The move to repeal Common Core Curriculum in Ohio
The philosophy of the Common Core Curriculum initiative in our education system has been implemented by over 40 states but everyone has not been convinced. There are moves in some states to repeal the adoption of this initiative and one of these states is Ohio. The organization is called Ohioans against Common Core. In their website they identify the reasons why this effort has been generated. The philosophy involved reaches the core of our education system and each of the principles/rights need to remain in existence. Below are the reasons identified on their web site:
To affirm the right of parents in their child’s education
To restore local control of education
To assure the teaching of American values
To restore the right of teachers to practice their craft
To reduce the power of standardized testing
We can all agree in the principles which the Ohioans against Common Core have identified. Education is a critical aspect of our society and when measures are taken to change the philosophy of our education system parents and the public at large need to ask direct questions.
I understand the philosophy of the Common Core Curriculum initiative but the problem is the methods it proposes to implement. The main point as I see it involves each school teaching the same curriculum across the country so if a student moves he/she will not be behind in their new school. Another aspect is the waiver granted to schools implementing this initiative to the No Child Left Behind philosophy. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) philosophy was one of accountability. Each state developed their own standards based on the premise that high standards with measurable goals can improve individual standards. The key in this aspect is individual standards. The involvement of the NCLB was annual testing, annual academic progress, report cards, teacher qualifications and funding changes. It was a law which was passed with bi-partisan support. The waiver granted to schools from the NCLB amounts to replacing a program passed by Congress with one which has not seen legislation creating a program replacing it. Granted it was part of a stimulus bill in 2009 but it was not established through legislation as a replacement for NCLB. Establishing standards is different than establishing curriculum.
Parents of school age children have rights associated with their child’s education. Changes are made to school curriculum all the time but parents have the right to complain to the administration of their school district when things are being taught to which they disagree. The rights are the same for content being removed as they are for being added. This initiative seems as it appears to take away these rights with regards to the content being taught and the methods used to teach them. School needs are not the same across the country as there are differences in the culture of individual schools along with the needs of individual students. Each student has different learning capabilities and the success of any subject depends on the methods used by teachers to help students on subjects with which they are having trouble comprehending.
The second principle cited by the Ohioans against Common Core curriculum in Ohio is to restore local control of schools. Today individuals and sometimes groups complain about the curriculum in particular schools as they are not in agreement with what is being taught. This is their right but only if it involves the schools in districts in which they are residents. National groups get involved with issues in which they have no right or authority. It should be the local residents to make decisions about what is being taught and what should not be taught. Control of school curriculum through this initiative is taking away the control from local school districts. It is not only directing what is to be taught but the methods used to teach them. The movement for this initiative did not just happen as it was as I understand it part of the stimulus package signed into law in 2009.
The third principle cited against the Common Core Curriculum initiative is restoring the teaching of American Values. The values we have as individuals and as a country can be seen in the Constitution especially through the bill of rights. These values at least on the surface appear to be ignored in the initiative based on the information which can be accessed through several websites. Changes in education which have taken place in part through our court system it seems to have diminished the teaching of these values as part of the curriculum.
In another principle cited against the Common Core Curriculum it refers to teachers practicing their craft. Individuals who have become teachers need to be allowed to adjust their methods to teach all types of students with different capabilities to learn. The No Child Left Behind emphasized this aspect as students have different capabilities and the NCLB program emphasized the need to make sure all students receive a quality education.
Last but not least the opposition to this new initiative wants to reduce the power of standardized testing. Our education system has a number of standardized tests and Common Core adds another layer of tests with which schools are measured not based on standards developed by states but based on the curriculum established for all schools across the country. Having the same curriculum across all states which is the intention of this initiative creates more involvement by government through dangling the opportunities for funding if states adopt this philosophy. Funding for schools is an area where many districts struggle and while some funds may be provided the funding for this initiative will be in jeopardy at some point in the future given our national debt situation. Schools/states who adopt this philosophy should make the decision based on the quality of the program not the chance of getting additional funding. They also need to look at the principles identified in this initiative opposing the Common Core Curriculum and choose the best opportunity for the students to receive a quality education,