Sunday, November 7, 2010

Say goodbye to local control of schools

In Kansas, where "local control" is every board member's middle name — and in an election cycle where anything federal was thrown out — it is astounding how easily nearly 40 states have rolled over and meekly handed the core of their educational jurisdiction to national bodies.

From the Wichita Eagle: by John Richard Schrock of Emporia, who trains biology teachers.

States adopting the Common Core are to implement a student assessment system aligned with the core beginning in the 2014-15 school year. More than $350 million has been allotted to various groups to develop the tests to provide a "common yardstick." Several board members who voted for the Common Core expressed a desire to keep the local test agent. But the current administration has signaled a clear intention to continue to tie Title I money to adoption of common assessments.

Nevertheless, as long as federal education dollars remain tied to requirements for a common curriculum and nationwide assessment, states must buckle and join, or lose big money. With 41 states now adopting the math-English core, there is no reason to believe that states will resist nationalizing the rest of the school curriculum.

The next steps will be setting up a governing board to oversee standards and assessments, updating the standards every five to 10 years, and setting up a governing body supporting state implementation. Clearly, the oversight of this national curriculum will be decided at a national level.

... A cookie-cutter curriculum requires cookie-cutter teachers.

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