Friday, May 27, 2016

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Catholic Education Daily


Questioning the Wisdom of Common Core

“A growing chorus of voices” is questioning the wisdom, or lack thereof, in adopting the Common Core State Standards—and deservedly so, according to Lindsey Burke. 

Burke is the Will Skillman Fellow in Education at The Heritage Foundation, and her recent commentary on Common Core ran in The Sunshine State News. Burke suggested that Florida is a prime example of a state where national standards would hurt the educational system, not help it. “If any state should recognize that choice and innovation come from the ground up and will only be stifled by heavy-handed and inflexible national standards and tests, Florida is that state,” she wrote.  “[A]nyone who values choice in education should be particularly concerned about the impact on educational options outside of the public system.”

Burke pointedly stated that “[m]ore centralization is not the way to improve our schools,” but rather that educational accountability to parents and taxpayers is.

She worries that if Common Core standards are implemented across the board, there will be no availability of school choice—such as having Catholic schools that differ from the public school option. Instead, the “public system will continue to receive a steady stream of dollars and students, no matter how poorly it performs.”

Burke pointed out how the SAT and ACT have already been realigned to match Common Core content—in some ways forcing all college-bound students to take the standards into account, and that this could lead to common core-friendly textbooks monopolizing that market as well. 

The financial incentive for states to adopt the Common Core is great, Burke explains, “Washington has plied [the states] with $4.35 billion in Race to the Top grants and offered to further ease their pain by granting waivers from the onerous provisions of ‘No Child Left Behind’ (Washington's largest fingerprint on education).” Burke also questioned the necessity behind the deep-pocketed subsidies, stating: “If the Common Core approach was truly desired by state and local officials, you wouldn’t think the feds would need to incentivize them so lavishly."

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