The new school year is set to begin and the math and English standards known as Common Core are to be fully implemented–against the wishes of many Ohioans parents and taxpayers. For years, since the nationalized standards were quietly accepted by cash-strapped state education boards across the nation (in most cases, literally sight unseen), conservative think tanks like The Hertiage Foundation and Family Research Council and conservative education groups like Truth in Education (to name only a few) have decried the nationalization of K-12 public education. The dangers of Common Core as another government takeover has been plainly stated by the Republican National Committee.
So why do most of our local school officials continue to support or at least refuse to oppose the “philosophy” of Common Core? Superintendent Horner stated in a recent op-ed in the Wapakoneta Daily News that “from a national perspective, billions of dollars were spent on materials, equipment and supplies to support this initiative (Common Core)”. Clearly this is the case with the schools in Auglaize County as far as time and money already spent to accommodate the wishes of the OH State Board of Education. Mr. Horner also dispenses with the myth of so-called “local control” of Ohio’s public education by stating “if we (school administrators) are held to a particular standard and we need to teach to a particular standards, the curriculum we use to get there is certainly important and may be somewhat flexible, but does not constitute local control over what standard is taught and to what level it is taught.” In other words, school districts may still have some ability to tweak the curriculum of how standards are taught, but in the case of the copyrighted Common Core, this “wiggle room” is narrow in deed. It also said that school districts have the right to simply say No, thank you to these standards (and at least one brave school district in Ohio has, in fact, done this), but then what would happen to the necessary federal and state funds expected by the schools? and if the assessments are Common Core based, how will the students do if they have not been subjected to the teaching methods of Common Core?
According to Mr. Horner, “there is enough research in education that we know what works”, but he fails to say what exactly that is. I am not an educator, but I would contend that our children deserve a strong foundation in the fundamentals in K-5, not complicated and confusing math “methods” better received (mentally) at higher levels or in English the loss of literature in favor of “informational, non-fiction” texts.
Mr. Horner is absolutely correct when he says that children “thrive on consistency and stability” and that we need to “de-politicize our educational process”, but I cannot agree with accepting the deeply flawed Common Core standards for the sake of consistency and I believe that routing out government intervention (whether it is No Child Left Behind or Race to the Top) is hopefully what HB 597 will do for Ohio. Oklahoma and South Carolina have already led the way in repealing Common Core, Ohio needs to follow.
G. K. Chesterton said, “Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”