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June 8, 2014

Common Core is gone, and only for politicians' sake

CHICKASHA —

Let's just be up front about it: the abolition of Common Core from Oklahoma schools is not about the kids.

Gov. Mary Fallin said as much in her address on Thursday when she signed the bill to do so. That's because Common Core is actually a good idea, despite what conservative scare mongers have claimed. As Fallin points out, the whole idea was actually developed by the states to help American children catch up with the rest of the world.

"Common Core was created with that well-intentioned goal in mind," Fallin said. "President Obama and Washington bureaucrats have usurped Common Core in an attempt to influence state education standards."

This is not, contrary to some warped belief, a conspiracy by the Federal government to seize state power. But when teachers, academic administrators and parents formulate a plan for education that reaches beyond one state's borders, it's probably wise for that to be implemented by an organization that can reach to all of the states.

Crazy idea, I know.

So, now what? We are to trust this same state government to oversee the development and implementation of its own standards by which to judge students. This same state government that is top of the pile when it comes to education cuts ($810 per student per year, according to a 2013 study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).

Oklahoma routinely ranks low in achievement surveys, yet relatively high in overall state policy. In other words, the idea is there, guys, but the implementation simply is not. 

This is something Common Core looked to fix. It opens the door further for sharing ideas between state education boards. Everyone's on the same page, and eventually that would include the kids. 

I do not understand the argument that kids in one state can't learn the same as kids in another, so national standards will never work. Sure, students on the coast may grow an interest in marine biology more than kids in landlocked states, and agriculture probably isn't a big focus in New England. 

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