Today I attended a public meeting of a joint legislative committee in North Carolina that is studying Common Core and will likely make recommendations on its implementation in the state. The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a set of standards for K-12 in English and Math. It will later include Science and Social Studies. It is a top down program coming from Washington, D.C., that is copyrighted and not tailored to meet the needs of each individual state. The Common Core program is heavily funded by the Bill Gates Foundation.
There were sixty speakers at the meeting and another forty or fifty in the audience listening to the arguments. Generally speaking, those who supported Common Core spoke of the need for educational standards. I don’t think anyone would dispute that educational standards are needed–the question is whether those standards will be handled locally or handed down from Washington, D.C.
The arguments against Common Core were varied. Some people argued that the dictation of educational standards from Washington, D. C. was unconstitutional. Other speakers expressed concern about the amount of data that will be collected on the students in the Common Core program and what will be done with that data. There was a serious question as to whether privacy rights of students and parents will be protected.
The most convincing argument against Common Core came from parents of children in kindergarten through grade three. Those parents were nearly in tears as they described the impact Common Core was having on their children–the children hate school and are suffering anxiety attacks due to the pressure of constant testing. The children are also being asked to understand concepts that are not age-appropriate to them.
Two other objections to Common Core were that the program has not been tested and that no one has put a specific price tag on the cost of implementing and maintaining the program.
After listening to the statements made this morning, I can only conclude that it would be unwise to implement a set of academic standards without adequately testing them or knowing how much they would cost. I would strongly suggest that the State of North Carolina set its own academic standards by observing other states that have been successful in doing this. Massachusetts (before Common Core) is a very good example of a state that greatly improved its academic standards without any help from the federal government. This is probably the only time I will ever suggest that North Carolina follow the example of Massachusetts, but this is the one time Massachusetts has set a good example.