Guest Post by Mark Etterling
Common Core can best be described as the common problem. What I’ve found as I discuss this issue with folks across the political spectrum is that what we are dealing with is something that strangely enough doesn’t even appear to be a partisan issue. Ironically, I’ve talked with just as many Liberals that hate Common Core as I have Conservatives. So the simple question is why do we still have this horrible beast lurking about?
Our educational system has many shortcomings. We have a tendency to fail our kids on a plethora of levels with everything from too little funding, to too much wasteful spending, not enough staffing, to not enough staff that are really fit to be educators in the first place. We’ve got a shortfall of parental involvement in some schools paired with an over abundance of political correctness in others. All the while we have public officials scratching their heads wondering how they can continue to compete against their online, charter, and private adversaries that are just as willing to cash the per pupil government subsidy checks as our public schools are.
All of that aside, one of the biggest problems we have has to do with how our schools have been forced to re-allocate the resources they currently have. In the last 30 years our national student population has gone up by a mere 8% as the “boomer” generation moved on and was replaced by the less “fruitful” loins of the Gen-X’s, the Millenials, etc. However, during that same period the number of educational staff has literally doubled. Now this all sounds like it would make things easier on our educators, right? Wrong!
The problem is that while student population growth has been far outpaced by the growth of staff, the staff growth has been far outpaced by bureaucratic requirements. Our kids are no longer viewed as cherub like mush brains eagerly waiting to be molded into the next generation of geniuses. Instead they’ve become nothing more than collective demographic statistic on an ever growing docket of useless governmental spreadsheets. Instead of educating our children, our educators are forced to spend all their time charting them. God help us anytime one of these precious little potential prodigies falls out of the norm and into the category of “special needs”.
Common Core really does two things. First, it adds nothing more to benefit the students, but instead adds yet another layer of bureaucracy onto an already overburdened system. With Common Core our teachers will not only be chasing yet another chart, but they’ll be doing so by teaching to a test instead of testing what was taught. Second, Common Core infuses the potential for pushing political agenda’s by virtue of testing based on certain political premises. If you don’t believe me than ask yourself a simple question. How can a “common” testing system possibly be the primary goal when that testing system can’t even be accomplished in a common language?
Both students and teachers are different as are their corresponding needs and styles. Sure there are certain things that all kids need to know by the time they graduate, but we’ve already got plenty of tests that provide that feedback. When it comes to learning all kids have a natural pace that is combined with natural desires for where they want their education to take them in that next phase of life. Common Core is nothing more than a centralized pigeon hole for the masses where all kids are forced to fit into the same round hole regardless of their original size or shape.
Personally, I’ve always believed that education is best handled by those with the greatest interest in how it gets handled. This translates into the closer we can keep the control at home the better off we are. It also means that instead of using Common Core as an even greater measure of centralized control we should abolish the Department of Education all together and push control back down toward the state and local communities where it belongs. Heck, even Hillary Clinton said “It takes a village to raise a child”, but she never said anything about needing a federal government.
MarkEtterling | October 6, 2014