Common Core Critics Want ALEC to Tell States What to Do

By 05/10/2012

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A clique of conservative groups is pushing the message that tomorrow’s ALEC vote is part of a “growing movement” against federal intrusion vis-à-vis the Common Core standards. There’s a problem with that line of reasoning: ALEC is already on record against federal intrusion into education vis-à-vis the Common Core standards.

In December, the organization of conservative state lawmakers adopted two Common Core resolutions in its education committee. One—the subject of the vote tomorrow at the board of directors level—calls on states to back out of the common standards initiative altogether. The second—which has already become ALEC policy—focuses instead on the federal role in the initiative, and tells Uncle Sam to back off.

Here’s the first resolution:

The State Board of Education may not adopt, and the State Department of Education may not implement, the Common Core State Standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Any actions taken to adopt or implement the Common Core State Standards as of the effective date of this section are void ab initio. Neither this nor any other statewide education standards may be adopted or implemented without the approval of the Legislature.

And the second:

BE IT RESOLVED, that the {legislative body} vigorously opposes any effort by the federal government to deny the authority of any state to set its own education academic content standards or to attempt to overturn decisions made duly by a state regarding any education standards deemed by the constitutionally-designated authorities in that state to be in the best interest of that state’s children.

So which is the true “conservative” resolution? The one that tells states what to do and demands a one-size-fits-all approach (pulling out of the Common Core)? Or the one that trusts states to make up their own minds—without interference from Washington? If you chose the latter, you will be relieved to know that Mitch Daniels, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Tony Bennett, and Jeb Bush—Common Core supporters all—agree.

-Mike Petrilli

This post originally appeared on the Fordham Institute’s Flypaper blog.

Comment on this article
  • MOMwithaBrain says:

    Amazing spin job!! Let’s see, by giving away local and state control in education, you somehow support local and state control in education!!
    When you sell your soul and have to defend it in the process, it then becomes painfully clear how absurd your arguments become.

    What you should have done is, stick to your conservatives principles. Then you wouldn’t have to come up with these lame excuses to try to defend your position.

  • […] Michael Petrilli’s inane post for Education Next I had to roll my eyes… it was titled, “Common Core critics want ALEC to tell states what to do.”  I think Mr. Petrilli has missed the point of the resolution offered by American […]

  • stlgretchen says:

    I agree with MOMwithaBrain. This is amazing spin.

    I will operate from the premise ALEC really is not a conservative organization, but an organization to enable crony capitalists from both sides of the aisle. Perhaps ALEC is promoting the same educational reforms that are being promoted by those “conservative” politicians as Arne Duncan and President Obama..and the “conservative” entrepreneurs Michelle Rhee and Bill Gates and David Coleman…for capitalistic purposes, and not for educational reform.

    ALEC is purported to want free markets and less government intrusion. The lack of the ALEC Board to immediately adopt anti-common core language and send it back for further study speaks volumes about the disconnect between the rhetoric and how this organization really operates.

    The current educational reforms are worse and federally more intrusive than NCLB. The current ESEA waivers “granted” by the DOEd (why should states have to be granted educational decision making by the Federal government) give even more power to the Federal government.

    By its failure to adopt anti-common core language, ALEC is promoting the nationalization of standards. These standards are NOT state led, rather, they have been crafted by two private organizations, the CCSSI and the NGA. If that is a “conservative” position, then your definition of conservative and mine vastly differ.

    Believing in free markets and capitalism shouldn’t include crafting educational reforms in the Solyndra blueprint of government: selecting methodology and vendors while using taxpayer money for private gain while wasting billions of taxpayer dollars in the process. THAT’S the common core approach your “conservatives” (Mitch Daniels, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Tony Bennett, and Jeb Bush) agree on. They should be delighted they are in the same corner with Duncan, Obama, Rhee, Gates and Coleman. They could care less about educational reform.

    It’s about money, control and power. If adopting standards that are unproven, untested and unconstitutional is a conservative approach, then the conservative movement is dead. This is the crossroads at which the ALEC Board finds itself.

    If ALEC truly is for limited government and free markets, then it should not support the DOEd or pre-selected private companies crafting mandates and holding states hostages for money. If it wants to support more federal control, then it needs to vote to kill the anti-common core language.

  • AnotherWithAbrain says:

    Here’s the problem Mike, Common Core standards really aren’t the heart of the problem, it’s the bureaucracy and the methods that will be the downfall. Had you looked PAST the written standards, you would see this.

    First of all, look at the pedagogy being pushed on the schools through this initiative. Constructivism, group learning, etc. Look at the grant foundations pushing this nonsense on schools which is bound to fail the students.

    There are plenty of studies that show constructivism will fail students, yet this fad is part of this whole reform package.

    If schools used inferior programs and materials before, what makes you think they wont choose inferior software?

    We already know that instead of math proficiency, “communication” is more important. (read Prof. Wilson’s critique of the SBAC preliminary assessment)

    We are already seeing this in our public schools. Instead of grading the kids on math skills, they are being graded on communication skills. Good luck with that Mike.

    It’s as if you guys have never stepped in a classroom lately. DO you have any idea what is going on?

    Here is what you missed. Teacher prep. in the Schools of Ed. Our teachers are being told they are “allowed” to teach for 10 mins. per class and if they teach for 15 mins, they are reprimanded. They are being told that they need to be generalists and not specialists. Talk about going backwards and not forward!

    Instead of focusing on how to teach, the emphasis should be on academic content. Very simple.

    Offer incentives to states to develop the BEST standards in the country/world instead of centralizing education which is anti-Conservative.

    Look at the Constructivism in the schools. This teaching method is an absolute disaster for so many kids. Teachers should not be babysitters, they should be highly qualified in academic content.

    Centralizing education will never work because you still have the mafia in control and you are still following their lead.

  • […] includes Common Core, charter schools, longitudinal data systems, etc.  She was replying to the  EducationNext piece by Michael Petrelli in which he defends “conservatives” such as Christie, Daniels and […]

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