I find every read of the Republican National Committee’s resolution against Common Core State Standards (CCSS) more stunning than the last. Beyond the “on-size-fits-all” criticism are supporting details so condemning that they cannot be walked back now that they’re out. Let’s take a look at a few:
WHEREAS, the NGA and the CCSSO, received tens of millions of dollars from private third parties to advocate for and develop the CCSS strategy, subsequently created the CCSS through a process that was not subject to any freedom of information acts or other sunshine laws, and never piloted the CCSS……….WHEREAS, the NGA and CCSSO in concert with the same corporations developing the CCSS ‘assessments’ have created new textbooks, digital media and other teaching materials aligned to the standards which must be purchased and adopted by local school districts in order that students may effectively compete on CCSS ‘assessments’
In a radio interview this week, Florida Senator Marco Rubio – a presidential hopeful – was critical of his own party for it’s past engagements in crony capitalism. You can be sure that he was aware of the resolution at the time. Rubio also knows that CCSS is a major part of Jeb Bush’s prescription for education reform for the nation. Bush’s silence on the RNC resolution indicates he’s furiously working behind the scenes the get it squashed.
Even worse for Bush is that the RNC resolution condemns CCSS for it’s betrayal of themes he presumes to champion: choice and competition.
WHEREAS, the CCSS program includes federally funded testing and the collection and sharing of massive amounts of personal student and teacher data, and
WHEREAS, the CCSS effectively removes educational choice and competition since all schools and all districts must use Common Core ‘assessments’ based on the Common Core standards to allow all students to advance in the school system and to advance to higher education pursuits; therefore be it
One red state education boss blinked this week; and it’s one of Bush’s Chiefs for Change. Louisiana superintendent John White suddenly removed his state from the CCSS database that’s required by federal law. Was White – and perhaps Gov. Bobby Jindal – responding to this part of the resolution?
….rejects the collection of personal student data for any non-educational purpose without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent and that it rejects the sharing of such personal data, without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent, with any person or entity other than schools or education agencies within the state
Uh-oh. Bradenton republican Senator Bill Gravano’s bill, SB 878, commits Florida to the same database that Louisiana just pulled out of. The Bradenton Herald attempted to prop up Gravano with an editorial this week but it was two days before news emerged that White and Jindal pulled their state out. Despite the Herald’s reassurances, Gravano is advancing a bill that clearly at odds with the RNC resolution. All fifty states now have anti-CCSS Facebook pages.
Gravano, a sensible guy, cannot really be blamed for SB 878 as Florida has long been committed to CCSS and all it’s attachments for some time. But Gravano is part of the party which has taken it’s marching orders from Jeb Bush through both of his foundations when it comes to education policy. Florida education commissioner, Tony Bennett – a Bush loyalist, explained earlier this week how he planned to deal with concerns. From Bill Cotterell in the Florida Current:
Bennett said the DOE is “soon going to roll out some common talking points” for county officials to use to calm apprehension.
“I know what you’re hearing, that this is the federal takeover of education,” Bennett said. He said he has been in contact with Exxon Mobil and other corporations that are concerned about the education of future employees, and that “the message will be from the nation’s largest employers, ‘We’re going to hire on these standards.’ That’s a very different discussion from what each of you are confronted with.”
He said curriculum standards are not “dumbing down” of education to falsely produce more graduates.
So Bennett believes that “talking points” and the interests of “the nation’s largest employers” needs to trump concerns from parents. Moreover, he’s prioritizing the interests of those whom the RNC resolution identifies as improper beneficiaries of CCSS. Bennett’s revelations about whom he’s been talking to – instead of Florida parents and it’s educators he’s talking to corporations to dictate policy – identify his loyalties are not aligned with that of our state.
According to the RNC resolution, CCSS “received tens of millions of dollars from private third parties to advocate for and develop” and “includes federally funded -and the collection and sharing of massive amounts of personal student and teacher data.” These serve as an indictment of Florida’s entire test-dominated accountability system that the state’s republicans suddenly found have themselves to be guilty of.