Sunday, May 4, 2014

Keep the Tires, Cut the #CommonCore Strings

In his response to the LWV 2014 Voter Guide questions, State School Superintendent Barge says of the Common Core "Georgia can and is already refining the standards to better serve the needs of our students. We will continue to do so. We must provide more students with a better education that prepares them for life after high school." He is tacitly admitting that they are flawed even while supporting them. But more importantly for local control, he is affirming our ability to make these changes.

Now, I truly believe these standards are not all bad. Where the rubber meets the road, I believe some parts are quite good. They have actually incorporated much of our own home-grown Georgia Performance Standards. Even a car that's a "lemon" can have a good set of tires.

What I most object to are the attached strings. I keep hearing that we don't need to worry about centralized federal control, that this is a good deal and that we can get out of the contract whenever we want. Ever try to get out of a car lease contract?

Speaking of cars, Common Core is somewhat like us getting a Great New Deal on a new automobile that comes with a brand new set of top-of-the-line tires with mag wheels thrown in. Now, the car we have been working with (Georgia Performance Standards) is only a year or two old and we have gotten it somewhat broken in. All indications are that, with tweaking at the local level, it would do what we need for years to come. Do we really need a new car that we have to "refine" after the sale to fit our needs? Do we really want that Great New Deal with its strings attached?

Let's say we can't resist the pressures to buy this Great New Deal. We go ahead and trade-in our old car for the new. Then we discover that, lo and behold, this new car is a "Clunker." You know the kind, it breaks down frequently, makes funny noises, and can't be trusted to get you where you need to go. That good set of tires was the honey to get us to eat the lemon.

Now, I appreciate the fact that, having bought the thing, the Governor and some state officials have taken steps to fix problems with this lemon. But all in all, it's a bad buy. We need to go back to the car that served us before the trade-in. Or perhaps we should replace that Great New Deal with a car that actually suits our needs. Either way, the experience should not go to waste. We should keep that good set of tires when we replace the #CommonCore lemon.

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