Mary Byrne: We Need a Return to Local Control

Dr. Mary Byrne speaking in Stockton, CA. Photo credit: Amber Barba

Dr. Mary Byrne speaking in Stockton, CA.
Photo credit: Amber Barba

Dr. Mary Byrne, co-founder of the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core, responds to the idea that Dr. Sandra Stotsky put forth in an earlier post.

We Need a Return to Local Control

By Dr. Mary Byrne

To Sandra Stotsky: Point of clarification: are you recommending that CC can be accommodated and made less damaging to education by restoring the vocational/academic tracks that were implemented in American schools prior to NCLB using CC standards at the elementary and middle school levels?

If I understand your idea correctly, a couple of problems come to my mind.

If the standards and their plan of implementation were only promoted as a model that states could modify as they see fit, you would be making a case for Hirsh’s Core rather than Coleman’s Core.

First, common core proponents will never buy it, because the rationale of the overall “common” standards is social justice, and elimination of the vocational-academic tracking system.  Remember, social justice refers to equal outcomes, not equal respect for diverse outcomes. Second, don’t forget, Coleman has an agenda to increase market share for tests internationally. The common core structure is not negotiable — the content must be similar to what other countries are doing so foreign students can take his test and qualify for American college classrooms.

Third, the statewide longitudinal data system is the reason for the standards being what they are, where they are, and social justice demands that education standardize society, rather than a just society demanding high standards for leaders of government (the original purpose of publicly funded schools)

Fourth, accommodating existing common core standards doesn’t solve the problem of the privately held copyright which can be sold to interests unaccountable to the taxpaying consumers — in fact, the taxpayers will no longer be consumers, only human capital resource for the dominant consumer — the workforce planners. (I wish I were making this up, but, I have the diagrams of the data warehouses maintained by states for employers – see references below).

Finally, negotiating the grade levels in which to implement the CCSSI would not solve the wrongful paradigm the planners used to shape 21st Century learning. Think about what a shoddy job they’ve done of selecting content “experts” and shoving computer-based instruction, constructivist math, and informational text into our classrooms in this go-round. Accommodating their scheme by any means just allows the planners to continue more and costly financial and emotional damage and close off the laboratories of innovation the 50 separate systems

A national set of standards controlled by a national private-public system that usurps local control and parent rights, even if they were exemplary, builds the infrastructure for undermining our U.S. constitutions, states rights, and locally-determined curricular values.

If we could just get back to local control and stop all this central planning nonsense, we would naturally return to the voc ed./academic system we had before the 1970’s. I think you’ve got the correct goal of a basic education as preparation for citizenship in a republic of republics, but, a common set of national standards controlled from Washington, even for a limited number of grades, will not address the layers of problems with a centralized common core.

Additional References:

  1. D3M Checklist for a Longitudinal Data System. On p. 14, the national standards incorporated into the data repository appears in the lower right quadrant of the graphic. On p. 15, the U.S. DoE access to student data and linkages of the various levels of repositories is illustrated.
  2. Next Steps in SLDS (See slides 5 & 6)
  3. McKinsey Education to Employment (see pg. 22)


1 thought on “Mary Byrne: We Need a Return to Local Control

  1. Thank you so much Dr.. Byrne for speaking out about the importance of returning to local control. You recognize that what is really happening is that our children are a commodity, and set up for social change in the most fundamental way. When I read this article I could not help but think of my individual 7 grandchildren. They are all so special, creative, and eager to learn. I went on to read about the data system that is in place and after reading for the second time, I realized just how serious our future will be effected by the implementation of CC.


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