I don’t need to be elusive here or feign eloquence; this is a time to be blunt: Alabama legislators should not repeal the Common Core standards that are currently being implemented by our state’s education system. Here’s why I am against the repeal:
1. The rhetoric in favor of the repeal contradicts virtually all of the information published by and about Common Core. For example, one argument for repeal would have us to believe that the federal government will use Common Core to control the states’ education system. Another claim that I have heard asserts that the states had no input in its creation. However, according to the Common Core website, the set of standards was created by a group commissioned by the National Association of Governors, and during its creation this set of standards was sent to the states for feedback, and then revised using that feedback. So the federal government didn’t create Common Core; essentially, the states did. As to the latter charge, I have never found any evidence of pending legislation or of congressional plans to use Common Core to take over or control the states’ education systems. The notion that the federal government will use Common Core to take over public education seems to me to be only speculation.
2. Alabama’s educators are against the repeal of Common Core, and according to a poll that ran on al.com today, 75% of Alabamians are also against a repeal. Again it’s very simple. If you want legal advice, ask a lawyer. If you want some work done on your house, call a contractor. If you want to know what’s best for education, ask educators.
3. Repealing Common Core now, at a point when Math and English Language Arts are almost fully implemented, would mean wiping away years of work in the state’s Department of Education and years of training provided to teachers. The phrase “all for nought” comes to mind. Spending years transitioning systems only to repeal the new way when we’re almost done would be a monumental a waste of taxpayer money.
4. The charge that Common Core will be used by the federal government as a tool for “brainwashing” Alabama’s children is contradicted by the fact that Alabama has not adopted the Social Studies standards from Common Core. That subject is where children learn history, civics, government and economics, all subjects that would be prime territory for “brainwashing.” If people really wanted to “brainwash” children, wouldn’t you start with Social Studies?
5. I have also heard from proponents of a repeal that we don’t want nationalized interference in our state’s schools. If we’re worried about nationalized educational systems, why aren’t we also repealing Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and the ACT and SAT tests? Those are national systems, too. And all of those programs represent outside influence on the state’s children and on the state’s decision-making in education policy.
6. Common Core is utilized by 90% of the states in the nation, 45 of the 50, including every Deep Southern state that surrounds Alabama. If Alabama repeals Common Core, we will earn yet another dubious distinction— the first state to repeal Common Core. We will return ourselves to odd-man-out status, which will affect our ability to do things like recruit new industry.
7. This repeal effort is largely led by the Tea Party, the far-right wing of the conservative political spectrum, and I doubt if America can ever go right by following extreme political ideals. The truth (well-supported by evidence) is that most Americans are politically moderate, and allowing a fringe movement – on the left or the right – to control any political discussion is a bad idea.
I do not support the repeal of Common Core in Alabama, because I want what’s best for the children of this state. And I believe from what I have read and learned in workshops that implementation of Common Core is good for our children.