A Guest Post by Melanie Kurdys
The resignation letter of Eagle Crest Charter Academy President Biran Polet because of Common Core and SBAC has sparked a lot of interest in the role Common Core and high-stakes testing is playing in school choice.
There are people who are strong advocates of both school choice and Common Core. Governor Snyder and Great Lakes Education Project are two examples. Does this make sense? What is the impact of Common Core on school choice?
The pro-choice, pro-Common Core advocates argue that since Common Core is “just a standard”, it serves as a quality expectation for all schooling alternatives. There are several problems with this argument including:
– Common Core standards are not proven. Unverified standards do not assure quality of outcome.
– Common Core standards are developmentally inappropriate. Requiring all educational choices to follow CCSS means no developmentally appropriate choice is viable.
– Common Core eliminates teacher flexibility to tailor instruction to students and forces them to teach to the test.
– Common Core standards require an increase of non-fiction reading in English classes, which thus causes a reduction in time for classical fiction. Classical education models call for exclusive emphasis on whole text reading of classical fiction. These are contradictory requirements which cannot coexist in the same educational model.
– CC standards require elementary students learn numerous methods to perform calculations. An alternative teaching method instructs in one method to mastery. These approaches are contradictory and cannot both exist in the same educational model without significant impact to educational philosophy. And traditional Euclidean geometry is prohibited under CC. Schools that offer one method to mastery and Euclidean geometry should be among the choices.
– CCSS are privately owned and copyrighted which gives control of education to a handful of unelected unaccountable elites.
Consider an analogy. If some regulatory entity established standards for cars like this:
– Front wheel drive
– Must be 4 feet tall, 6 feet wide, 10 feet long
– No plugs for electronics
– Full safety complement including auto takeover of driving
Well, you get the idea. These are just standards. The question is, what choice is left for the consumer? Not much. And in education that leaves only the Common Core as the only choice.
Anyone advocating choice without fighting Common Core is guilty of furthering the weak performance of public schools and undermining the rights of public school parents and teachers. Choice decreases under Common Core. Consider,
- In New Orleans the last public schools in their district were closed moving completely away from local/parent control to state control. Michigan is using the same RSD plan as Louisiana.
- No chartering authority in Michigan is willing to charter a Hllsdale model Classical Charter school.
TRUE choice increases parent engagement which in turn increases student learning. Common Core denies true choice to parents and pushes them out of the daily educational experience with their children The number of college educated parents frustrated that they are unable to help their elementary students with their homework demonstrates that fact!
It’s time for Governor Snyder, GLEP, and others to be intellectually honest. Pro-common core is anti- school choice.
Please read our Election 2014: Roll Call and find out which candidates are pro-Common Core and which are against. .