Friday, August 01, 2014

Common Core Stuff.  Hard to know what to call the headline because the Common Core kerfuffle hasn't really hit Minnesota as hard as it has in other parts of the country.  That's not to say the debate has not shown up in Minnesota and I believe that discussion of the Common Core will find its way into the debate during the 2015 legislative session regardless of how the elections turn out.  Minnesota has only adopted a portion of the Common Core standards (Minnesota's math standards are considered to go beyond the Common Core) and perhaps that is why there hasn't been more discussion of the initiative in Minnesota, but there is a group--Minnesotans Against Common Core--that is holding meetings throughout the state outlining their concerns.

Minnesotans Against Common Core:

The group is holding sessions throughout the state and you may want to sit in on one just to get a feel of the debate from their angle.

Nationally, the discussion of the Common Core has taken on a much higher profile and is showing up as an issue in gubernatorial and legislative races.  The biggest drama is taking place in Louisiana, where a group of parents and the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education sued the state to keep the Common Core standards in place in Louisiana after Governor Bobby Jindal froze the testing contract related to the Common Core standards.  Jindal contended that the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education had overstepped its bounds in the matter.  A group of parents then sued Jindal for supposedly overstepping his bounds.  The parents were then joined by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, which approved its participation on a 6-4 vote.  Should make for an interesting lawsuit because the issue is as much about who has the authority to "do what" or "stop what" within their constitutional powers.

Anyway, here are a couple of articles about the case:

Louisiana Story #1:

Louisiana Story #2:

The Ohio Legislature introduced legislation last week to pull Ohio out of the Common Core standards.  Here is a link to the news story on that move.

Ohio Story:

It's hard to know what to make of the debate.  I've lived through so many standards discussions over the years that I get fatigued just thinking about it.  Having survived the discussion over the establishment and implementation of the Profiles of Learning and their subsequent repeal, I don't know if I can survive another round.  Right now, the Common Core only governs mathematics and English Language Arts, but opponents believe the standards will go much further in the future and create a national curriculum.  Curricular content is always the third rail in these debates and while standards don't in and of themselves strictly govern content, it is still a touchy subject.

Here's an essay from the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard that sums up both the perceived pros and cons (with a fairly cynical--but not entirely inaccurate--assessment of education reform in general) of the Common Core initiative.

The Weekly Standard article:

Last, but not least, conservative commentator Glenn Beck put together a live event that was held on July 22 entitled "We Will Not Conform" that outlines his--and other commentators--opposition to the Common Core.  Unfortunately, I missed the event (and the replay), but here is a link to it.  I don't know if video or audio of the event will ever be available online.


So that's all I've got to say on the subject.  While it hasn't hit the public imagination as aggressively in Minnesota as it has in other parts of the country, like I said earlier, I believe it will be discussed during the 2015 legislative session, so the standard I would set for everyone interested in the discussion of public education--both pro and con vis-a-vis the Common Core--is to study up on it.

Opening for a Principal.  Rockford Superintendent Paul Durand informed me last week that he is seeking applications for a high school principal.  Here is a link to the Rockford webpage if you are personally interested in the position or have a possible candidate for the district to consider:


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