A call for a National Commission on Common Core Standards (CCS)

Apr 26, 2014 by

Paul Horton – Rather than permitting the issue of the Common Core Standards (CCS) to be a political hot potato in the upcoming election season, I call for our education secretary to establish a national commission on creating national standards.

Currently, a few foundations, Microsoft, Pearson Education, and several governors, the Fordham Institute, and our education secretary have shaped an agenda that has taken control of education issues from local and state school boards.

While the Race to the Top (RTTT) agenda is well intentioned, it did not encourage enough input from local school boards, parents, teachers, and students. The push to implement the standards has come from the national Chamber of Commerce and very powerful urban business clubs and foundations that shape policy at the city and state levels. Editorial boards and pages aligned with the Chamber and business clubs have jumped on the bandwagon.

What has been characterized by the New York Times and several of its columnists as resistance from the extreme left and right, can be more accurately described as a growing consumer movement against a shoddy product produced by Pearson Education, the company that has produced the tests that assess adherence to the standards

True, this movement has produced its share of wing nuts, especially those from the right who characterize the Common Core Standards as some sort of Obama Administration socialist conspiracy. But a growing number of opponents of the Common Core Standards are political progressives who voted for Obama. And while David Brooks identifies many of these CCS opponents as motivated by left interest groups like teacher unions, he fails to note that the teacher assessment regime that is tied to the Common Core Standards has been completely discredited by the American Statistical Association. Teacher concerns are fact based.

Most CCS opponents are parents who have many concerns that are not being listened to very seriously.

The proposed national commission would consist of education experts and policy makers who would travel around the country to listen to parents, teachers, and administrators and make recommendations to the Education Secretary.

I think that there should be ten members, five from the camp that has been critical of the CCS and five from the camp that has supported CCS. Diane Ravitch, Linda Darling-Hammond, and Sandra Stotsky in one group; and Mike Petrelli, Chester Finn, and Marc Tucker on the pro CCS side.

We would all benefit from national standards for many reasons. But we need national standards that respect local control of education, teacher rights, parent rights, student rights, and the principal of equitable school funding.

CCS and Race to the Top were rushed through to gain quick compliance from state and local school boards without adequate open discussion.

Before we can create standards that all constituencies can commit to, we need much broader public discussions. The Common Core Standards should not be set in stone, they should be unlocked so that state school boards and local constituencies can mix and match standards from other states and countries.

When it comes to education, economies of scale are more beneficial to corporate interests that seek profit. We must not sacrifice local educational autonomy to fit an exclusively corporate vision of what education should become. Creativity and innovation are not typically products of standardized regimes. We need an open discussion about these issues that is not dominated by corporate or financial interests.

Paul Horton is a history teacher at the University of Chicago Lab School.

Education News
Find us on Google+

via A call for a National Commission on Common Core Standards (CCS) | Public School Shakedown.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email