The Common Core Standards Initiative is a state-led initiative authored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO); contributors to the effort include teachers, parents, experts, researchers and school administrators from across the country. The standards were drafted and adopted by 45 states, most of which signed on in 2010-11 with a 2013-15 implementation goal.
So what is the issue with raising education standards for our future generations? Much of the opposition feels that standardized curriculums stifle a teachers craft, relinquishes states’ of control of education, and in some cases adds additional costs to a state’s budget. While standardization may alter one’s perception of freedom, the Initiative states that the standards “establish what students need to learn, but they do not dictate how teachers should teach”*. By streamlining just some of what teachers are doing in class, as standards have only been developed for English Language Arts and Mathematics, teachers are able to maintain creative freedom with their lesson plans but also collaborate with administrators and schools nationwide. And because the standards were not federally mandated, states always had the choice to opt into adoption of standards, as seen by the map below.
Such a substantial fund may be enough to entice any state to sign on to the standards, but states were aware that they may not receive funds, and over half didn’t. Now some states are seeing anti-common core legislation introduced amongst divided legislatures. In Indiana, Senate Bill 193 was introduced with the purpose of halting any state implementation of Common Core standards; a key component of former Governor Mitch Daniels K-12 education reform. The bill easily passed the Senate 38-11 and is currently in limbo. Next, the bill will be assigned to a committee, which will determine if the bill is heard on the house floor. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has been vigilant in the effort, encouraging a broad audience to contact their legislators on behalf of Common Core. Additionally, their State Board of Education endorsed Common Core as recently as January, despite a lack of funding from feds. Derek Redelman, VP of Education and Workforce Policy at the Indiana Chamber, has described pushback as “interpretation that the initiative was developed and promoted by the feds. The President simply endorsed it, the same way he endorsed charter schools, performance pay for teachers, and takeover of failing schools” he added. Redelman also shed light on the opposition’s argument of added costs in regards to professional development for teachers, “There is some legitimacy to an overall cost concern, but we have to ask ourselves – was this the right thing to do to help improve education anyway? This isn’t trading two equals, most people believe that this is a significant improvement and with a lot of things that get improved, there is going to be some investment required to accomplish that”.
To learn more about Common Core, click here.