Education policy must now, and always, be state-driven and implemented at the local level.
Washington bureaucrats will never know what is best for each individual state and should not assert to know as such. As conservatives, we must stand firm against the dangers of nationalization of school curriculum and be ever vigilant to not allow infringement on our 10th Amendment rights.
That being said, it is imperative to address some confusion and misconceptions regarding the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards are the result of a state-led initiative (composed of 45 states) that came together to set foundational common standards.
Together, with the review of educators, parents, and content experts, the states created standards aligned with college and work expectations; standards that are focused and consistent. The Common Core State Standards are built upon strengths of current state standards, but are internationally benchmarked, preparing all students to succeed in our global economy and society.
Our Constitution framers, in their brilliance, allowed for this independence and collaboration through the 10th Amendment, which has produced unparalleled results. Americas prosperity is heavily dependent upon states learning from one another and challenging each other to improve through competition, comparison, and collaboration.
There is little debate that our education standards nationwide have been stagnant. According to the report "The Learning Curve," developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the United States ranks 17th out of 40 countries in overall educational performance. Common Core State Standards present a path by which states can improve this ranking by setting rigorous, measureable standards based on 50 separate laboratories of learning that design their own curriculum and decide on implementation and assessments at the state and local levels, not the national level.
The movement to Common Core asserts higher-order thinking across disciplines and concepts, which will yield a higher quality of comprehension for students, ensuring they are prepared for college, the workforce or to become a business owner/job creator. Common Core is a set of academic standards and does not pose an identity or security risk to students.
Florida, as an education reform leader, has adopted its own rigorous standards beyond the minimum Common Core State Standards and local districts have the authority to increase expectations for their students even further. Our students deserve the best, and if Common Core provides foundational standards for our students without 10th Amendment infringements, conservatives such as I could not be more supportive.
Maybe Washington could learn from Common Core implementation regarding other areas of government by providing reasonable standards, then getting out of the way and letting states do what they do best. This is indeed what the framers of the Constitution had in mind.
State Sen. John Legg is a Florida-certified teacher with more than 10 years of classroom teaching experience. He is also a school administrator and is the current chairman of the K-20 Education Policy Committee in the Florida Senate.