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  • VIDEO: National Academic Standards Pose Threat to Local Control of Education

    One by one, all but seven states have succumbed to pressure to adopt national academic standards. But in a recent bid to retain local control, members of a regional school board in Massachusetts asked state officials to reconsider that decision, according to Education Week.

    The Massachusetts school board expressed concerns that the Common Core State Standards, endorsed by the Obama administration, would result in the loss of local control. Its opposition is the latest knock on national standards, following criticism from leaders in South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. (Click here to learn more about restoring federalism in education.)

    The move in Massachusetts began in December when the Tantasqua Regional School Board requested that lawmakers draft a bill to override the state board’s decision to adopt Common Core State Standards. A little more than a week ago, on Jan. 21, Republican State Rep. Todd M. Smola filed legislation to do just that. State Rep. Anne M. Gobi and State Sen. Stephen M. Brewer, both Democrats, co-sponsored the bill, which would retain Massachusetts’ own standards and its exam, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, or MCAS.

    The bill is unlikely to pass the Democrat-controlled legislature, but it reflects a wider skepticism of the national standards movement — skepticism rooted in the spirit of federalism.

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has led the way. In an exclusive interview with Heritage, he decried the Obama administration’s efforts to entice states to support national standards in exchange for federal funding under the Race to the Top program.

    “We know what works for our children,” Perry said. “The fact is that Washington’s Race to the Top with their national standards and national testing — yet to be worked out, of course — we think would be devastating to the young people of the state of Texas.”

    Tantasqua board members James A. Cooke, a Republican, and Chairwoman Kathleen M. Neal, a Democrat, are among the many who share that concern. Cooke said he suspects Massachusetts adopted the standards in part to improve its competitiveness for Race to the Top funds — which awarded points to states that adopted the standards. Neal said she dislikes the idea of teaching to tests.

    Ironically, of all states, Massachusetts might have had the least reason to adopt national standards in the first place. The state’s standards have long been widely acclaimed. In the 2007 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, for example, Massachusetts fourth graders ranked second worldwide in science and tied for third in mathematics, while the state’s eighth graders tied for first in science and ranked sixth in mathematics.

    Prior to the school board’s action in Massachusetts, the Boston-based Pioneer Institute warned about the move to adopt the Common Core, arguing the state’s existing standards and tests were superior to the national model.

    “We have some of the most exacting standards in the United States,” Cooke said. “Why should we use someone else’s standards?”

    Educators in Virginia, a state proud of its own Standards of Learning test, share those concerns. Opposition to national standards in Virginia has attracted bipartisan opposition.

    From the outset, the Obama administration said adoption of national standards among states would be “voluntary,” but Race to the Top funding created an incentive cash-strapped states could not easily resist. Virginia, for example, applied for the first round of Race to the Top, but withdrew from the second round when Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) took office. National standards were a big reason.

    With a majority of states now supporting national standards, the new fear is a national test. After all, the Obama administration will need some way to ascertain whether students have actually met the Common Core. Massachusetts is among the states involved in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, one of two multi-state consortia that aim to create common tests by the 2014-2015 school year.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to VIDEO: National Academic Standards Pose Threat to Local Control of Education

    1. John Clancy says:

      We would do well to support the position of Governor Perry of Texas: keep the federal government out of education.

      Education improves when it takes place at the local level. States can set standards. Local school boards can monitor their effectiveness. Parents can be involved.

      Washington has no business in education. Educating a child is a very personal achievement which requires a loving teacher who sets clear goals (standards) and appropriately challenges the child. The "tire hits the road" at this level. We don't want layers and layers of bureaucracies that are costly and unnecessary.

      The "progressives" have been promoting government involvement in education for 50 years. It hasn't worked. Look at Detroit and other big cities where billions of dollars have been wasted on bureaucracies.

      Eliminate the Dept. of Education. Keep education at the state and local level. Give parents the practical right to choose the best school for their child.

    2. Bobbie says:

      For feds to bribe state school districts is a perfect picture of corruption. Thank goodness for the states that stand to protect the youth from this fed overreach. If education is needed, schools with fed influence, no longer promote. Again, what I knew in 6th grade, my child struggled to learn in 9th. My child's school work would come home with wrong answers marked right. I was suppose to make exception because the teacher was immigrant? No, whoever is hired to do a job, I expect them to know the job and make no exception. That's why this country is getting no where. Too many exceptions at the expense of someone else. Instead of correcting the situation and holding accountable, it's swept under the rug.

      There are good teachers but because there is a variety of good and bad in each school, it's not working. Teachers aren't on the same page. Children take time to demand "rights" of their personal agenda instead of having a school debate on significant matters of importance.

      It's as if they're being indoctrinated to focus on self and self-pity, as there is an excuse for everything and depend on anyone else pulling them through as nothing is their fault. This is what is noticed in the youth of today.

