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Against the Common Core

Posted: October 29, 2013 10:21 a.m.
Updated: October 30, 2013 5:00 a.m.

A recent editorial featured local school district leadership touting the benefits of the new Common Core Standards. I offer the opposing argument, all of which can be verified by visiting www.scpie.org. Furthermore, I offer solutions for South Carolina’s failing education system.

Common Core is an attempt by D.C. special interest groups and the federal government to herd children into one-size-fits-all national standards. States were coerced by the federal government into adopting the standards resulting in an illegal federal takeover of education. The Common Core standards have never been field-tested; were approved without a cost analysis; remove parental and local control; contain academically inferior content; include massive unfunded mandates; and will lead to significant threats to student and family privacy. More than 20 states, including South Carolina, have legislation pending to repeal Common Core.

The Common Core math scheme will place American students two years behind their peers in other high-achieving countries by delaying proficiency in math concepts and the math standards include an experimental approach to geometry. The math standards will only prepare students for nonselective community colleges, not four-year universities such as the University of South Carolina or Clemson. Furthermore, the math standards will not prepare students for STEM college pathways and the standards’ author admits the standards will only prepare students for “a minimal definition of college readiness,” not for the colleges most parents desire for their children (see video at www.scpie.org.).

Large amounts of classical fiction and non-fiction are required to provide students with rich sources of complex language structure, which challenge a young reader to critically examine each page. However, the Common Core English standards replace 50 to 70 percent of classic literature with dry “informational texts.”  Additionally, young children are developmentally unable to think abstractly as required to achieve many of the Common Core K-3 standards. Using these very advanced standards could cause teachers to report children as failing when in fact it is the flawed standards that are failing the children.  

A cost analysis was never completed prior to adopting the standards and the legislature was by-passed regardless of the cost to the state. Accountability Works Inc. estimates national costs to be $16 billion over seven years, with $7 billion spent in the early years. South Carolina costs are estimated to be $275 million. All are unfunded mandates. The State Board of Education has admitted that the online testing requirements will cause increased spending for local school boards and the state (i.e.: taxpayers).

According to the Common Core Smarter Balanced testing consortia federal government contract, all student-level data will be accessible to the federal government. This includes students’ and families’ personal data such as social security numbers, religious affiliation, political affiliation and more. Data will be collected without parental consent and will be collected on children at a younger age and through their adulthood. K-12 is replaced by P-20W (preschool through age 20 and into the workforce).

The SAT and ACT are being aligned with the Common Core standards, causing home school and private school students difficulty while attempting to score well on college entrance exams. Data collection by the federal government is also intended to expand to include home school and private school students.

Common Core must be repealed through the South Carolina General Assembly in 2014; however repealing Common Core is only the first step toward reviving education in South Carolina. The repeal victory will be the catalyst for meaningful reform that removes federal government interference and allows teachers to teach --­ reform that will usher in objective, classical education for South Carolina students. United, we will help lead a return to education principles that worked in this country for over a century, prior to federal government involvement, when American education was the envy of the world.

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