Friday, March 20, 2015

Compromise Legislation Keeps Common Core Academic Standards for now.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said an agreement has been reached on legislation that would keep the state's current academic standards intact. .... included the controversial Common Core standards for English and math. (link)

My Comment:
I know some conservative political activist will be incensed that Common Core was not overturned immediately, but I am pleased to see common sense prevail. Many on the right, including organizations I normally ally with such as Americans for Prosperity, Eagle Forum, and Heritage Foundation, have been active in a campaign to repeal and abandon Common Core.  I have heard and know their arguments; I am just not convinced by the arguments.

In the last few years, since Haslam has been Governor, Tennessee has ranked as the state showing the greatest improvement in education. This year's edition of the Report Card on American Education ranks Tennessee as the 24th best state in educational performance. Education Week's Quality Counts gives Tennessee a grade that puts our state in 40th place. U.S. News and World Reports ranking of states with the best high schools, ranks Tennessee in 41st place.

I know being in 40th or 41st place is nothing to brag about, but for as long as anyone as been doing any ranking, about all we could say was "thank God of Mississippi."  Tennessee has for generations ranked second or third place from the bottom in ranking of the state's educational systems. While Tennessee has ranked very low, nationally America's education ranking in the world has been falling. For a long time America was at the top as having a good educational system. Now, America's ranks in the middle. China and India are producing better educated citizens than America. For more on how our educational ranking is slipping as a nation, follow this link.

There are many things contributing to America's falling position in the world including a $18 trillion national debt, cultural changes such as the demise of the family, a social safety net that has zapped initiative and motivation, a burdensome bureaucracy that stifles growth and innovation, and anemic and inept leadership in the White House.  One of those things contributing to our decline as a nation however is that while other nations have been improving their education system, ours has been falling. A failing education system that does not produce a capable workforce and scientist to compete on the world stage puts our future economic standing and our national security at risk.

Maybe Common Core is not the answer to adequately improving American education but it is the best thing to happen so far. It appears to be part of the answer. Maybe we can come up with "Tennessee standards" that are as good as common core, but in the mean time we should not abandon what is causing Tennessee to show rapid improvement. In my view, our educational standards as a nation are too low. Also, our nations citizens are so mobile that there needs to be a minimum common core of knowledge that students across the nation are mastering in the same grade. If a family leaves Tennessee with a fifth grader who is excelling here and moves to Massachusetts or New Hampshire that fifth grader should not be performing at a third grade level in their new home state. I do not accept that a Tennessee child is not as smart as a child in Massachusetts or new Hampshire. I am not content to be ranked second to only Mississippi as having the least educated kids in America.  I am pleased that for now we are sticking with Common Core.

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