On July 5, 2013, The Heartland Institute’s Joy Pullmann, along with Lindsay Burke of the Heritage Foundation, gave an enlightening talk on one of the most important issues facing supporters of school choice and parents across the country: Common Core.
The speakers set their arguments up by first reviewing the history of the federal government’s gradually increasing involvement in education, and pointing to the lack of fruit borne from government efforts as evidenced by stagnation in academic achievement and attainment in recent decades, particularly for low-income and minority students.
Submitting that Common Core is merely a symptom of the disease of government overextension, the speakers suggested that government incentives have had a potentially coercive effect on state and local governments with regard to the adoption of the federally-sanctioned educational standards. In support of this suggestion, the speakers pointed to the number of states that have adopted Common Core, as well as the fact that all major standardized tests are (or soon will be) Common Core-aligned.
Stating that there is no common definition of educational success, the speakers argue that centralization of education is bad policy. Given the difficulty of changing any national policy, a one-size-fits-all approach, when done on a national scale (as is the case with Common Core), would saddle the entire country with the burdens created by any mistakes in the development of these standards.
Ultimately the speakers argue that we must resist Common Core in order to help secure for parents the freedom to choose the educational “brands,” if you will, that they, not the government, see fit for their children’s consumption.