Charles Schaub, a political commentator, claims Massachusetts voters should fight to repeal the Common Core because the standards are federally imposed and will “dumb down” the state’s education system. “To me, this seemed like the clearest case of the federal government’s overreaching its bounds and bullying communities into accepting its view of a good education,” Schaub argues. “Using an untested, unproven method all over the country is a risky and dangerous move.”
Contrary to Schaub’s claim, Common Core State Standards were developed free from any federal involvement, and they were voluntarily adopted by states. In the time since, states have continue to review, refine and build on the Common Core framework, making changes to ensure the standards meet students’ needs—exactly as they were intended.
Moreover, the standards ensure local teachers and school board have full control over what they teach in their classrooms and how they teach it. Last year more than 20 State Teachers of the Year wrote, “The Common Core is not a federal takeover of our schools, nor does it force teachers into a rigid model for classroom instruction…In fact, under the common core, teachers have greater flexibility to design their classroom lessons—and can, for the first time, take advantage of the best practices from great teachers in other states.”
Polling indicates parents and teachers are strongly supportive of that purpose. In a memo last fall, Karen Nussle explains, “Support for high, consistent standards, by any name, remains strikingly strong.”
Even Schaub acknowledges the rationale of setting high, comparable learning goals for students: “The idea behind Common Core is to provide students with a consistent educational experience across the country. Surely the idea of all students’ having the necessary skill sets to succeed is attractive to everyone.”
Schaub’s concerns, then, are moot. Not only were the standard created by state leaders, and continue to be implemented by local educators, the newly minted Every Student Succeeds Act ensures the federal government has no control over what education standards states use—Common Core or otherwise.