Historic win for school choice in Oklahoma

Mike Turner

6/13/2014 12:01:00 AM - Mike Turner

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan can threaten us all he wants; we’re finished with Common Core in Oklahoma.

Last week Governor Mary Fallin made it official, signing into law legislation repealing the law’s impact on our state’s education standards.

As a state representative, I was proud to have voted to stop Common Core. As a conservative, I’m outraged I had to in the first place. We need to be standing up for school choice, not whitewashing standards that are better for bureaucrats than parents and children.

At any rate, the Obama administration is none too happy with us.

“We partner with states whether they’re in Common Core or have their own high standards. But where we will challenge status quo is when states dummy down standards,” Duncan said.

Coming from the same person who blamed “white suburban moms” for the Common Core backlash that’s swept America over the last year, it’s hard to take his thoughts on quality education standards too seriously.

Both South Carolina and Indiana said no, and it’s not because they want to dumb down standards.

Facts back us up. A Brookings Institute study released in April shows that states adhering, or relatively close to, Common Core fare worse on math tests. The states that did best on the subject were those that had standards farthest removed from Common Core.

“Supporters of Common Core argue that strong, effective standards will sweep away such skepticism by producing lasting, significant gains in student learning,” the study says. “So far at least…there are no signs of such an impressive accomplishment.”

Google “common core math” and you don’t have to go far to find “The Ten Dumbest Common Core Problems. It’s not an Onion story.

As someone who’s been blessed with the opportunity to get two engineering degrees and later teach undergraduate classes on the subject, that incenses me.

Oklahomans deserved better, and we delivered. Now we need conservatives who won’t back down, regardless of what party is standing in the way of good policies.

That’s been my creed since I was elected to the state House in 2012, and it’ll be the same in Congress if given the chance.

I wish I could say the same for someone else in this race.

Steve Russell voted three different times for the bill that implemented it on our families. Now he claims to oppose Common Core, calling it a “national takeover of our schools” and vowing to “fight to repeal” the standards.

He just didn’t when he had the chance.

Oklahoma conservatives deserve better than this kind of representation. We don’t need pastels. What we need is aggressive, bold conservatism untainted by this kind of political doublespeak.

I’ll be unrelenting in standing up for school choice in Congress. Stopping Common Core in Oklahoma was a good start, but getting the government knows best mindset out of our educational system is what we can’t stop pushing for. That won’t come through compromise, or through voting one way and saying something else during election season.

It’ll come through conservative principles, sticking to them, and working to deliver results. I got things done in Oklahoma without backing down on compromising. That’s the type of can-do fight I’ll have in Congress.

Ensuring the highest quality of education standards is too important to do less, regardless of what Arne Duncan says.