Five Top Reasons We Don’t Need Common Core   4 comments

To read a more eloquent and studied version of what I’m about to say, read the expert testimony of Jim Stergios to the South Carolina legislature (above) as they studied whether to sever ties with Common Core/SBAC or stay bound.

But here’s my version:

1. We don’t need Common Core.  We didn’t go seeking it.  It found us in the form of a grant. We signed up without knowing what we were signing up for (the standards hadn’t been written yet, nor the test) because we wanted points. The more points, the more likely we were to win a federal grant:  Race to the Top.  We didn’t win but were still members of CC and SBAC unless we took specific steps to escape.  Which is what we should do now.  And we don’t need “expert” strangers who aren’t necessarily even experts, telling local experts what to teach kids.

2. It was never debated by the public, by teachers, or by the legislature.  It snuck in under the radar claiming to be “state led” and “not a federal initiative.”  Ha. Ha. Ha.  Who believes that silliness?  The whole thing was pushed, incentivized, and controlled in such obvious ways by the feds from the beginning.  Do your homework and you will see it.

3. No cost analysis was ever done.  Pioneer Institute estimates it will cost each state 16 billion over the first seven years that we implement it.  That’s a heavy burden for states who struggle to make educational ends meet, who drop music and arts programs, who drop tutoring programs, who lay off teachers for economic reasons, already.  Common Core proponents want to gloss over the cost.  They do not want you to ask about this one.

4. It doesn’t raise all standards for all states, period.  It’s been called substandard by many professors and educational experts, and by kids who’ve tried it this year.  But that’s beside the point.  If we stay in, we won’t have the freedom to argue about it.  We’ll be cemented in to the Common Core by so many threads and ties and expenses and rules and mandates and bureaucratic waste that we will not have our freedom anymore.  Importantly, (tell your teacher friends this who actually like common core standards) –it’s all in the public domain.  Anything you like from Common Core, you can have.  And states don’t need the CC membership to go with it and to drag our freedoms down.

5. It’s illegal.  The Constitution and many other laws give education solely to states and prevent the federal government from coordinating, overseeing, directing, gathering educational data or putting educational mandates on states.  This is why the federal Common Core pushers go to great lengths to get groups other than themselves to push Common Core.  They pay others to do what they are forbidden to do.  Nice.

Posted April 10, 2012 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized

4 responses to “Five Top Reasons We Don’t Need Common Core

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  1. Unfortunately, we DO need the Common Core State Standards in Utah. Our Language Arts standards are woefully lacking and the new LA CCSS represent a great improvement. Students will benefit almost immediately, which is something that never happens in public education. I agree it is difficult to accept the highly political way this was forced upon us – that is not right and we should be smarter in the future to not allow this type of federal pressure to impact us. But I have only one agenda – do what is best for students, NOW, and the Language Arts Common Core State Standards are much better than Utah’s previous standards so I support them. We cannot continue to sacrifice our kids to fight political battles. That has been going on for many, many years and our students suffer. Utah is one of only a few states where our achievement gap is WIDENING. This is an EMERGENCY that must be addressed with vigorous change. We don’t have to like the political nature of how this happened, but at least the students will be receiving something of value for all the political games that are being played. You cannot compare Utah to other states where their standards were high before CCSS. That is NOT the case in Utah.

    • Dear Carolyn,

      Many people don’t know that all the academic standards are in the public domain. We do need good standards, but we don’t need the membership in the Common Core Initiative, which does bind our state to federal mandates and controls. Thank you for responding. Please continue to study all the aspects of Common Core’s Initiative and its impact on educational autonomy and feel free to call me anytime. (801) 380-0422.

      My whole goal is to be proven wrong. I want to be proven wrong; that would mean that Utah did actually retain educational sovereignty under Common Core and that we have not, (in the words of S.C. Senator Mike Fair) “Sold our educational birthright without even getting the mess of pottage.”


  2. Christel,
    Perhaps it would be good for you to delineate what you mean by “federal mandates and controls”. As you may know, I run several public schools here in the Salt Lake area (and elsewhere), and I am pretty connected with federal requirements, compliance and reporting. I will admit I am completely unaware of new mandates or controls that we are now under from the CCSS. To my knowledge, standards are basically an outline of content that must be taught at particular levels. The CCSS are more rigorous than Utah’s previous LA standards.

    I would also be interested in your backup data (a side-by-side comparison of the LA standards – Utah vs. SSCC) that shows a 75% reduction in classic literature. I have not seen this in any of my studies of the CCSS so I need to know where it is. In fact, the CCSS points more clearly TOWARD usage of classical literature, as it is used often in the text exemplars. To my knowledge it it would be inaccurate to say the CCSS limits, in any way, the TYPE of literature you use to implement the standards (such as classical literature).

    And I believe most, if not all, educators know that the CCSS is in the public domain. We just go on a website and it is all there, for free. I don’t know of any educator that believes there is a charge for the CCSS. You may have heard of schools or districts who are investing in new materials to teach the CCSS, but for example in our schools, we feel we are able to implement the LA CCSS without purchasing anything. We are also going to use our present materials for mathematics (which have produced great results with our students) and use the CCSS to perhaps do so realigning of WHEN we teach certain things (not what or how).

    I realize the politically there are people very upset at this over-reach by the US Dept of Ed. I agree that it was an amazingly gutsy thing from the feds, and that most states did NOT respond appropriately to this because they were so highly incentivized by the prospect of large amounts of money. But at this point, we are left with a better educational template for Utah students than we had before (at least in Language Arts). If you want to fight it on purely political terms, I understand. But perhaps not try to do so from the educational viewpoint. At least in Utah, it doesn’t really hold up, since the CCSS is better than Utah’s previous poor LA standards.

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