Examining conservative ‘support’ for Common Core

Sep 30, 2014 by

Dr. R.B.A. Di MuccioMost conservatives instinctively and correctly oppose Common Core. The issue becomes muddy when a few high-profile conservatives appear to be in favor of it. Such support provides a bottomless font ofschadenfreude for Common Core’s mostly liberal supporters and gives them an effective wedge issue. Therefore, examining conservative “support” for national Common Core standards might be the single most important tactic in the fight against it.

Prima facie, this support is based on a simple premise: public education is failing, so we should establish minimal standards that all kids must meet. Bill Bennett, for example, has said, “we can all agree that there is a need for common standards of assessment in K-12 education. And we can all agree that there are common and shared truths.”

Okay, but the question that arises is: What are the “common and shared truths?” Let’s answer that in a moment.

To be sure, there is arguably something conservative about the notion of establishing a single bar for education and holding all public schools everywhere accountable to it. But what could possibly go wrong?

First, Common Core necessarily undermines local control over public education. Though local education autonomy has been eroding for some time, the Common Core attack removes all veneer and goes straight to localism’s last bastion: the curriculum. If you establish national standards and tests to assess achievement, the curriculum –that is, what the children are taught—must and will inevitably follow.

But shouldn’t a conservative’s clear disposition be to favor local autonomy over top-down control? Of course. Conservatives should also have a high tolerance for differences between local solutions and ultimately place their trust in communities to understand how to best educate their children. It’s a basic 10th Amendment argument.

via Examining conservative ‘support’ for Common Core | Human Events.

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