Recently, your newspaper correctly reported that I do not support the Common Core initiative to establish national education standards. By way of explanation, I said two fundamental questions had not yet been answered.
First, why is Common Core being imposed on children, essentially nationwide, even though no one has any idea how it will affect students? There has been no field testing, and there was no local or grass-roots participation in its development; rather, Common Core is the product of "education experts" funded by a left-leaning foundation.
Second, what are the long-term implications of increasing the federal government's role in educating our children? Proponents say Common Core is not a federal mandate, but the feds are in fact knee-deep in this, providing stimulus funds only to states that adopt the Common Core and giving states that adopt it preferential treatment in grant applications.
To that I would add this: Real education reform must empower parents and teachers to make choices about what works in the classroom and to decide which classroom is the best fit for each student. We need to bring the energy of markets into our system of education, and focusing on top-down solutions from "education experts" diverts us from this task.
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Despite these concerns, South Carolina is now implementing Common Core, and the task now is to pay attention to how it affects students and to listen to the teachers who have to implement it. And if the evidence shows the concerns are valid, to scrap it.