Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why I will not be atttending the anti-Common Core Rally 1:30 - 3 pm Wednesday at Legislative Plaza

There will be an anti-Common Core Rally 1:30 - 3 pm Wednesday at Legislative Plaza. I will not be attending. Many on the right including Eagle Forum, The Heritage Foundation,and  Americans for Prosperity are opposing Common Core, but I support it. I hate to be on the opposite side of  an issue with these groups with whom I am usually in alignment, but I think they are simply wrong on this issue and their arguments are weak. While I have had some concerns about common core they are primarily privacy concerns. A law working its way through the state legislature addresses those concerns. An argument against Common Core is that a national standard somehow violates a state's sovereignty and any standardization is suspect. I think some conservative would be happier if a foot was 13 inches in some states but only eleven inches in other states and we didn't all drive on the right hand side of the road.

On balance I think Common Core is a needed reform. Today, only a quarter of U.S. students who graduate from high school are ready for college.  U.S. students have fallen to 14th in the world in reading and 25th in math. Over $3 billion is spent annually on remedial education to teach college kids what they should have learned in high school.  Thirty percent of high school graduates can’t pass the U.S. military entrance exam.

Common Core will provide a more rigorous objective standard and we can truly see how students are  performing.  America is too mobile of a country not to have an education system that is not similar from state to state. An "A" student in Tennessee should not be a "D" student in Indiana. Military families move about every 18 months. It would be nice if the same common core of knowledge that was being taught in the fourth grade in one school was the same common core of knowledge being taught in another school.

I was in five different schools in the first five years of grammar school. I remember when I entered the fourth grade in South Knoxville we were given a math work sheet and I thought this is easy and I finished quickly. The problem was that the worksheet was multiplication problems, not addition problems.  In the fourth grade I entered, the students had learned multiplication in the third grade. In the third grade I had attended it was not even introduced. I think it is reasonable that nationwide there be a standard of when children are taught multiplication and other subject matter.

If you are a conservative activist, you have been inundated with arguments against Common Core.  Some of them are points of view about which reasonable people may disagree.  Some of the argument put forth against Common Core get off into the tin foil hat territory, however. There is a lot being said about what common core curriculum includes and how terrible it is when there is no such curriculum.  Some of the criticism, such as opposition to word math problems that requires a child to use reason to understand the problem, I do not understand at all.  I urge you to consider the arguments in favor of Common Core. Below are some articles and sites that explain why common core is a positive development and why we should welcome and embrace it.

Conservatives for Common Standards.

Common Core: conservative to the core. Six arguments for an idea that arose from the States by  Chester E. Finn Jr. and Michael J. Petrilli, Finn served in the Reagan administration; Petrilli served in the George W. Bush administration. Both are affiliated with the Hoover Institution.

The Political Right and the Common Core Strawman

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