Misinformation Campaigns Could Send Michigan the Way of Oklahoma

The Michigan Senate Education Committee voted this week to approve legislation to repeal the state’s Common Core Standards. The bill, which would implement the learning goals used by Massachusetts in 2008, will now head to the full Senate for consideration.

“It is time to end the disastrous national experiment that is Common Core and let Michigan manage its own destiny to achieve excellence in our education system,” claimed State Senator Phil Pavlov. “Replacing Common Core will put children at the center of Michigan’s education system, return control to local school boards and communities, and raise expectations for our students to better equip them to be good citizens.”

Lawmakers should be leery of letting those kinds of baseless allegations derail the state’s commitment to the Common Core. As Karen Nussle cautioned last year, “it is virtually impossible to produce a set of K-12 academic standards that both bear no resemblance to Common Core, and adequately prepare students for college and career.” With that in mind, in states that use the Common Core State Standards, the state, local school boards and communities all have control over the curriculum and content used in classrooms. Getting rid of the Common Core would only lower the learning goals we set for our students.

Indeed, that advice has been proven true by the few states to take the ill-advised path of repeal-and-replace. A white paper by the Collaborative for Student Success notes:

“Replacing the Common Core State Standards invariably leads to either modest adjustments and renaming—effectively “rebranding” the Common Core (as in both Indiana and South Carolina)—or, academic standards that are inferior to the Common Core (as in Oklahoma).

“…Rather than seeking to appease misinformed, politically-charged opponents, policymakers would be better served by using the Common Core as a framework to build upon—exactly as the standards were designed.”

If Michigan lawmakers were to replace the Common Core, they would set the state on a path backwards while most are moving forward. An analysis by Achieve found 26 states significantly narrowed their “honesty gaps” by implementing rigorous standards and high-quality assessments.

A Harvard University study concludes that most states have raised their proficiency benchmarks through the Common Core. “In short, the Common Core consortium has achieved one of its key policy objectives: the raising of state proficiency standards throughout much of the United States.”