BY ELAINE MAGLIARO
Last November, I wrote a column for Res Ipsa Loquitor on the subject of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Common Core standards. It appears that Duncan was unhappy with critics of Common Core and made remarks before a group of superintendents that came back to haunt him.
“It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary. You’ve bet your house and where you live and everything on, ‘My child’s going to be prepared.’ That can be a punch in the gut.”
I responded to Duncan in my post at RIL:
A punch in the gut, you say? Here’s one right back at ya, Arne. Lots of people aren’t ecstatic about the “common core” effort to standardize curricula across this country and to institutionalize a “one-size-fits-all” cookie cutter approach to educating our children. It isn’t just “white suburban moms” who aren’t happy with the Common Core standards. There are myriad others who are also concerned about the them—including other parents who don’t belong to the cohort of “white suburban moms,” school administrators, teachers, other education experts, child development experts—as well as a number of liberals AND conservatives.
Philip Elliott of the Associated Press provided some of the reasons why people have been critical of the Common Core standards:
Some opponents of the standards say they are a one-size-fits-all approach that isn’t appropriate. Other critics say the standards put too much emphasis on high-stakes testing and punish teachers for students’ stumbles. Some oppose the standards because the Obama administration used them as a requirement for states to receive money from the economic stimulus bill.
Earlier in 2013, Duncan had even requested support from leaders of the Chamber of Commerce because Common Core was “coming under withering attack from the left and right, and some states were reconsidering implementing the standards.”
I admit that I have misgivings about Common Core—as well as great concern about the overemphasis on the high-stakes testing of children to assess the educational efficacy of the Common Core standards. That said, I think some critics of Common Core may have claims that aren’t legitimate with regard to Common Core or the standardized tests created to assess the educational standards.
Take, for example, Florida State Representative Charles Van Zant Sr. At “Operation Education Conference,” the anti-Common Core event that was held in Orlando in March, Van Zant claimed that American Institutes for Research (AIR)— the testing company hired to create Florida’s new standardized assessment tests—promotes homosexuality. According to ThinkProgress, Van Zant warned those in attendance at the conference that officials who were implementing Common Core in Florida were promoting a LGBT agenda.
Van Zant encouraged people to visit AIR’s website. He said, “Click the link to what they’re doing with youth and you will see what their agenda really is. They are promoting as hard as they can any youth that is interested in the LGBT agenda and even name it 2-S, as they define as having two spirits. The Bible says a lot about being double-minded.” He continued, “These people, that will now receive $220 million from the state of Florida unless it’s stopped, will promote double-mindedness in state education and attract every one of your children to become a homosexual as they possibly can. … I’m sorry to report that to you and I thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak. I really hate to bring you that news. But you need to know,” said Van Zant.
Florida Lawmaker Stands By Claim That Common Core Turns Kids Gay (ThinkProgress)
Arne Duncan tells newspaper editors how to report on Common Core (Washington Post)