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Opposition against Common Core is gaining steam

Published: Monday, Aug. 3 2015 12:07 p.m. MDT

Common Core opponents rally at the State Board of Education office in Salt Lake City in this Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, file photo (Laura Seitz, Deseret News) Common Core opponents rally at the State Board of Education office in Salt Lake City in this Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, file photo (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

Opposition to the Common Core State Standards Initiative is garnering more attention, highlighted in a recent column by George F. Will in the Washington Post that also ran in the Deseret News on Jan. 16, 2014.

According to the mission statement on the Common Core State Standards Initiative home page, the goal is to provide a clear path to success for both teachers and students. “With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy,” the mission statement says on the website.

However great the goal of Common Core may seem, both proponents and critics are signaling trouble for the centralized education program. As the number of critics citing legal grounds grows, Will suggests that supporters of the program shelter themselves in secrecy. “Proponents talk warily when describing it because a candid characterization would reveal yet another Obama administration indifference to legality,” Will writes.

Rally attendees take buttons out of a container prior to the meeting. A group of parents and legislators gathers in the state Capitol to rally against Common Core educational standards Wednesday, July 17, 2013. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Rally attendees take buttons out of a container prior to the meeting. A group of parents and legislators gathers in the state Capitol to rally against Common Core educational standards Wednesday, July 17, 2013. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Conversely, after Will’s opinion was printed, the Washington Post published a letter to the editor rebutting Will’s opinion. It argues that Common Core prepares students for the 21st century economy. “It focuses on the building blocks of learning, including reading and math. It provides clarity and consistency that puts participating states on an equal footing.”

John Stossel, a Fox News host and a critic of Common Core, recently theorized in a piece he wrote for Real Clear Politics that centralized government programs never work and cause stagnation. He said that proponents of the program maintain that states, and our children, have a choice in education, but he quickly downplays that choice as a bribe of federal funds to accept the program.

“Common Core, like public school, public housing, the U.S. Postal Service, the Transportation Security Administration, etc., are all one-size-fits-all government monopolies. For consumers, this is not a good thing,” Stossel wrote. “With the future riding on young people consuming better forms of education, I'd rather leave parents and children (and educators) multiple choices.”

National Review Online summed it up by theorizing that the growing debate over Common Core has less to do with content and more to do with transparency. “Parents and teachers from across the political spectrum are joining together in a nationwide grassroots rebellion to protest the lack of transparency in the Common Core adoption process,” National Review’s Lance T. Izumi wrote, “the exclusion of public input, and the disempowerment of local educators and the public.”

Izumi stated that the Obama administration "strong-armed" states to comply with monitary insentives before the standards were even written. He quotes Anothony Cody, a left-leaning blogger for Education Week and a former teacher, as saying that he can't believe the U.S. Department of Education thinks "that they could assemble a small group of people, write a set of standards that would totally transform the way our children are taught, and coerce states into adopting them with zero genuine discussion or debate in the public arena."

With unrest over Common Core gaining steam among parents and local educators, and while 45 of 50 states are currently adopting the program, the time for a debate is running out.

Erik Raymond is experienced in national and international politics. He relocated from the Middle East where he was working on his second novel. He produces content for DeseretNews.com. You can reach him at: eraymond@deseretdigital.com @RaymondErik

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