Commnetary Common Core Problems Legislative Updates

Gov. Snyder why are PUBLIC standards PRIVATELY owned?

I had the privilege of being a part of a WOODTV’s Live Town Hall with Governor Snyder.  (Video at link could not be embedded.)

My question centered around the fact that when we adopted the Common Core our PUBLIC school standards became PRIVATELY owned by the NGA and the CCSSO.  It appears from Governor Snyder’s answer that we have ceded our authority role in education and become a mere “voice” at the table.

Here’s a brief transcript of my question and his answer:

Karen Braun:   My question to you Governor Snyder is that the standards are copyrighted.  They are owned by a private trade organization.  They are no longer owned by the State of Michigan.  Governor Snyder, how did we cede control of our standards, public standards, to a private trade association?

Governor Snyder:  If you step back and look at it, it was a consortium of states working together.  And that is the way we can manage this.  Cause again we don’t have to do this.  But if you have a case of you have 45 states coming together I think there is a pretty good consensus that people believe there is something good here.  Otherwise it wouldn’t be happening.     It’s an evolving thing so it’s not like we’ve ceded control of everything.  We’re having this dialogue right now about do we want to be part of it or not.  Again, we have a voice at the table to say what these standards should be.   And again the federal government is not dominating this discussion.  They are highly involved and that can be a challenge at times.  But the states really made this thing happen.   And I think we should be proud that we are raising the standards on what we expect out of our kids.

Michigan is now  a “voice at the table?” in determining our PUBLIC school standards?    Prior to adopting the Common Core Michigan was the final voice and authority in determining our standards.  Now we are merely a “voice in the table.”  Governor Snyder is correct, we haven’t ceded “everything”  we’ve just ceded the primary thing — our authority position in Michigan education.   As a member of the consortium of states,  we are allowed to “ask” or “advocate” for change but the decision is not ours alone.

Governor Snyder also admitted that the federal government is “highly involved and it can be a challenge at times.”   Wow.  Arne Duncan said just the opposite in a speech a few months ago, “

I believe the Common Core State Standards may prove to be the single greatest thing to happen to public education in America since Brown versus Board of Education—and the federal government had nothing to do with creating them.

The federal government didn’t write them, didn’t approve them, and doesn’t mandate them. And we never will. Anyone who says otherwise is either misinformed or willfully misleading.

So is Governor Snyder “misinformed” or “willfully misleading”?    I think he is neither.   He is informed and actually told the truth —  the federal government is “highly involved”  in Common Core.
There was no ability for a follow-up.  But I wanted to ask Governor Snyder a couple more questions:

1.  Where is the table located and who else is sitting with us?   

Currently according to the Common Core website, they are not telling who is going to manage the standards.

Who will manage the Common Core State Standards Initiative in the future?

The Common Core State Standards Initiative was and will remain a state-led effort. In addition to supporting effective implementation of the Common Core State Standards, NGA and CCSSO are committed to developing a long-term sustainability structure with leadership from governors, chief state school officers, and other state policymakers. There will be an ongoing state-led development process that can support continuous improvement of the standards.

So Michigan has a voice at a table but it apparently hasn’t been built yet or they are keeping it under wraps for a little while longer.  Shouldn’t Michigan know the governing structure and WHO is on it BEFORE we go forward with Common Core?   Before Common Core, Michigan elected those who would govern our education standards but will governing structure be accountable to the people of Michigan?  And if not, who will hold this “structure” accountable?

Which leads to my second follow-up question,

2.  Governor Snyder said the federal government is “highly involved” and that can be a challenge at times.   How do we know that the federal government won’t be a “voice at the table” in the management of the standards and eventually become the lead voice?”

Already we see that the federal government’s heavy hand in “reviewing”  the SBAC assessments.

The Technical Review is one component of the Department’s Race to the Top Assessment Program  Review, which is the way we are working with both consortia to support and provide oversight of their work.

Support and oversight?  Wait a minute!  I thought this was a “state-led” effort by the Governors.   Why is the Department of Education overseeing their work?   And if they are allowed to be the overseer of the assessments will they one day be allowed to oversee the work of the “structure” that manages the Common Core?  Remember, Governor Snyder said this is an “evolving process.”

Governor Snyder’s answers last night were insufficient and lead to even more questions.  As the Governor and a member of the NGA,  he is the only leader in Michigan who can  answer these questions.  He MUST answer them.  Unless we have a satisfactory answer to this fundamental question of why our PUBLIC school standards are PRIVATELY owned; and know with certainty who will manage them and the process for changing them,  we should NOT go forward with the Common Core.

Call the Governor (517-373-3400) and your state lawmakers today and tell them you want to retain our authority in education standards and  permanently stop common core in Michigan.