While criticism of Common Core has been vocal and enthusiastic across the country since implementation of the standards, it is only recently that states have finally begun taking action to replace Common Core with their own standards.
Indiana was one of the first states to adopt Common Core and was also the first state to opt out of the program. Recently, Oklahoma and South Carolina have also ditched Common Core. Missouri and Louisiana are considering repeal of the standards.
When Indiana dropped Common Core, it was threatened with the loss of federal funding and the revocation of its No Child Left Behind waivers. At this point, it is unclear whether such threats are carried out for failing to participate in this “voluntary,” “state-led” program.
The repeal efforts face other controversies as well. In Oklahoma, for example, the National Association of State Boards of Education sent a letter to Gov. Fallin claiming that the repeal bill unconstitutionally violates separation of powers by establishing legislative review and approval of the new standards.
While it would be refreshing to see a state demonstrate fidelity to the separation of powers as enshrined in that state’s constitution (a provision intended to limit the power of the government by enabling each branch to serve as a check on the others), I am not holding my breath for such a result.
As we have seen at both the state and federal level (I am looking at you, Congress), legislatures frequently defer to aggressive executive actions and are often hesitant to protect the power of their own branch from executive encroachment. It is also highly likely that any perceived structural defects in the Oklahoma bill would be quickly remedied since the bill’s supporters seem to have momentum on the issue.
The better question would be to ask why we need such standardization in the first place. We are living in a time when there is more information available to the average person than ever before. The Internet empowers people to easily learn about nearly anything that they choose, without even having to leave their own homes.
The innovators and entrepreneurs of today will be the employers of tomorrow. Many of the technology jobs that are now in demand did not even exist 20 years ago. Rather than trying to make sure that every student in every city and town is learning the exact same thing at the exact same time, mandated by the bloated and calcified federal Department of Education, we should be encouraging diversification, experimentation and decentralization within the education process.
Success in the future will likely belong to those that are nimble, innovative and responsive to changing circumstances: The federal government is none of those things.