Because Arne Duncan, the former secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, often engages his mouth before his brain, the case for abolishing the department may have just become stronger than ever.
As high-stakes testing grows in K-12 education, it is no surprise the testing for teacher certifications is also becoming more high-stakes. The problem is, teacher testing is not a good indicator of teacher quality. An MIT study found “state mandated teacher testing is associated with increases in teacher wages, though we find no evidence of a corresponding increase in quality.”
Think about the major policy undertakings of the Obama administration over the past six and a half years. It began with a “stimulus” that wasted trillions in the quest of generating jobs, but did little to nothing in achieving that goal. That was followed by ObamaCare which most agree has been a disaster for the nation’s healthcare sector and, finally, Common Core, a one-size-fits-all testing program intended, we were told, to improve learning standards in the nation’s schools. The only thing it has achieved is the opposition of parents, teachers unions, and entire states.
Hillary Clinton liked it when support for Common Core was “bipartisan … or, actually, nonpartisan,” but finds it painful now that the nationalized education standards supposedly have been politicized.
Thousands of parents across the country and here in Illinois are concerned about Common Core standards, PARCC testing on those standards, and the accumulation and storage of their children’s personal data. Thorner, as a citizen and taxpayer living in a community in northern Illinois, is represented by Lake Forest-Lake Bluff school Districts 65, 67 and 115. All have embraced Common Core standards with enthusiasm.
The Arizona House of Representatives Education Committee meeting on House Bill 2190 was strikingly similar to the landscape of American opinion on Common Core. Among the legislators and those who spoke at the meeting, there were some supporters, some starkly against Common Core, and some still on the fence.
High-profile Republicans are embracing school choice, notably in the current fast-tracked No Child Left Behind rewrite, but in such a way as to anger their most politically effective constituents.
Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and prospective GOP presidential contender, was wrong to support Common Core. Now, on the campaign trail, he appears to be backtracking a bit. He should go all the way and admit he was wrong in the first place.
The heat on Common Core was high this spring, but I predict it will be even higher come state legislative sessions this January. It’s the last year states can conceivably avoid joining the train wreck that will be Common Core tests, which are due to replace state tests in March and following. But the earnest moms and dads that comprise the Common Core grassroots have been largely burned by their representatives, who either have responded to serious arguments by relabeling Common Core or diverting blame for it. They’re politicians, man, not representatives.
Amid public outcry, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) have changed their minds about Common Core. Both have spoken out in support of ceasing the use of Common Core State Standards despite that K–12 math and English standards have already been slowly rolled out and partially adopted
To briefly summarize Common Core, the decision to adopt the Common Core standards was left almost exclusively in the hands of the governors and the state boards of education. The public was not made aware that our education system was in the process of being changed, and certainly we were clueless that all states had been asked to accept an education system initiated at the federal level, something our forefathers prudently warned against. However, forty-five states committed to those standards, and did so even before the standards and/or accompanying curriculum were completed.
The special interests behind national curriculum and testing mandates are pouring millions into public relations and lobbying this spring after parents across the country began to oppose and destabilize their big project. Friday, Politico reported that the Business Roundtable and Chamber of Commerce are buying pricey ads on Fox News and mobilizing their state chapters to keep lawmakers in line. The same day, Bill Gates joined George Stephanopoulos to continue branding the Common Core mandates as a catalyst for improving U.S. education. Gates has joined with left-leaning philanthropies on a communications push worth more than $2.35 million.
An hour or so ago, I finished testifying about Common Core national education standards to the Arkansas legislature. It looks like Twitter may be obsessing a bit over the happenstance that I recited the Pledge of Allegiance for a mic check, since I testified by phone.