Kathleen O'Brien: Common Core Supporters Mislead

After reading the letter to the editor that was published in newspapers around the state on Dec 20, 2014 regarding Common Core from the ND Chamber of Commerce, the NEA union, NDCEL and the director of the ND School Board Association, I wanted to address some of their statements. An unexpected consequence of their comments about Common Core is that they expose facts about our K-12 education system and who controls it.

This coalition decided they are going to clear up “facts” disseminated from the vocal few CC opponents, like parents, students, teachers, citizens and grandparents across our country who have done their homework and don’t like the Common Core project. The coalition wrote the letter to insist that the public must trust the “experts” on Common Core, not those who are directly affected, not you, the public.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]”Where is the proof the bar will be raised by federal and corporate intrusion into K-12 education in ND through the Common Core project? Where is the peer reviewed research that shows that CC standards improve student achievement? There are none.”[/mks_pullquote]

This group writes that “The Common Core Standards were developed and reviewed by the top leaders in our communities, including governors and state superintendents from nearly every state in the country.” This is simply not true. The standards were created in a Washington D.C. think tank called Achieve, Inc. and many states, including North Dakota adopted them before they were written.

So much for that statement of deception.

Regarding CC testing: The Smarter Balanced test that will assess ND students is apparently still in the writing process and cannot be viewed by parents or even teachers, but according to ND Century code, parents do have the right to view any test being given to their children.

Why are rights being denied, but Common Core is to be trusted?

Here is another of their statements: “The fact is, in North Dakota, to remain competitive, the bar must be raised.”

Where is the proof the bar will be raised by federal and corporate intrusion into K-12 education in ND through the Common Core project? Where is the peer reviewed research that shows that CC standards improve student achievement? There are none.

But to be sure, this wholesale change in ND education is complete with a hefty price tag and the ND legislature will be required year after year for multi-millions to keep the data mining system, the testing system, the CC aligned curriculum, the professional development, the federal mandates, and the corporate dictates funded. I, for one, want DPI to come clean on the cost of Common Core, but the office of Kirsten Baesler has never provided this information to the ND public or to the legislature.

There have been many attempts, like No Child Left Behind, to change K-12 education in America. NCLB was a massive failure by almost all accounts, so the Obama generation of educators decided to up the ante and give us Common Core. Arnie Duncan and Common Core creator David Coleman see their current project as a way to control state education systems, and Kirsten Baesler at DPI played right into their hands, along with Ryan Townsend and other DPI officials.

I would ask the coalition of the ND Chamber and the education experts touting the need for Common Core to go back to the blackboard and to provide one iota of evidence that the so-called rigorous standards created in a Washington think tank will work for ND students. Better yet, ND legislators should do what Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Nikki Haley did, back out as fast as you can.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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