Common Core further dividing Statehouse Republicans

Record-Courier Capital Bureau Published:

COLUMBUS -- The last thing Statehouse Republicans need right now is another wedge issue to further separate conservative conservatives and moderate conservatives.

There's already an uproar over Medicaid, with Gov. John Kasich and some GOP lawmakers hoping to expand coverage and many, many other Republican lawmakers who are blocking the attempt.

Tea Party groups have put the former on notice that they'll field candidates against Medicaid backers in next year's primary and drop support in the general election because of the stance.

And then along comes Common Core, which is either the Obamacare of education or the kick in the pants our schoolchildren need to make sure they're ready for the working world, depending on your perspective.

The basic idea is to adopt more rigorous standards in the classroom that are uniform nationally so that every kid who graduates from high school has the foundational knowledge they need to excel in college or technical training or wherever they end up.

Ohio adopted Common Core several years back, as have more than 40 other states.

Opposition

Enter Tea Party and like-minded groups. They're concerned that Common core takes control of what's taught in schools away from state and local officials and places it in the care of outside corporate and federal government interests.

"By essentially nationalizing the standards, the ability for parents, teachers and local school boards to control academic content and testing is ceded to groups (outside the state)," state Rep. Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) told the House Education Committee last week. "Local school districts must have the freedom to adopt educational curricula that best suits their students. They're constrained by mandatory federal assessments and what they will measure."

Opponents also say Common Core is untested, likely will cost more than projections suggest and could set Ohio students behind in their studies.

Thompson has introduced legislation to repeal Common Core standards in Ohio, prohibit the state board of education from using assessments based on those standards and block the dissemination of certain student data to the federal government.

He offered sponsor testimony on the bill last week, but it's unclear how many more opportunities critics will get to offer their opinion publicly, since Rep. Gerald Stebelton (R-Lancaster), who serves as chairman of the House Education Committee, said he does not think there is support to move the bill.

He's also among the opponents of the legislation, saying the Common Core standards are solid and superior to what's been in place.

"I don't support the bill," he said. "I think it's a step forward and six steps back. We go back to before 2007 if we back out of this, but he's entitled to a hearing."

He added later, "(Opponents) try to portray this as some kind of vast conspiracy of the federal government and international conspirators to dumb down American education and make us less competitive as opposed to what it is."

Support

Common Core proponents say teachers, administrators and the state school board have had a deliberative process, open to the public, as they've moved toward implementing Common Core.

They say districts still have discretion in picking their curriculums. And they say Common Core offers a more rigorous alternative to what's been in place in Ohio schools.

"To Ohio business leaders, it is dismaying that a controversy has suddenly arisen about the Common Core, because the standards it recommends are so basic to life -- and success -- in America, and it is equally clear that kids who fail to obtain this knowledge will not be able to participate fully in our economy or in our democratic society," Richard Stoff, president and chief executive officer of the Ohio Business Roundtable, wrote in a recent letter of support for Common Core. "Ohio overwhelmingly adopted and began implementing the Common Core three years ago as part of its new learning standards. Teachers and administrators vigorously support these standards and are working hard to implement them. Ohio must not go backwards, losing time and wasting tax dollars that have gone into readying our schools to produce improved results for students."

But there are many, many other people who aren't buying it and are vocally siding with Thompson, ready to voice their support for tossing Common Core.

"We need to ask serious questions about Common Core and understand its implications," Thompson said, adding later, "Imposing a one-size-fits-all, top-down approach that centralizes authority is not in the best interests of our young people in our state. Children are not all the same, but Common Core treats them as if they are."

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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  • "Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted".-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

  • Obama + Ayers + $50 million = Common Core...

    See who is behind the Common Core movement...Do some research...

    Google;...The Annenberg Institute, the Coalition of Essential Schools, Linda Darling Hammond, Common Core Curriculum, Bill Ayers, Barack Obama, Achieve Inc. just to name a few....

    The Socialist/Communist continue the dumbing down of American's children......

    The following, is taken from the list of 45 Communist goals to take over America, contained in the book, "The Naked Communist" written in 1958: by former FBI agent W. Cleon Skousen...

