Common Core Standards: Curse or Cure?
Around the State
What appears to be just the next evolution of the successful use of standards and accountability that has improved public education in Florida has fostered rather strenuous opposition.
Proponents paint it as a set of rigorous standards established by the various states.
Given the inexorable march toward socialism and federal government control of everything and everybody, one can understand the reason for concern.
Yet, setting high standards for students works. We know that, and we also know the federal government is going to continue to get its fingers into everything it can.
So, the challenge is to ensure that the standards are high enough but resist involving Washington.
One point in Common Core's favor is that it only says what students should learn. How they are taught is left to the state and local governments charged with educating children. States also choose whether to use the standards. Florida's has chosen to use them.
In a sense, the Common Core standards were born in Florida. After the standards were raised here in 2008. Education Secretary Eric Smith attended a conference and discussion of them with his peers from other states led to the state network that developed Common Core.
Public hearings by the Department of Education begin today in Tampa.
Among the proponents is Foundation for Excellence in Education. It has this information on its Web site concerning Common Core.
Florida Stop Common Core Coalition is among the opposition. This is its take on the standards.
Among other things, opponents fear a “domino effect” that will lead to involvement of the federal government, something proponents say they would fight fiercely.
What makes this issue sticky is that conservatives are driving it but liberals are expressing approval of the standards also.
For example, opponents are suspicious of the lip service given to the standards by the ultraliberal teacher unions. That's probably why a lot of tea party types are involved in the opposition. They know that if liberals are in favor of something, it probably does not bode well for America.
Actually, the unions probably would use the presence of the new standards to demand more money and less accountability.
Most of the concerns raised by opponents are covered well here and the site also contains the actual standards.
Proponents of Common Core should have met with opponents early on and explained the plan in greater detail. Now it will have to be threshed out in public debate and in the legislative sausage factory, where a bill has been filed to ban Common Core.
Clearly, the federal government has become so intrusive that anything seen as giving it more authority over our lives – especially when it involves children – is going to undergo intense scrutiny.
Lloyd Brown was in the newspaper business nearly 50 years, beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. After retirement he served as speech writer for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.