Common Core’s “Dishonest Debate” and Its “Convoluted and Frustrating Curricula”

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Florida Public Employees

Originally published  December 26, 2013

Dishonest_Debate_Common_CoreRepublish: December 29, 2013

By: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings

The efforts of republican governors and state policymakers to advance and implement Common Core is becoming more arduous by the day. Especially when they are receiving fire from their own side and in traditionally friendly publications. Consider this penned by two American Enterprise Institute scholars in National Review:

The Common Core opens the door much wider for Washington to meddle in schooling. The experience of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act is instructive. Initially, NCLB limited federal authority over how states would set standards, select tests, and improve teacher quality. In recent years, however, the Obama administration has used its ability to issue “waivers” from NCLB to push states to adopt the Common Core, sign onto certain tests, and evaluate teachers in specified ways. There’s much precedent for worrying about slippery slopes.

In fact, for all their lip service to federalism, few Common Core advocates give the impression that they worry about extending Washington’s reach. Many have avidly supported Obama initiatives that have increased Washington’s authority. The “state-led” talking points look more like advocates trying to address a short-term political problem.

The two scholars, Rick Hess and Michael McShane, also challenge the honesty of Core’s cheerleaders:

The result is a dishonest debate, in which advocates refuse to acknowledge what they really think it’ll take for the Common Core to deliver on their grand ambitions for the program. That can create problems of its own: See the troubled rollout of health-care reform, where promises made for political reasons have yielded fierce backlash and immense implementation challenges.

Instead of dismissing concerns about slippery slopes as “misinformed” or “misleading,” Common Core boosters should find the courage of their convictions. Honest talk could yield a healthy debate, in lieu of today’s bitter, distrustful sniping. Common Core boosters might lose a more open debate. But if they win, their stance would give them a fighting chance to make the program work as they intend.

To be critical of tactics and rhetoric  one thing, but a blistering critique of Core’s educational focus comes from one of the nation’s top school choice think tanks.Heartland Institute Fellow Robert Holland writes:

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