    Goal #17...Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for Socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the Curriculum. Get Control of Teachers' Associations. Put the party line in textbooks..

    .Wake up Folks!!!

  • Common core is wrong! It is the destruction of education.

  • TRUE! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses --not destroyed --not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in ****. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily --how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

    It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the public schools. They had never wronged me. They had never given me insult. For their gold I had no desire. I think it was the Knowledge! yes, it was this! The Knowledge seemed the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees --very gradually --I made up my mind to take the Knowledge from the public schools, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

    Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded --with what caution --with what foresight --with what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the public schools than during the whole term before I killed them. And every night, about midnight, I devised ever more rigorous and ridiculous test requirements. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I gained their imposition. I moved slowly --very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the parents' sleep. It seemed like ages to get it done. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this? And then, with testing in place, I collected results, selecting according to my purpose. to determine from whence Knowledge peered, and where it had been blinded, for it was not the Knowledge that vexed me, but its Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into my office, and spoke courageously to the parents, calling to mind their children in a hearty tone, and inquiring how their schooling progressed, and assuring them that my new curriculum would relieve their fears. So you see they would have been very profound parents, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I schemed against them while they slept.

    The final weeks I was more than usually cautious in my advances. A watch's minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. Never before then had I felt the extent of my own powers --of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. To think that there I was, opening the door, little by little, and they not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea; and perhaps they heard me; for they questioned me suddenly, as if startled. Now you may think that I drew back --but no. The media coverage was as black as pitch within a thick darkness, (for their minds were close fastened, through fear of truth,) and so I knew that they could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily.

    From time to time a few parents would discover their children's education to be dysfunctional, crying out "Why can't they read or write?"

    I kept quite still and said nothing. For days stretching to months I declined an answer, and in the meantime I did not hear them quell. They persisted in their questioning at every turn; --just as I have done, night after night, hearkening to the brutality and death reigning in the schools. I chose the most gullible among them and, bringing them to my office, I assured them that were it not for my opponents, their concerns would be answered. Then I put them on display as trophies of my magnanimity, yet despising their innocence.

    Occasionally I would hear a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief --oh, no! --it was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the betrayed parents felt, and pitied them, although I chuckled at heart. I knew that they had been lying awake ever since the first slight sense of betrayal caused them to turn in their beds. Their fears had been ever since growing upon them. They had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. They had been saying to themselves --"It is nothing but the lack of funding, --it is only the uncertainty of change," or "It is merely the conservatives which have raised a stir." Yes, they had been trying to comfort themselves with these suppositions: but they had found all in vain. All in vain; because Ignorance, in approaching them had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victims. And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow that caused them to feel --although they neither saw nor heard --to feel the presence of my curriculum within the schools.

    When I had waited a long time, very patiently, resolving to allow academia to dispel their fears. I sent my counselors to to the schools and favored their sports. All that time I studied the indications contained in the student database until I had identified precisely by name which had gained Knowledge, which would empower the Evil Eye that I loathed so greatly.

    In my mind I saw it clearly, it was open --wide, wide open --and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness --all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones; but I could see nothing else, for it existed only as if by instinct, precisely within that damned vision.

    And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the sense? --now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of Knowledge's heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.

    But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. I tried how steadily I could maintain my gaze upon the eve. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. The parent's terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder every moment! --do you mark me well I have told you that I am nervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that office, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some weeks longer I refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst. And now a new anxiety seized me --the sound would be heard by the people! The public schools' hour had come! With a bold announcement, I mandated Common Core in the schools. Some parents shrieked wildly --but only briefly. In short time the media hounded them to flee the public forum, and cheered the deathly burden placed on the public schools. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. But, for many months, the heart beat on with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard above the din of the media. At length it ceased. The public schools were dead. I gathered the test results and examined the corpse. Yes, Knowledge there was stone, stone dead. I watched the results warily for many months. There was no pulsation. It was stone dead. Its eye would trouble the education establishment no more.
    --adapted from Edgar Allen Poe; The Telltale Heart