Thursday, May 1, 2014

What's The Fight Against Common Core Really All About?




Today I find that Mike Petrilli of the Bill Gates-money-accepting Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Ohio has been a busy bee!  He's not only been banging away at his computer blogging about Indiana and their failed attempt to rid themselves of Common Core, but writing our Governor to explain how important it is for Oklahoma to 'stay the course' and keep the Common Core State Standards in the face of 'opponents' (something he's done more than once).

His article from today, "Common Core: The Day After", was quite enlightening.  Here he scares us into believing it's just too expensive for states to stop utilizing the Common Core - particularly when you factor in all the money that would be lost to bailing states via federal Title 1 funding as states lost their NCLB Waivers.

Reading the article, I became more and more irritated as I began to internalize the notion that this whole Common Core Standards garbage has nothing to do with standards and everything to do with government itself.  As I was telling my friend Emmett McGroarty from the American Principals Project this afternoon, this is an 'us against them' argument.  This is civil rights and class warfare all rolled up into a neat little package wrapped with a complete lack of understanding of the origins of government in our country and tied with a bow of civics ignorance.

My comments on the article, I hope, indicate my full level of frustration:
Here’s what I always find interesting about your defense of Common Core Mike; why do you really care how states other than Ohio educate their kids? What difference does it make to the students in your state what Oklahoma does to educate Oklahoma students? You obviously care enough to continue writing our governor, ‘encouraging’ her to ‘stay the course’, but why?
Ohio – on its own – could create such cherry-on-the-top-of-the-standards-sundae standards, insuring ALL kids in Ohio were so well educated and so workforce competitive that families from across the nation wanted to move to Ohio just so their kids could compete in our fabulous new global economy! You don’t need the rest of the nation to be on board for you to do that!
Oh, wait, I forgot….Ohio can’t be trusted to do that. Ohio, just like every other state in the union must be overseen with a giant educational fly swatter of sorts to make them do the ‘right’ thing by their citizens, parents and students because they cannot do so utilizing their state’s educational devices.
So what’s ‘right’? Maybe we should define what ‘right’ actually is in terms of education. Yes, Fordham (Achieve, CCSSO and NGA) clearly knows what’s ‘right’ for the nation in terms of education, but is it really up to you to create that definition?
Doesn’t it seem at least plausible that people in their own states would best know that definition of a ‘right’ education for their own state? If not, then why have states at all? Why don’t we just open up all borders and allow every state to be ruled by one central government that knows the best definition of ‘right’ for the entire country?
Oh, sorry! I forgot! That’s what we’re on our way to doing now in education (and healthcare…and environmental protection…)! It is becoming obvious, however, that actual, factual, taxpaying citizens don’t like the idea of borderless states, or one large central government. In fact, I’m pretty sure most Oklahomans wouldn’t be super happy about being lumped into any one category with New York city folk. Isn’t that really what we’re seeing right now? The outcry from that notion?
The absolute worst problem with any of your arguments about Common Core, Mike, is that you have no idea about the actual nature of – not only people themselves – but the principals on which this nation was founded.
Yes, you can yammer all day about the importance of education ‘reform’ and how important ‘accountability’ is to this notion of ‘reform’, but the only ones to whom ANY school needs to prove educational relevance and accountability are those parents and students actually served by that school in that community. That was the greatest notion in all the ideals during the creation of America – the fact that no one was going to have the definition of ‘right’ for any state or individual. That the individual first, and then the state, had the best idea of ‘right’.
I find it nothing less than hilarious that, in the course of your Common Core apologetics, you began by saying, “This is ‘state led’”, intimating that states have all the Common Core decision-making process in their laps. Now that citizens, parents – and even students – have said NO to Common Core, your argument must originate from a different level. Now, the states can’t be trusted to make a case against Common Core because we’ll all end up with crummier standards. No matter what, so long as states are saying no to Common Core, you will find the Common Core monster in the closet that offsets that effort.
I love this line: “But it’s clear that many policymakers are under pressure to demonstrate that they are hearing and heeding opponents’ concerns.” I think it pretty much sums up the derision you have for the regular citizen Mike. We’re ‘opponents’ – saboteurs – reactionaries – idiots who are kicking at our leash because we’re simply too stuppid to understand that you really know what’s best for us. Gack.
Maybe it’s not the standards that are the problem here. Maybe it’s the fact that us ‘idiots’ are sick and tired of being told we’re too stupid to make decisions for ourselves and we should just shut up and listen to you and Bill Gates and NGA and Exxon tell us how to run the lives of our own children.
I truly suggest that before you continue down the road with your arguments aimed at nationalizing education (all the while saying you’re not in favor of that), you get a handle on basic civics and US History. Out here in flyover country, we don’t cotton much to being told what to do by city folk and we’re too stupid to think outside the box that holds our Constitution and our Bible. You’ll never get anywhere with us until you do.
Jenni White
Restore Oklahoma Public Education