In a recent news article, State Rep. Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids, said he has yet to hear a rational explanation for halting funding.
“Almost all rational, reasonable people, whether Republican or Democrat, think this is the right thing to do for children,”
With a simple analogy, I’d like to offer a rational and reasonable explanation for halting Common Core funding in Michigan.
Representative Dillon, would any rational consumer buy an automobile in which they were rushed into the purchase, never given the opportunity for a test drive, and no ability to gain clear title to the car? I hardly think so. But that’s exactly what happened when Michigan adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010. Michigan rushed into adopting standards that were never tested in the classroom and that remain owned and controlled by private organizations.
1. Michigan was rushed into committing to the standards in order to compete in President Obama’s Race for the Top.
In 2009, President Obama announced his signature Race for the Top competition as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. States were awarded points for certain educational policies and reforms. Out of a possible 500 points, a maximum of 70 points were awarded for implementing common standards and assessments. An additional 47 points were awarded for the implementation of a P-20 data system to support instruction. Michigan scored a total of 366.2.
A Race for the Top application reviewer commented the following regarding the Michigan application,
“The applicant is a member of the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI), a
consortium of 51 states and territories to design a common set of K-12 standards that are
internationally benchmarked and build toward college and career readiness by high school graduation.
Since the consortium includes a majority of the States in the country, the applicant receives “high”
points for this criterion.
Michigan did not win any money in Phase 1 but our commitment to Common Core State Standards was solidified despite the fact that the actual standards had not yet been released. The applications were due in January of 2010. That was several months before the final Common Core standards were released on June 2. Michigan adopted the Common Core on June 15 of 2010, less than three weeks after the final version was released.
2. The standards could not be field tested in Michigan to see if they would work in Michigan schools.
“Of the 135 members on the official Common Core review panels convened by Achieve Inc., the consulting firm that has directed the Common Core project for the NGA, few were classroom teachers or current administrators. Parents were entirely missing. K–12 educators were mostly brought in after the fact to tweak and endorse the standards—and lend legitimacy to the results.”
A draft of the K-12 standards were released for public commentary in March 2010. The final standards were released on June 2, 2010. Michigan Department of Education unanimously adopted the standards on June 15, 2010 (PDF).
LANSING – The State Board of Education unanimously adopted today the Common Core Standards – a set of rigorous, college and career-ready K-12 curriculum standards that states across the nation are considering adopting to bring consistency in education across the states.
With this action, Michigan formally adopts the final Common Core Standards that are internationally benchmarked in English Language Arts and mathematics, formalizing Michigan’s agreement to integrate the standards into the state’s public education system.
Even a “world-class” luxury car can have design flaws and requires extensive testing before it is released and sold to consumers. Sadly, Michigan agreed to integrate the standards into every school without ever field testing them in a single Michigan classroom.
3. Michigan does not own the Common Core Standards we adopted.
Common Core State Standards are owned and copyrighted by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Chief Council of State School Officers (CCSSO).
NGA Center/CCSSO shall be acknowledged as the sole owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards, and no claims to the contrary shall be made.
This website and all content on this website, including in particular the Common Core State Standards, are the property of NGA Center and CCSSO, and NGA Center and CCSSO retain all right, title, and interest in and to the same.
The NGA and the CCSSO are private member organizations.. Should Michigan’s PUBLIC school standards be PRIVATELY owned and controlled? Without sole ownership, Michigan educators and lawmakers are severely handicapped in their ability to significantly modify or amend the standards to fit Michigan’s unique student body. By agreement, states that adopted the Common Core can only add up to 15% of additional material. At the same time, the NGA/CCSSO can change the standard as necessary; Michigan must go along with their changes and bear any costs related to the change.
This explanation is by no means a complete argument against the Common Core but a reasonable explanation why halting implementation was a necessary step. This explanation does however raise serious concerns about ownership and control that must be addressed by lawmakers that support the implementation of Common Core in Michigan’s public schools.
It is now time for Governor Snyder, Representative Dillon and other advocates of the Common Core to make a rational and reasonable case for adopting and funding an education standard Michigan does not own and can’t easily modify.
Update: Rep. Dilllon tweeted the following response today.
@SpunkyBraun Thank you. I appreciate the thought and agree this is a rational argument you are making.