Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Common Core is one of Four Toxic Elements in Race to the Top
By: Dr. Mark Naison

Aligning curriculum to the Common Core standards is just one of several requirements imposed by the U.S. Department of Education in order for a state or school district to receive Race to the Top funds. Among others are closing allegedly "failing" schools; giving preference to charter schools, and having a substantial portion of teacher ratings based on student test scores (VAM).

Among this toxic mix, alignment to the Common Core standards is the only one that has raised widespread ire among conservatives. It is therefore the most vulnerable portion of the Race to the Top Initiative and the only one that has inspired a mass protest movement that cuts across the political spectrum

 However, in terms of destructive impact on public education, and of federal over reach at the expense of local control of public schools, the other three are just as destructive, and hit many school districts extremely hard- especially in the nation's large cities- before Common Core was part of the mix..

What this means, especially to teachers and those deeply committed to public education, is that Common Core should not be protested in a vacuum or to the exclusion of the other 3 politics. The entire Race to the Top program needs to be discarded. Concentrating on Common Core because it is the weak link makes sense, but never the point of de-emphasizing the battle against school closings, charter school preferences and VAM.

Some will support political candidates exclusively on the basis of opposing Common Core. I respect the people who take that position, but I am not one of them, I will only support candidates who support elimination of the entire Toxic 4.

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