Viewpoint | October 2013 Digital Edition

Stop the Misinformed Opposition to Common Core

The opposition to Common Core is misinformed and dangerous.

This article originally appeared in T.H.E. Journal's October 2013 digital edition.

Let's get this straight: The Common Core State Standards initiative is not a federal conspiracy. The federal government philosophically supports CCSS, but it has had no hand in its creation. CCSS, in case you were sleeping, is an initiative of the National Governor's Association--you know, those states' rights guys--and the Council of Chief State School Officers (that's right, state school officers).

And yet a loud minority of ill-intentioned people is trying to derail CCSS by claiming that it forces a national curriculum on states. (I'm actually paraphrasing their criticism into rational language. I won't even go near statements claiming the feds "now have control over your children.")

CSSS is not a curriculum. There is a difference between standards and curriculum, and people who don't understand the difference should not be leading public debate on the topic. Moreover, shared academic standards do not take away from the state its responsibility to determine the curriculum and supervise the instruction of its schools. What CCSS does is set internationally benchmarked standards to which the states can calibrate their curriculum and instruction.

Those benchmarks recognize that students are graduating into a new world economy that requires globalized workplace skills. Students--no matter what state they live in--have a right to be held to standards that will guarantee them a place in higher education or a job in the global economy.

Some governors may think it politically expedient to drop out of CCSS--they need to know that their pandering to the irrational fringes for political expediency is the moral equivalent of ransoming our children's futures.

To be sure, there are legitimate concerns about the implementation of Common Core. But the current ill-informed backlash is preventing us from having the conversations we should be having about how shared, academic standards that are keyed to the global economy and address local educational needs, can be leveraged to best effect.

The media pays attention to the loudest voices. If the crazies show up at your school board meeting, can you raise the voice of reason?

About the Author

Therese Mageau is the former editorial director of THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].