Durham News: Opinion

Terry McCann: I will not teach the Common Core

Several years ago when Common Core was in its planning stage, in theory it sounded wonderful.

As a teacher, I thought some uniformity in our mobile society would bring some sense of calm as parents move from city to city and state to state. It also reminded me of the California Achievement Tests I took in elementary and middle schools with their emphasis on the basics: reading, writing and arithmetic.

I was fooled!

Whether you are on the left or right politically most believe that local control of education is important. The Department of Education has had supremacy over the educational lives of our children to the point that parents find it hard to even help their children anymore. Parents, don’t give up. Your children need you now more than ever.

President Obama and Secretary Duncan often say the Common Core standards were developed by the states and voluntarily adopted by them. That is far from the truth. They were developed by an organization called Achieve and the National Governors Association, both funded by the Gates Foundation. This atempt by the DOE and the Obama administration to focus more on higher-order thinking skills rather than emphasizing the basics from which this pattern grows, places our educational system in dire straits. For example, these standards are getting our K-2 students to spend more time writing rather than reading. You cannot become a good writer unless you are a good reader.

So why did so many states sign on to the Common Core standards?

Coercion. States that accepted the new standards would not lose out on federal funds including the Race to the Top grants ($4.35 billion) that Duncan and Obama pimped us for. Forty-six states plus the District of Columbia signed on not because the standards were better than their own but because they wanted a share of the federal tax dollars. States, so eager for additional funds, created and administered assessments for our children that were not even norm referenced prior to being given. Scores nationally dropped as students and teachers alike worked to adjust to the new standards, but in the end the Core standards did nothing but place another layer atop our educational monopoly. The Bush era No Child Left Behind was not successful mainly due to lack of funding, but the Common Core standards are no better.

Supporters say the Common Core standards will allow our students to be more competitive with the rest of the world. I beg to differ. Common Core may be the final straw in the decade’s demolition of our educational system as “progressive” thought, subtle as it may be, continues to take a stronghold and destroy our great land from within.

As a teacher, a parent, a conservative and as an America I will not stand for it. As a proud member of the Durham County Republican Party BRC (Black Republican Committee) Common Core is not a partisan issue when you really think about it, however, when you allow progressive ideology to permeate our society we reap what we sow and as an educator it’s time to spray for weeds. I will not teach the Common Core!

Terry McCann lives in Durham.