If you’ve scanned through the Court’s archives, you’ll see a number of post concerning education…or rather the lack of education. The reason for my interest is that the current educational system is broken. When a large metropolitan area, say like that of Kansas City, has a school district that has lost its state accreditation, say like Kansas City, and has a 22% illiteracy rate among its high school graduates, say like Kansas City, the educational system is broken.
The Kansas City school district has a liberal social-engineering agenda since the 1970s. Literally, billions of dollars has been spent over the decades on the KC school district will no progress made in the primary purpose of the district—educating the children of Kansas City.
Another questionable federal initiative is the Federal Core State Standards program. If you read the overview, the goals seem praiseworthy. The program establishes goals by grade for reading, writing, math and social sciences. On the surface, it seems to be something we could all support.
If that is true, why are states dropping out of the program?
Rachel Sheffield, May 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm
Alabama has joined a growing number of states opposing the Common Core national education standards.
Last week, the state senate adopted a resolution to “encourage the State Board of Education to take all steps it deems appropriate, including revocation of the adoption of the initiative’s standards if necessary, to retain complete control over Alabama’s academic standards, curriculum, instruction, and testing system.”
This comes at the same time other states are backing away from the standards. Education Week reported earlier this month:
Utah has been surfing the waves of common-standards controversy lately. Now it appears that the standards aren’t the only thing the state is uneasy about. It’s also uneasy about the tests being designed for them.
We are getting word that Utah plans to downgrade its membership in one of the assessment consortia from “governing” to “advisory.” Governing states have voting power on key policy and design questions. They also are committed to using the tests.… Advisory states can sit in on discussions, but have no voting power and do not have to promise to use the tests.
Colorado seems to be similarly queasy. In the last couple of weeks the state board of education rejected a proposal that would have made Colorado a governing partner of one of the consortia developing the Common Core assessments.
And back in February legislators in South Carolina introduced a measure to pull their state out of the Common Core national standards. Governor Nikki Haley likewise publicly expressed her opposition to the standards.
If the standards program is as good as it appears at first glance, why are states dropping out of the program or scaling back their membership and adherence to the program’s initiatives?
Conservative Groups Oppose National ‘Common Core’ as an Intrusion on States
The Common Core national math and reading standards, adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia two years ago, are coming under attack from some quarters as a federal intrusion into state education matters.
The voluntary academic standards, which specify what students should know in each grade, were heavily promoted by the Obama administration through its $4.35 billion Race to the Top education-grant competition. States that instituted changes such as common learning goals received bonus points in their applications.
…conservative lawmakers and governors in at least five states, including Utah and Alabama, recently have been pushing to back out, or slow down implementation, of Common Core. They worry that adoption of the standards has created a de facto national curriculum that could at some point be extended into more controversial areas such as science.
Critics argue that the standards are weak and could, for example, de-emphasize literature in favor of informational texts, such as technical manuals. They also dislike that the standards postpone teaching algebra until ninth grade from the current eighth grade in many schools.
A study released this year by a researcher at the Brookings Institution think tank projected Common Core will have no effect on student achievement. The study said states with high standards improved their national math and reading scores at the same rate as states with low standards from 2003 to 2009.
But mainly, critics of Common Core object to what they see as the federal government’s involvement in local-school matters.
“The Common Core takes education out of the hands of South Carolina and parents, so we have no control over what happens in the classroom,” said Michael Fair, a Republican state senator who plans to introduce a measure that would bar his state from spending money on activities related to the standards, such as training teachers and purchasing textbooks.
More and more states have plans to either drop-out or oppose in some fashion this federal plan. They, rightfully so, fear more federal intrusion into the states prerogatives. Education has historically been a local function. The states began to consolidate education at the state level in the last century. Jimmy Carter created a cabinet level Department of Education in 1980.
If the pattern of federal actions continue as they have in other areas, the states will next see federally required curriculum followed by mandatory spending standards. Soon, the states will have no control of education at all.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who took office after the state adopted Common Core, wrote in a letter to Mr. Fair that the state should not “relinquish control of education to the federal government, neither should we cede it to the consensus of other states.” — The Wall Street Journal
The states must wrest education back from the federal government. The federal success rate is flat at best. In the article above, one statistic indicated that no progress was made following the standards regardless of the level of funding. The Kansas City School District is an excellent example that throwing money at a problem does not work. After forty years of federal oversight and on occasion outright control, the Kansas City School District is a complete failure. The reading comprehension levels, math proficiency and the results in other measured categories are worse now than they were in 1970.
If the states can gain control of education, the next step must be to wrest local control back from the state. Let the school districts rise or fall based on their own merits. And, if a district such as Kansas City fails, the parents of that district will respond by voting with their feet to better schools, public or private, start their own schools, or perhaps home school. When Judge Clark took personal control of the Kansas City School District, private schools appeared overnight and many still exist.
It is the parent’s responsibility to educate their children. If the parents can’t…or won’t educate their children, perhaps they shouldn’t be parents?