Tackling Common Core
The governor defended it recently in his state of the state speech. Educators love it. Tom Luna will defend it anywhere. So what's the problem with Common Core in Idaho? Where do we begin? The resistance to Common Core in Idaho is part of a national movement driven by parents who want to keep local control in their schools. Let's face it every time the government gets involved in education we have a lot of empty promises and more unfunded mandates. My favorite two examples of government screwing up education are the National Teacher's Exam (NTE) and No Child Left Behind. Both programs created by a different President Bush.
The National Teachers Exam was promoted as a way to 'nationalized' education standards for teachers. Some proponents compared the NTE to the bar exam for lawyers and the board exam for doctors. Apparently the lack of kids not graduating college was blamed on teachers not knowing enough about obscure topics that had no impact on their ability to motivate and educate students in the classroom. The result was that teachers paid extra money to take the test, bought prep courses to prepare for the test and were required to pass to get their teacher certification. Has classroom education improved since the early 1990s?
No Child Left Behind still brings chills to the hallways of schools across the country. Once again the rhetoric from our politicians claimed the program would make educators accountable. The result was the feds placed new standards on schools across the country without a way to pay for it. No Child Left Behind was the equivalent expecting an HD picture from an old television set without the HD Cable or equipment. Once again has public education improved since the last Bush Administration?
The Common Core proponents say that one day Idaho will have the same education standards as Massachusetts. That's a lofty goal considering the different economic and cultural differences of both states. Will national standards dictated from Washington sacrifice local educational control? It depends on who you talk to.
I've been to just about every high school in the Treasure Valley and have not found one educator who has a problem with Common Core. The government, education, and business leaders are behind the push. However the support is hardly universal. Grassroots advocates, tea party folks, and social conservatives want Idaho to repeal the core. There is a fear among the establishment that this wave of parents will force a repeal of Common Core. Is that the answer.
I wish I had the answer. We tried to bring both sides together with our Town Hall Meeting last June. It turned into a screaming match directed at Tom Luna. Why was the crowd so emotional? They rightly felt that they had no vote in how their kids were being educated. The problem is when you scream and yell at folks they don't view you as credible. Adults who are role models must act like them in a public meeting. We have too many bad examples of entertainers and athletes acting like nitwits. The Core backers must understand that it's not their way or the highway.
Once that happens Idaho will not have officials bloviating about education, but educators educating Idaho's future leaders.