Battling the Common Core at the State Level

An article in the Indianapolis Star today demonstrates the impact that can be made in battling the Common Core State Standards.  Tony Bennett, the Indiana State Superintendent of Education who is an elected official, has found that his challenge for re-election has been on the right, not on the left with teacher’s unions.  He wants to talk about his reform efforts and school choice, but people who attend Tea Party groups want to know about the Common Core.

Republican incumbent Tony Bennett is officially running against Democrat Glenda Ritz, a teacher at Crooked Creek Elementary School in Indianapolis, for state superintendent of public instruction. Yet he also seems to be running against critics of the national Common Core standards.

Critics see the Common Core as part of a federal effort to command a larger role in education, which historically has been the responsibility of state and local government. They also argue that previous Indiana standards were excellent and should not have been tossed aside.

They cite studies by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research to make their case.

“Common Core would deprive students of the intangible benefits of studying classic literature,” says a Pioneer white paper. “A student who learns to love great books learns to understand great principles that endure throughout human history.”

Bennett has attended tea party forums to remind voters of his impressive reform record, but he winds up answering a lot of questions about the Common Core, including at a recent meeting in Hamilton County.

Groups in Indiana like the American Family Association of IndianaC3 of Wabash County, Greenfield Area TEA Party, Indiana Eagle Forum, Indiana Policy Review, Owen County Tea Party, The Tea Party Coalition of Central Indiana and Hoosier Moms Say No to Common Core.  They are not alone.

We saw a victory in Utah when the State Board of Education there voted to pull out of the SBAC thanks largely to Oak Norton and his group Utahns Against the Common Core.  We also have other groups who are trying to make a difference in their state.  Two new groups have formed.  The first in Georgia called Stop Common Core in Georgia and I launched last night Iowans for Local Control.  You can check out a list of our participants to see if there is somebody in your area.  If not, perhaps you can launch a group!

What’s going on in your state?

Tea Party Rising in Indiana Against Common Core

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Indianapolis Tea Party, 2009

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett are pushing in favor of the Common Core State Standards even though embracing them undermines the conservative principles they say they hold.  That isn’t even to mention that several critics (including one common core supporter) have noted that Indiana is swapping out superior standards for mediocre ones all in the name of “being able to speak the same language” in our “society of comparisons.”

Andrea Neal of The Indianapolis Star wrote:

Leading policy experts on standards and curriculum have questioned why Indiana would abandon its previous standards, which were ranked among the best in the country.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a champion of Common Core, has called Indiana’s English and language arts standards “clearly superior” and our math standards of comparable quality. Nationally known reform expert Sandra Stotsky says Indiana traded in a “silk purse for a sow’s ear” when education officials adopted the Core’s high school English standards.

Daniels and Bennett are also butting up against some grassroots opposition:

The Coalition of Central Indiana Tea Parties wants Indiana to withdraw from what it calls “the unconstitutional federal education takeover.”…

…”All around the country backlash is occurring belatedly because of the speed and manner in which these were adopted,” says Heather Crossin, an Indianapolis citizen-activist involved in education issues. “It didn’t go through a legislature. The public was largely unaware. There wasn’t enough time to do a proper analysis the issues deserve.”

We can only hope to see the increased involvement of Tea Party groups like the ones in Indiana rise up against the Common Core State Standards.  Grassroots opposition is needed as educrats, many legislators, and Governors, even ones who claim to hold conservative principles, are becoming increasingly tone deaf.