push the Common Core onto various states." In referring to the Race To The Top tactic used to foist the standards on the states he said, "To financially reward states based on accepting the federal government’s  idea of a curriculum is a mistake.” 

So if Governor Romney wins maybe we can expect Washington to cease and desist on national standards (or whatever they want to call them by then.) How do we know this?  Because Romney also said that states who have chosen to adopt the Common Core States Standards would be on their own to implement it.  “If you have chosen it, congratulations. Work on it and do it within the resources of your own state.”  There will be no further funding of Common Core from Washington.

Any idea that the Consortia might be able to go back to the well for more funding after September 2014 pretty much dries up if Romney is elected. That makes it all the more likely that states/districts signed on to Common Core will bear the entire future fiscal burden of supporting the assessment consortia. This is yet another warning bell that the time to get out of Common Core is now.
American Principles in Action (APIA), a leading opponent of the Common Core State Standards, praised Romney’s stated opposition.

“We applaud Governor Romney’s bold support for states and local communities to decide what’s best for their children, restoring power over education from the hands of the federal government to where it belongs,” said APIA’s Emmett McGroarty. “He is right to warn that the national authorities may have an agenda and should be prevented from pushing it on the states. Unfortunately, just as with Medicare reform, the federal government has resorted to coercing now more than 40 states into adopting the Common Core.” Caffeinated Thoughts Sept 25, 2012
From this bright point on the horizon from the Romney campaign, we are optimistic. Further, he recognizes the importance of family in education. "The idea that somehow schools are entirely separate from the home, from the economic circumstances of the home, from the social experiences of the home, that's just not reality. The home is an integral part of the education system and the best teachers in the world can't possibly overcome a home that is completely pulling in a very different direction."

Tempering our enthusiasm is his apparent support for Condoleezza Rice's dangerous comment that education will be the greatest civil rights issue of our generation which his campaign posted on Face Book. In our litigious society, making something a civil right has very serious consequences. Just look at all the craziness that happened when Canada made same sex marriage a "civil right."

Add to this the fact that Romney says he likes the Obama administration new teacher-evaluation systems and the idea of expanding charter schools, and you get a mixed vote on Romney in education.  His businessman thinking is quite clear. A good business always has a quality review of its product line to keep the end user happy (and paying.) His support for charters is in line with his fiscal view of Washington. He would like DC to be doing/spending a lot less, and nothing is off the table. If there is a way for another entity (a state, a business) to take over something the federal government is doing, and probably not doing efficiently, he is open to exploring that option.

For now, let's focus on that small point of light and prepare to do our work for as long as the sun remains in the sky.

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