Some background for those who may not know:
- The Common Core is a set of national standards supported by but not mandated by the federal government.
- The standards outline what students must know at the end of each grade.
- Individual states are free to adopt or not adopt the Common Core. The majority of states have adopted the standards. Texas, Alaska, Nebraska and Virginia have not. Indiana and Pennsylvania did but have withdrawn. Alabama and Arizona have but currently are attempting to withdraw. (Those federal $$$s mean something to cash-strapped states and school districts, especially those located in urban and rural locales.)
According to a National Center for Policy Analysis report, public school teachers’ union bosses don’t want the Common Core. They argue that its assessment protocol doesn’t demonstrate how teachers “add value” as its supporters assert. Why not? Teacher evaluations are tied to student outcomes on Common Core exams, with student performance accounting for 40% of a teacher's rating and the other 60% being derived from classroom observations.
In a restricted way, the bosses are correct. The notion of linking student performance to teacher accountability doesn’t “add value.” But, it does identify those teachers who may add value as well as those who may not add value. That “may” is what the 60%-40% mix is all about.
Why do those bosses find that mix unacceptable? Simply stated: When students fail to meet the standards, teachers can be rated as “ineffective” and, presumably, fired, even if teachers are tenured. So, the bosses are ginning up their rhetoric. To wit:
- The President of the National Education Association, Eskelsen Garcia, called the value-added measures the “mark of the devil.”
- Tennessee bosses objected to the teacher evaluation portion of the Common Core and have filed a lawsuit to terminate it.
- The American Federation of Teachers demanded at its annual convention that the Common Core standards be rewritten and the testing measurements linking teacher accountability to student performance be removed.
Conservatives very much like the valued-added proposition, just about as much as the liberal union bosses don’t. Even so, conservatives shouldn't support the Common Core for a principled reason: It represents a frontal attack upon something that’s far more vital: The primary parental right in the education of their children.
While this fundamental principle isn’t enshrined in writing in the U.S. Constitution or Bill of Rights, it is enshrined in both by its absence. How parents might exercise their primary right in educating their children is a matter that’s reserved to the states and localities to decide.
It certainly is in a state’s interest to provide for the education of its young people by cooperating with parents as they exercise what’s their fundamental right. But, no state is required to provide that education. If one does, then that state must comply with all state and federal laws and regulations.
That’s where the federal $$$s come in and parents suddenly find themselves being told by the federal government how their children will be educated and what they will be taught.
For far too long, parents have been dictated to by the states and the federal goverment how they must educate their children. The Common Core is just the latest iteration in nullifying what belongs to parents by right. It’s time for parents to wake up and reclaim their primary right in educating their children by stopping the federal government from its incessant efforts to turn the nation’s public schools into a federal monopoly by paying off cash-strapped states to do so.
Let the discussion begin…
To read the National Center for Policy Analysis report, click on the following link:
"A Hidden Cost of Common Core: Teacher Accountability."