Common Core Confusion

In recent weeks, several confusing and conflicting statements about Common Core have been made by some very influential people.  Let’s take a look….

Confusing Statement #1:
ESSA “essentially does away with the notion of a Common Core.”   U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos.

That is what Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos told Frank Beckmann on Detroit’s WJR News Talk 760 AM on February 22 and it’s news to us!  To make matters even worse, she said it on the SAME day the Michigan Competitiveness Committee was debating HB 4192 a bill to Repeal and Replace Common Core.   If Common Core has been “done away with” that was certainly not brought up by anyone at the hearing.   Frank Beckmann allowed me, Karen Braun, to go on his show the following week to set the record straight.  You can listen to my interview with Beckmann here.

Confusing Statement #2: 
“Michigan has high standards today,” Kevin Stotts, president of Talent 2025, a West Michigan business group, said in the hearing on HB 4192. “It doesn’t matter that we have low education performance. That’s not an indication that we have the wrong standards.” 

Common Core was adopted by the Michigan State Board of Education in 2010.   Secretary of Education DeVos thinks they re gone while Kevin Stotts of Talent 2025 voluntarily admits at the HB 4192 hearing that they are still the right standards despite “low performance.”  Clears as mud isn’t it?  Somebody please tell me why do we trust these people to make decisions for our children?

Confusing Statement #3:
“Why eliminate the Michigan Content Standards, which guide the work of teachers and student learning? Because they’re too much like the Common Core state standards which, among some, are akin to Lord Voldemort, or “he who must not be named of Harry Potter fame. 

Ron Koehler

Why? Because the Common Core standards represent “federal” standards, except they don’t, because they were adopted by the Council of Chief School Officers and individual states.”  Ron Koehler is assistant superintendent of the Kent Intermediate School District and a guest author for Bridge Magazine,

Koehler’s statement gets the prize for both creativity and stupidity.  Michigan was one of the “individual states” that adopted the Common Core in 2010. Don’t just take my word for it, check out the Common Core website; Michigan is on their map as ADOPTED.   The Common Core standards were reaffirmed in 2013 by the State Board of Education.

The Common Core State Standards create consistent, clear expectations in reading, writing, speaking, listening, language and mathematics. They are robust and relevant to the real world, creating realistic and practical expectations that reflect the knowledge and skills needed to enter credit-bearing entry courses for two- and four-year college programs or the workforce. As such, the State Board of Education re-affirms its belief in the rigorous standards defined in the Michigan Merit Curriculum and the Common Core State Standards.

Attempts by Ron Koehler to rhetorically rebrand the Common Core as the “Michigan Content Standards” make him look as ridiculous as the magician in the Wizard of Oz when the curtain was finally pulled away.  (One good literary analogy deserves another.)

Confusing Statement #4: “The Common Core is much more than just standards.”  Paul Salah, Wayne County RESA.

Salah finally clears up the confusion for everyone and admits it.

Yes, Betsy DeVos there is a Common Core and it’s much more than just standards used as a guide for teachers.  The Common Core is a necessary component of a larger reform to transform our state into a P-20 centralized education system from cradle-to-career.

The gig is up.  When the “experts” in education can’t tell us the truth, it’s time to stop the experiment and kick Common Core to the curb.

We expect there will be another hearing on HB 4192 in the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime contact your state legislator and tell them to vote YES on HB 4192.