I was recently browsing Facebook and ran across a group that caught my attention. So I did the only natural thing and began reading and asking myself questions. The group is called “Parents & Educators Against the Daniels & Bennett Educational Reform.” What surprised me most about this group, is that I actually agree with SOME of their stated values. The part that got my attention however, is what pulled me in to a “reasonably” cordial debate with some of its members. Namely, why does the group still exist? I mean, aren’t Daniels and Bennett gone now? I suggested to them that it was a little like President Obama still blaming President Bush and that it was time to move on. They “politely” told me what I could do with my suggestions.
Let’s look at the facts though. After a very aggressive grassroots campaign, Glenda Ritz, a former teacher, won the race of Superintendent of Public Instruction and Tony Bennett was sent packing. And by riding the coattails of Ritz, John Gregg was narrowly defeated by Mike Pence for Governor of Indiana in what should have been a landslide. So for nine months now, we have been in the Pence & Ritz era of Education Reform. What have we accomplished? Not a whole lot, with the major exception of “pausing” the implementation of Common Core. I put pause in quotation marks because the local school corporations near me are acting as if they had their fingers in their ears when the pause was announced. They are continuing to push ahead and prepare for Common Core like they were before HB 1427 was signed into LAW.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am very much against Common Core. I made the comment to this group that many teachers I know are FOR Common Core and I was confused by that because since Common Core was a gift from Daniels/Bennett, it would seem that they were also FOR the Daniels/Bennett reforms. This group then began to claim that they too oppose common core. Let’s examine.
In all fairness, Supt. Ritz, along with Gov. Pence have signed a letter to withdraw from The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers Consortium. (PARCC) There are however other ways to do Common Core. And neither Pence nor Ritz has come out and denounced Common Core. They seem content to leave the option open to implementing it anyway. Also, in all fairness, when I put an Anti-Common Core post on Facebook, there a FEW of my teacher friends who click on the “like” button. If Ritz was opposed to CC and rallied her base against it in the same manner she rallied them against Bennett, CC would be dead in the water. The same can be said for Governor Pence. If he were to use his bully pulpit, CC would be old business. And in my book, SILENCE IS ACCEPTANCE.
So why are teachers and Supt Ritz so quiet? Two words; teachers unions. The National Education Association (NEA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Indiana State Teachers Association are all for Common Core. Sure wouldn’t want to anger them. And why is Pence quiet? Can you say Indiana Chamber of Commerce? That’s right, they also favor CC.
It seems to me that since Pence and Ritz seem to be AWOL on this issue, the only hope we have in the Hoosier state is taking our responsibility in the 2014 elections seriously. Starting with the primary in May, we need to find good conservative candidates who oppose federal interference into education and who oppose Common Core and we need to support them. If Ritz and Pence won’t stop Common Core, then maybe we can elect a legislature that will.
STOP COMMON CORE.