The only federal initiative capable of producing more confusion than Obamacare is “Common Core,” Save Jerseyans. Some of the critics’ concerns are largely procedural. Other substantive aspects of the guidelines are positively disturbing.
The Obama Administration hasn’t done much to instill confidence in its position; U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently complained that Common Core objections originated primarily from “white suburban moms” discovering “their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought.” Who knew Arne was such an ass?
Amazingly, Common Core is also one of the few issues were both Governor Chris Christie and the NJEA are on the same side… in support of the guidelines. Christie told the KIPP conference in Las Vegas last August that Republican opposition to Common Core was primarily a “knee jerk reaction” by a hyper-partisan Congressional GOP. Add that to the list of clips which you can expect to see resurface in the 2016 GOP presidential primary.
In any event, twelve New Jersey GOP state senators led by “Jersey” Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) are less convinced of Common Core’s merit than their Governor, and most of them are not “white suburban moms” by even a loose definition. The group of veteran legislators sent a letter to NJDOE Commissioner Christopher Cerf earlier this week requesting answers concerning the implementation standards and the rationale behind the state’s decision to accept them.
Some of their specific questions include:
Information regarding what actions have been taken by the state and a timeline for the new standards.
The reasoning and comparison for the replacement of the current academic standard with CCSS.
What the full cost, current and future, will be for school districts to implement CCSS.
A copy of state methodologies for analysis of student performance before and after the adoption of CCSS.
What guarantees and safeguards exist for privacy of student and family personal data.
You can click here to read the Pennacchio letter to Cerf.
“There have been a number of legitimate questions raised about the implementation and reasoning behind CCSS that should be addressed,” said Senator Pennacchio. “There’s little as important as assuring a quality education for our children and we need to make certain when there are significant changes made as to how that education is evaluated that those changes are understood and in the best interests of the future of all students. Transparency on issues like the cost of these changes and the security of the data kept on students is rightly expected by taxpayers and families alike.”
45 states including New Jersey have adopted the Common Core standards but some states (notably Florida) are actively considering a withdrawal.