      Public Schools do not promote self-reliance, accountability or responsibilities. Which simply means government education is promoting socialism over freedom. A direct conflict of America's parenting…not good, not wanted and not right. Fed national standards unconstitutional and does not promote individual potential or inspire to the fullest. Good teachers are drown out by the fed teachers with their own agenda.

    3. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Thanks Tina, this is a terrific problem and people may underestimate what the Orwellian results of Department of Education policies will be. I was an Intern at Colorado Department of Highways (now CDOT) back when the Feds were trying to standardize the Traffic Law (1975). The results of that innocuous seeming effort was to bring Thought Crime into normal practice in the United States! No kidding! The National Standards that were adopted were full of Unamerican ideas, including using Statistics instead of proving Probable Cause. Americans have become used to being punished for offenses without any damages being done. Nowadays the Democrats point to Traffic Law to justify new Regulations, "See? It was done in Traffic Law! So it must be okay!"

      It was "People have to buy car insurance, so it is okay to force them to buy Health Insurance!" But worse, Americans are routinely False Prosecuted for victimless 'crimes' in Traffic Law. It is insidious how we can be punished for the cops 'thinking' we are dangerous without any damages actually being proved in Court. We have millions of Americans False Prosecuted for Thought Crimes, and now that we are used to it, we have new Thought Crimes coming out every day from Washington. It comes in Negligence charges for accidents. It comes in Family Law, where parents are denied control of their children at the same time they are False Prosecuted for what their children do.

      If you don't believe the Democrats have evil intentions, just look at all the crazy propositions they have put foreward (see Heritage's Site, Overcriminalized). They have tried every dispicable Regulation imaginable, all of them written by Democrats. They are going after Americans, and even if you defeat them in Congress, Obama just puts them in by Administrative actions. Don't kid yourselves, the current Administration is just like the Soviets were. They are going after Doctors, going after every single cotton pickin' Industry in America. These are bad guys. These are Anti Americans and the take over of American Education is absolutely necessary for our brave new Communist America. The race to the bottom is real. The curriculum is unrecognizable already. This Federal takeover of Education insures that American Education turns out obedient Socialists, not Sovereign Citizens.

    4. Dinah Garrison Fairb says:

      Even standards at the state level can become a problem. The local districts are best prepared to know what their students need and how they need to be taught. Ohio adopted state standards a few years ago to be supported by yearly testing. We were, of course, told we would never "teach to the test". Uh huh. The year before the first tests were given, all teachers were given in-service about how the tests would be administered. The information we were given was quite clear and had obviously been planned carefully. By the 5th year of testing we had a school meeting with our assistant principal in charge. She was giving us instructions about how we were to administer the tests that year. We were told what we were to do and how to do it. Many of the instructions were in compete contradiction to what we had been told originally; things that we had been told would be cause for

      job loss. The AP said that if we did not follow her instructions that would be cause for job loss. All schools need some kind of testing to keep track of student progress. Because of so many variables one year can not necessarily be compared to the one just before or after. But patterns can be detected in time to intervene. The type of testing done here if done fairly is not such a good thing. Just for starters schools buy textbooks that fit the tests even if they are not the best choice for their district. The general information tests that had been used for years–even when I was in school–to find those patterns of progress or weakness leave room for districts to teach what they need. My point is that the closer to the school the rulings come from, the better for the school.

    5. Karen Bracken says:

      We need to elect Ron Paul as President in 2012 and get rid of the Dept of Education. He has spoken out against the Dept of Ed for years. He also wants to get rid of the Fed (return to gold standard), Dept of Agriculture, take us out of the UN, cut off foreign aid, and many other things we MUST do to save our country. He is the only man to do it. In the meantime we MUST fight these nationalized standards. Next Obama will ban all home schooling and private education. THe Communist platform is no education except public. This way they control the Communist message and make sure it gets to our kids.

    6. Pingback: Obama’s Mandating States to Localize National Academic Standards for Federal Funding | James Pat Guerréro « ThursdayMan

    7. Doug Lasken, Los Ang says:

      There are critics of RTTT and the CCS in California as well. I have written against adopting the CCS: L.A. Daily News, “Let’s Drop out of Race to the Top,” http://www.dailynews.com/opinions/ci_17168645, and Daily Breeze, “Brown needs to pull California out of Race to the Top,” http://www.dailybreeze.com/opinions/ci_16905517

    8. Pingback: VIDEO: National Academic Standards Pose Threat to Local Control of Education

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    13. Brian Coyle, Moraga, says:

      Sorry to rain on your parade, but other nations with better public school outcomes than the US have central government standards. Their students learn more than Americans, without becoming Orwellian drones. America is an outlier in this regard, both in terms of local control (more than other countries) and education performance (poorer than other developed nations). Federal government incentives for education reform is not corruption, its public policy in plain sight. Corruption is when interest groups finance propaganda that appears as legitimate discourse.

    14. Pingback: Why States Should Hop Off the National Standards Bandwagon

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