One of the nation’s most widely read education writers is Maureen Downey of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. In her continued reporting on Georgia’s decision to drop PARCC tests, Downey included a letter from Robert Holland, Senior Fellow for Education Policy at the Heartland Institute in Chicago, “urging Georgia to go a step further and jettison the standards.”
The national Common Core standards and tests are wrong on multiple levels. They constitute a top/down, one-size-fits-all regimen, to be imposed without regard to individual differences among children and without a sign-off by parents and local school boards. And yet in the end the fact that this scheme is hugely expensive may be what brings it down.
Georgia is just the latest state to withdraw from the federally financed consortia that are developing the national assessments that would be the final linchpin in making Common Core a de facto national curriculum. The feds have sunk $360 million into developing the potentially intrusive online tests, but when the costs of implementation would bust state education budgets, responsible leaders like Gov. Nathan Deal have no choice but to seek a more responsible course.
A logical follow-up would be to severe ties with the Common Core curricular standards as well. It will make no sense to have teachers teach to this nationally prescribed script but then test independently. Georgia could become a national exemplar by embracing diversity and choice as opposed to enforced conformity in education.
Georgia’s republican dominated legislature isn’t under the pressure to commit to Common Core/PARCC as is Florida. (They don’t have a Jeb Bush or Tony Bennett) But Fuller’s statement emboldened above couldn’t be more damning. Guys like Bush and Bennett are running around and telling everybody that the introduction of Common Core will end those days where teachers “teach the test.”
There aren’t very many teachers in the country who bought that nonsense. It’s always been one of the big lies that ed reform rock stars like Bush and Bennett tell about the standardized tests their corporate pay masters need to maintain control. It’s refreshing to see someone from the privatization-choice crowd like Holland to make this point clear.
Jeb Bush and five republican power brokers took up pens this week in an attempt to keep Florida republican legislators in line on Common Core/PARCC. With news that another state Bush lobbied heavily, Mississippi, is now questioning Common Core, it’s fair to wonder just how much appetite state GOP lawmakers will have for the battle.