TERRE HAUTE —
Common Core a costly mess
In her column last week, Andrea Neal exposed the controversy surrounding Indiana’s “perplexing” decision to abandon its previous academic standards, which were rated as some of the very best in the country, in favor of the clearly inferior nationalized Common Core Math and English Language Arts standards.
What is perplexing is how Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett defends the Common Core standards on the grounds that they are “fewer, clearer, and deeper” than the Indiana standards they supplanted. As Neal mentioned, prior to Indiana’s adoption of the Common Core the Fordham Institute (which is pro-Common Core) released a report that rated Indiana’s previous standards as superior. It did so, in part, based on the issue of “clarity,” for which it granted Indiana a perfect score. The same cannot be said for its rating of the Common Core.
Equally as baffling is Bennett’s assertion that Indiana must adopt a national curriculum, and replace the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress (ISTEP) with a federally-funded test, in order to compare our achievement levels with those of other states. That’s the purpose of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), created in the 1960s. We do not need to dumb down Indiana education just so that we can compare our students with those in other states. Besides, the test Bennett signed up for includes only 23 states.
The arguments for “junking” Indiana’s superior standards, in favor of a one-size-fits-all, top-down model, ring hollow to Hoosier ears. It’s now up to the next governor and the Assembly to get us out of this costly, monolithic mess. They can do so by supporting Sen. Scott Schneider’s legislation to withdraw from the Common Core, thereby paving the way for real education reform that would distinguish Indiana as a leader, not a follower.
— Heather H. Crossin
Still time to stop Common Core
Andrea Neal’s recent op-ed on the Common Core curriculum controversy ably captures many of the problems with this education power grab, but a few points merit clarification.
First, the adoption of the Common Core by 46 states can hardly be said to be “voluntary.” A man dying of thirst may accept a ladle of cold water voluntarily, but he is hardly in a position to say no. The federal incentives to adopt the Common Core through the Race to the Top bailout boondoggle and, more recently, the waivers of onerous provisions of No Child Left Behind put enormous pressure on financially struggling states. Washington can always do one thing the states cannot: print money. By accepting these incentives, Indiana is trading its proud leadership in education for a national illusion.
Second, voluntariness is in the eye of the beholder — or, in this case, the office-holder. As Neal reports, Indiana’s embrace of the Common Core was negotiated by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Such a transfer of authority over the content of education ought to require the voluntary assent of elected legislators, not appointed officials and quasi-private associations. Neither Congress nor state legislatures were consulted. Is that “consent of the governed”?
The Common Core is rushing forward, supplanting our state’s strong English and Language Arts standards, putting Washington in charge of classroom content, and fashioning national tests to consolidate this change. We still have time to rethink this lopsided “bargain.”
— Erin Tuttle
When will we get wise on solutions?
It was nice to read that drunks can wander around (not causing trouble?). Just as long as they’re not smoking a cigarette they will be OK.
As to speeding causing more accidents, when will someone learn that cell phone are a big contributor. When you have an accident just pitch it on the floor and no one will know.
Don’t solve problems, just pass a law or bill to cover them up.
— Jerry Morgan
TERRE HAUTE —
Common Core a costly mess
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