"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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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Common Core Wars Heating up in Indiana from the Chamber of Commerce

Indiana will face a vote in the Senate to advance a bill to rid itself of Common Core.  Anngie and I were there for the testimony and rally a couple of weeks ago.  Five hundred citizens showed up at the Capitol to show their support for stopping Common Core in their state.

The reformers might be getting worried.  Below is an editorial insinuating taxpayers frankly don't understand why private corporations should be given the authority to own the copyright to the standards and assessments used in teaching their children...and if a parent or a school district should find some of these items objectionable, they have no due process to stop using it in their schools.  From indianabarrister.com and Indiana Chamber: Show Common Sense on Common Core:


It’s a bit amazing, but right now – with a Republican supermajority – we are fighting hard to keep in place a major component of the K-12 education reforms that former Gov. Mitch Daniels and former Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett implemented here and have helped lead around the nation. The state’s new Common Core academic standards are under assault from a contingent of out-of-state interest groups, conservative Republican legislators and tea party activists.

Senate Bill 193, sponsored by Sen. Scott Schneider (R-Indianapolis), would effectively overturn the state’s 2010 approval and subsequent participation in the Common Core academic standards. Forty-six states have adopted the Common Core program, an initiative to set strong standards for what students learn at each grade level in math and English that is also designed to get students ready for college and careers. The program is already being implemented in Indiana and enjoying unusual bipartisan and broad-based support, including among classroom teachers.

Beginning in 2009, governors and state commissioners of education from 48 states committed to developing common K-12 benchmarks in math and English. They sought significantly more rigorous academic standards and testing programs for their states. Common Core opponents charge it is designed to “nationalize” academic standards and testing, citing the Obama administration’s support for this state-led effort as evidence of sinister intent.

This is nonsense. Common Core was and still is a state-led effort. Indiana was one of the early states to approve and implement the program. In fact, Gov. Daniels and Dr. Bennett were key leaders in helping states around the country – now 46 states – to approve the program. Common Core opponents know that if they can tear it down in Indiana first, the foundation will begin to crumble across the country.
 Is Common Core perfect? Of course not; no initiative is. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has acknowledged that some of the critics – at least those focused on contents of the standards rather than hysterical exaggerations of federal intrusion – may have some legitimate concerns that should be evaluated.  But those concerns, if legitimate, can be offset by the flexibilities contained within the Common Core and through corresponding adoptions of rigorous assessments and accountability measures. There is no need to overreact.

Rather than subjecting our academic standards to the politicized environment of the Legislature, such determinations and oversight need to remain in the hands of our state’s education leaders, including the Department of Education, the Education Roundtable and the State Board of Education. Ironically, while critics of the Common Core have heaped praise on Indiana’s previous state standards, they consistently overlook the fact that those highly-rated standards were adopted through the same process as was conducted when Indiana adopted the Common Core, and that the Legislature played no role in those adoptions.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz has urged the Legislature to allow Common Core implementation to continue but has promised to conduct a review of the standards that would be completed by the end of 2013. This is a reasonable, welcome recommendation, as such a review would be helpful for determining how best to use the flexibilities that are allowed in the multi-state agreement.

Senate Bill 193 is scheduled to be considered and possibly voted on by the Senate Education and Career Development Committee on Wednesday, February 6 . With Republican legislators split on the measure, a close vote is expected. Indiana simply cannot afford to start going backwards on education. Let’s hope common sense prevails on the Common Core standards.

For more information about Common Core, contact Derek Redelman, vice president for education and workforce development policy, at dredelman@indianachamber.com / (317) 264-6880 or visit http://stand.org/indiana/common-core.


My response to the editorial?

I would have thought astute business people would have realized a long time ago that you shouldn't sign on to any public school plan that had no price tag, had no specifics and would be controlled by private corporations held unaccountable to the taxpayers whose money they were using.

Would the Chamber of Commerce endorse such a plan in private industry? Would they support a business plan that had no budget, no oversight? Would they endorse a construction project with no blueprint and only promises of grandeur?

Of course not. Then why is the Chamber endorsing CCSS? The processes used and the product promised by CCSS is what I described above. If the Chamber endorses such pie in the sky promises of CCSS that have no research to back them up, and the Chamber thinks THAT is common sense, Indiana is in deep trouble.

As the US Chamber of Commerce signed on to the support of the standards (even before they were written), expect to see more editorials from individual state/local chambers in those states where there is growing opposition and questioning of the wisdom of such action.

1 comment:

  1. There is absolutely NO WAY that IN's previous "highly-rated standards were adopted through the same process as was conducted when Indiana adopted the Common Core" because NEVER BEFORE, in US history have state's relinquished control of their educational standards to the Fed DOE. How could it possibly have been the "same process" - that's clearly FALSE.

    State legislature's typically approve the standards developed within their states by appointed state officials. In this case the legislature MUST step-in and stop the agreement signed by those appointed officials because they had NO authority under state constitutions or the US constitution to do so in the first place.

    State standards are usually considered minimum competency levels (at least they are in my district). One has to wonder WHY would Common Core insist on making up 85% of all the standards. Did officials not understand what they were signing? If so, how could they agree?

    Remember - COMMON CORE has a copywrite. It WILL be 85% of your entire state curriculum (Read the agreement)

    Chamber of Commerce leaders throughout the country need to do their own research rather than relying on the soundbites fed to them by the state ed establishments.

    Legislators--constituents are depending on YOU to restore local control of education.

    Education WITH Representation!

    Lisa Jones


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