The most controversial issue in education today is clearly Common Core. It's being more hotly debated than bullying, zero tolerance, sex ed, abortion or even school lunches.
Common Core is the title of a new set of standards the Obama administration has been trying to force the states to use. Even before the standards were written, 45 states and the District of Columbia signed on, encouraged by inducements of federal funds. The principal outliers are Texas, Alaska, Nebraska and Virginia.
Now that parents and teachers are finding out what is commanded by Common Core State Standards and what is being taught by "Common Core-aligned" materials, moms and teachers are raising a ruckus, trying to get their respective states to repeal their involvement. Many are demanding that their state withdraw altogether from Common Core, principally because they believe it is a takeover by the Obama administration of all that kids are taught and not taught.
The backlash against Common Core has developed into a potent political force. About 100 bills have been introduced into various state legislatures to cancel, stop or slow down Common Core requirements.
Indiana broke the ice on March 23, becoming the first state to pass an anti-Common Core bill. It strikes out references to Common Core in the law and requires the state board of education to maintain Indiana's sovereignty while complying with federal standards.
When Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed this legislation that opted his state out of Common Core, he said, "I believe our students are best served when decisions about education are made at the state and local level."
The Indiana bill was introduced as a straight repeal of Common Core, but it ended up keeping so many Common Core requirements that its original sponsor, Sen. Scott Schneider, pulled his name off of it.
The game of some people, obviously, is to pass standards that are nearly identical to Common Core but under a different name, because the name itself has become toxic. And states are always solicitous to maintain their flow of federal funds, which the Obama administration uses as bribes or threats.
The second state that went public against Common Core was South Carolina. On May 30, Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill abolishing Common Core standards in her state beginning in 2015.
Legislators were responding to constituent complaints that Common Core introduces frivolous and illogical teaching techniques to no apparent purpose while imposing new standards that are not meaningful improvements. Common Core ends up being a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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