State Senator Dick Black has introduced SB724, a bill designed to help keep education decisions in Virginia by adding a layer of state intervention before there can be any implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). This is an important bill we should all support because it will provide a state check against an unpopular federal program.
Common Core has been a headache since it first began. The problem is that it is too closely tied to the Race to the Top program the White House set up to reward increases in student performance with cash money. The CCSS is not a mandate tied directly to Race to the Top, and states that do not signed on to Common Core can still apply for Race to the Top money, but it is fair to conclude that the best way to get the White House’s money is to implement the program they are endorsing, so 45 states signed up right away, I suppose before they really read it à la Nancy Pelosi’s ObamaCare comment. But Virginia didn’t sell out our kids for federal money and thus far has not begun the CCSS in public schools.
Texas is another one of the few states that did not go for the money. Governor Rick Perry said he opposes Common Core because he says it “would be foolish and irresponsible to place our children’s future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington, virtually eliminating parents’ participation in their children’s education.”
Indiana is the first state to drop Common Core. Governor Mike Pence defended Indiana’s move saying, “Like I think most Americans, I’ve always believed education is a state and local function.”
The whole thing seems to be unpopular all around. Liberals have soured on the CCSS because teachers’ unions are upset about how teachers have to teach to the test and are restricted in how they can try to reach their students. Conservatives don’t like it because we believe education should not be controlled by bureaucrats in Washington.
I completely agree with the comments by Governor Perry and Governor Pence. The feds need to let education stay at the state and local level. Specifically speaking to Common Core, I don’t like it because “the CCSS do not address fact vs. opinion in reading” and it “does not follow a logical instructional progression” in foundational reading principles, as according to a Virginia Department of Education review. Also, Common Core may not exactly have a required reading list, but each grade has specific teaching examples from specific texts which creates a de facto reading list. One reading list for all of America is not a democratic way to teach our children.
Sen. Black’s bill is a necessary legislative layer that will help us decide for ourselves how to education our kids. Support SB724.
Cross-posted to Red NoVA