Somebody literally needs to ask Governor Ron DeSantis this question: Can you give me an example of a specific standard, or maybe a few examples, that highlight the problem you’re trying to solve?
My guess? He can’t. I’m not sure anyone can based on the rhetoric I hear about Common Core.
DeSantis says he’s listening to parents who believe the Common Core standards were “imposed federally,” and have brainwashed kids. He also cited concerns that “parents did not like some of the curriculum,” because “they had trouble even doing basic math to help their kids.”
The anti-Common-Core Twitterverse echoed those feelings.
Thank you for dumping that indoctrination arm of the Democrat Party. Get real testing. Get real teachers. Push the students to stop whining and start excelling.#TakeAmericaBackhttps://t.co/sPfq676bFp
— The DocAru (@TheDocAru) January 31, 2019
No more Common Core in Florida!
I can finally help my children with their homework without using Google!
— Chaz Sandstrom (@Churaiena) January 31, 2019
And that’s about it. The real resistance to Common Core is rooted in two criticisms and both of them are just plain false.
The Orlando Sentinel nailed the truth in two sentences:
“Despite criticisms of Common Core being a federal mandate, those curriculum standards were developed by private nonprofit groups and state education departments and then adopted by 45 states. Local districts then altered their lesson plans to meet those standards.”
One more thing, and this is important folks: Standards are not a curriculum. Can I say that more clearly? STANDARDS ARE NOT A CURRICULUM.
A standard is the academic goal. The curriculum is how we get there. As I said in a post when DeSantis was elected, if people have a problem with the WAY standards are taught, they need to complain to their local school boards, schools, and teachers because that didn’t come from the federal government.
Also, if we’re basing the quality of a math and reading standard on how capable we are as parents to do our kids’ homework, we’re in trouble. We’re not in the classrooms. We’re not using the specific skills on a day-to-day basis. And some would argue that we shouldn’t let our kids be dependant on us for their homework anyway.
But let me go back to my first question for a moment. What standards are Ron DeSantis and everyone else unhappy with? Seriously, I’d like to know.
You can download an app on Android or Apple and view the standards, grade-by-grade, subject-by-subject for yourself. Tell me which ones feel like indoctrination. Is it this?
“Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sided) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size); build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.” Are you worried about your 1st grader learning this geometry standard? Is it political?
Oh I hear you. That’s math! Hard to get political there. You’re talking about the language arts standards that force kids to read gay and lesbian books, right? Or something that shames America?
I looked, here’s the closest one I could find to that. It’s for 9th-10th graders.
“Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.”
If you think that standard is a concern, perhaps you’re forgetting that there’s no indication of exactly what piece of literature that might be. It could be an exiled Cuban author that dreams of being free of communist rule. It could be a British author complaining about their country’s education system or any number of things. The point is, the standard doesn’t dictate what piece of literature is used. Local districts, schools and teachers do.
Okay, okay, I’ll stop tiptoeing around the real issue. It’s the history and social studies standards that you’re really worried about. Fine. Try this one on for size:
“Discuss the impact of colonial settlement on Native American populations.” Raise your hand if you think kids shouldn’t be asked to do that.
Or this one:
“Describe the contributions of key groups (Africans, Native Americans, women, children) to the society and culture of colonial America.” If understanding the contributions of white men in colonial America are the only contributions worth studying, then you’re worse than the slave owners of that day, because even they understood the contributions black families were making to their farms and business ventures. But I think better of you. You must be thinking of a different standard. Only I can’t seem to figure out which on it is.
Or maybe you’re not thinking of a standard at all. Maybe you really are thinking about the curriculum and the liberal indoctrination that comes from district superintendents, school principals or individual teachers. That’s real. That’s where you should be demanding change. But instead we’re facing a full-on “repeal of Common Core.”
So I’ll sit back and watch Richard Corcoran “come up with a roadmap” for how our state can replace our current academic standards. He’s got a year to do that. But I have a hunch that when we get into the nitty gritty, people are going to realize that the standards are actually pretty good. We’re going to have a hard time saying, “yeah, we don’t need that one.” And we’re either going to stick with essentially what we’ve got or we’re going to make up some new standards that aren’t any better than what we’ve got now. Most likey, they’ll be much worse.