As a FWCS school board candidate, I am listening with great interest to the presidential debates. When President Obama touts education reform in 46 states as one of his accomplishments, most people havent yet realized that Obama is referring to the new Common Core State Standards being implemented nationwide, including in Indiana.
Surprisingly, Gov. Mitch Daniels and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett helped wheel this Trojan horse into our midst.
Originally, Common Core was supposed to raise academic standards and make what is taught in each grade level more uniform. Unfortunately, the special interests in Washington, D.C., could not resist a huge power grab. Funding incentives like the Race to the Top grants, which requires the adoption of the Common Core Standards in order to receive the funds, lead to school corporations like FWCS and states scrambling for the additional money and willingly embracing the new requirements.
Unfortunately, they never took time to consider what sort of standards they agreed to adopt; no longer in a Race to the Top and higher standards, we are in a race to mediocrity. We are voluntarily relinquishing Indianas superior, acclaimed standards for those that are inferior to our current standards in math and language arts.
Under Common Core, by the end of eighth grade students will be two years behind their international counterparts in math. High school graduates will achieve only a seventh-grade reading level. These are hardly rigorous standards, leaving our students less prepared to compete in the 21st century.
When states are done implementing this new, unproven, copyrighted program which includes curriculum, tests, and teacher training from which they may not deviate, they will have lost every last vestige of local control. Common Core districts must use their curriculum, their assessments and their state tests. Even the SAT may become aligned with Common Core. If an alternative curriculum is used, students will not be able to score well on these new tests. Therefore, homeschoolers and private schools will be affected, especially if they want accreditation or to accept vouchers.
Imagine the power the federal government will wield when it controls the content and perspective that will be taught to every student nationwide K-12. With virtually no public debate, Obama has quietly engineered the federal takeover of the education system nationwide.
Recognizing the dangers of this overhaul of education, Mitt Romney states his opposition to Common Core as follows: To financially reward states based on accepting the federal governments idea of a curriculum is a mistake. There may be a time when the federal government has an agenda it wants to promote.
Are we going to place our childrens futures in the hands of Washington bureaucrats? We need to send ObamaCore back. It starts by electing a new president in November. Then we must join the four states that have already rejected it. Our next governor and state legislature must understand that Indiana needs to opt out of Common Core. That is the only way states, local school boards, and parents will retain the ability to choose the curriculum and the standards for the education of the students in their community.
Hoosiers must take a stand now for academic excellence and educational freedom for the sake of our children, before Common Core is fully implemented.