Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mary Fallin Wants Common Core Whether You Want It Or Not

Just so we are all clear, Governor Mary Fallin is absolutely Hell-bent on thrusting Common Core down the throats of Oklahomans through the legislature whether they want it or not.  Even in the face of a LETTER asking her to stop signed by many, many educational leaders and others all across the nation! Here's one of the latest articles being used to entice the legislature to stop bothering with us 'little people', aka 'parents'.

GOP Pollster: Republicans should be careful on Common Core. Basically this article makes the case that sampling of 'likely Republican voters' indicates that despite their votes on Common Core, all will keep their seats.  There are three things wrong with this notion:
  1. Poling can say whatever pollsters want it to say - can anyone say 'skew the data'? 
  2. 'Likely' Republican voters are more than not - NOT parents.  Sad to say, but most people today fall into two categories 1.  I'm too uninterested/lazy/busy to vote, and/or 2. I only vote at the last second based on commercials.  HOWEVER, you mess with kids, parents - especially moms - get furious.  Ask ex-Jeb-Bush-Cheif-For-Change Tony Bennet about that.  He lost his superintendency in Indiana over Common Core - among other 'Republican' 'reforms'.
  3. You think Oklahomans aren't going to run to the Democrat saying, "No Common Core"?  If not, you're dead wrong.  Oklahoma can swing in Governorship from red to blue in a year - everyone knows that.  If you choose to ignore that here in Oklahoma, you definitely do so at your peril.
Again, voters may be at best agnostic over many issues that activists come out of their chairs over, but when you mess with their kids, the Grizzly comes out and those agnostics become activists too.

My gosh!  Even with the number of low-information-voters out there today, we managed to get HUNDREDS of people to the capitol to protest our Senate not hearing Common Core bills, blocking the will of the people and to ask our Senate to vote for the repeal of Common Core on St. Patrick's Day.  The only thing we DIDN'T do, was to get primary challengers for every seat in the House and the Senate where the legislator was firmly in the court of education 'reform' - including Common Core.  Legislators who legislate via polls and the Governor tells them to do, need to be reminded they are responsible to the people in their districts who elect them.  It's sad to acknowledge, but there are some legislators who hear the cry of those that fund their campaigns over those of the 'average voter'.

So, "WHY WON'T OUR GOVERNOR LISTEN TO HER PEOPLE?".  It is obvious that Common Core is an issue people do not want - overwhelmingly in Oklahoma. Polls show that - if you want to play the polling game - and there are candidates out there with whom I have had discussions that have gotten polling data to indicated such.

So why?  Clearly, as much as I've written on the topic of Common Core - the jury is out as to it's effectiveness as a college and career ready tool and the tests have been a nightmare.  There is NO WAY to collect enough data in the time we've had Common Core in Oklahoma because it wasn't mandated for use until 2014 and few schools have utilized it to 100%.  There is no way to cite accurate data - let alone ANY data - on whether or not kids are doing better under Common Core because there hasn't been any time to collect it.  Even if there had been, in order to be relevant at all, there would have to be a minimum of 6 years of test scores to even make any kind of comparison (kids would have to get through k-5 and the upper grades would have to fully matriculate through 4 years of high school).

Interestingly, there have been enough years of NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress - a national test given to a sampling of kids in each grade in each state and compared across states) data using PASS to make that determination.  Grades have continued to climb in mathematics particularly and also in reading, yet the Oklahoma Department of Education waives this data away by saying this data is do to "excellent teaching".  Are you kidding me?  Who could even write that with a straight face?  Isn't that what study after study after white paper have said for years - that standards don't really matter as long as teachers are doing a great job in the classroom?

Seriously, both the Oklahoma State Department of Education, and the office of the Governor seem to be simply switching the talking points on whatever facts and figures we find to argue against Common Core to their benefit - even if it makes no sense.  

So, again I ask, "WHY?"   Why, Governor?  Why Superintendent?  Why do you so desperately need to get all Oklahomans onto the Common Core even when Oklahomans do not want them? 

Every reason both these elected officials have given as Common Core necessity, we have debunked.  So, as I've asked a hundred times, is Common Core about parents and kids, or about political power and money?  I think we only need to acknowledge this fact:  If Common Core was about parents and kids, this nonsense would stop.