Common Core opponents hurt their credibility with outlandish claims

March 24, 2014 

Really? The Common Core State Standards for public schools will lead children and the nation toward communism? The standards promote abortion and feminism?

No, and no. Somebody has to say that to the most outlandish claims about Common Core, a set of education standards adopted by the National Governors Association and, in 2010, by the North Carolina Board of Education. Some 45 states have adopted the standards. The standards encourage rigorous thought on more complicated subjects at earlier ages. And the common standards are designed to make it possible for states to be able to compare the progress of their students with that of students in other parts of the country.

Common Core sets a higher bar, and given the global nature of the economy and the competition that is now world-wide, that is a good thing.

It is not, contrary to what some of the most vocal opponents said at a recent legislative hearing, some kind of evil conspiracy. The hearing was connected to a review by some lawmakers of Common Core. If they find some objections valid, they could change standards or abandon Common Core altogether.

Opponents speak of Common Core as if it were some kind of plot hatched in Washington. Some of these opponents would fit right in with the tea party conspiracy theorists who likely believe that it is all connected to President Obama.

But Common Core came about because of governors. Governors. These are the people who know the strengths and shortcomings of their states’ educational systems best and recognize that those systems must be ever-improving. That’s one reason Common Core’s strongest supporter is former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt, surely the foremost education governor of his generation.

It’s perfectly fine for lawmakers to have civilized back-and-forth about Common Core. It’s also OK for people to object to it based on their views of education. But there is nothing constructive to come from wasting time with hard-core ideologues who are not interested in any views except their own.

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