Ohio Governor John Kasich (R-OH) was one of the candidates who attended the New Hampshire Education Summit on Wednesday. He was asked “Common Core, do you still support it?”
Look, let me tell you what I see what that label is. The Governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue, and by the way you don’t get elected Governor of Georgia if you are a liberal, got together with another governor before I became governor and they said students across the country ought to have the same opportunities and education with high standards. They brought in school officials, state education officials, education experts and they created a set of standards.
In my state we had lower standards. Massachusetts our neighbor here (New Hampshire) they pushed very high standards, their students are doing very well in Massachusetts. So I look at this if you have a very low bar everybody gets to jump over. You remember Lake Wobegon? Everybody’s getting an A, and then we get to graduation and 40 percent are ready for college.
So what I believe in Ohio is we should have high standards and the curriculum should meet high standards needs to be developed by local school boards with parental advisors. I don’t write the standards, President Obama doesn’t write the standards, or the curriculum, we have the high standards established as where we should go and do it only in math and in English. The bottom line is we have higher standards with school boards writing the curriculum to meet the higher standards with parental advisory. I think that is pretty good because I don’t think, I don’t support Washington… I have a whole lot of thoughts about Washington. I was there in the 90s when we tried to eliminate the Department of Education, ok, I was the chairman of the budget committee. There is no substitute for higher standards and a way to make sure local school boards are involved, the parents are involved and at the end of the day we have some testing to figure out how kids are doing. So if other states don’t want to do that, that’s fine.
If I were President, I would want to travel across the country to state legislatures telling them about the laboratories of change in each of the states so we practice best practices. If you got a better way to do it in New Hampshire, then I should go back to Ohio and try to implement it there. I don’t think Presidents should reign from on high. They ought to be out here giving control back to states and local communities and being part of the process to develop and share great ideas across the country. So you know I don’t know about that term and all that stuff. I’m just telling you what we’re doing in Ohio.
He was asked about why so many of his competitors “flip flopped” on Common Core.
I don’t change my positions on much unless this fine gentleman here in the nice relaxed shirt and beard can, if you have a better idea for me I’m always willing to change my mind. If somebody can present a case to me as to why my position is wrong on anything. That’s called open-mindedness, but you’re going to have to make a good case. But for me, I’m not going to change my position because there is four people in the front row yelling at me. I just don’t operate that way. You know, when I get hired as Governor I’m a CEO. You hire me, I do my job.
On the other hand I know that the public has been very concerned about this. That’s why in our Legislature we wrote into the law local control, with local school boards, writing the curriculum with parental advisors. Why did we do it? Because I hear the public yelling about this and they are concerned about it because they love their kids and are worried their kids are at risk, but I have to tell you in looking through all the facts, not getting all of my information from the internet, and looking at this over and over and over again I concluded in my state we need to raise our standards.
I have two 15-year-old daughters. I want my daughters to come out with the best education. And do I like it when they get As? Love it, but you know what? I’d rather know that they are getting a B or worse than that so we can work on fixing it so they can be better.
That’s what education is about it’s about unlocking your future, and that is what I’m most concerned about Campbell, so on any of these issues, everybody here needs to understand I look at stuff, I study, I can’t tell you how many times I called our state superintendent of schools with at least 1o questions over and over – tell me this, tell me that, tell me this because I want to know the facts. Once I know the facts then I am going to make up my mind and I am going to be the best leader I can be. But none of this finger in the air stuff for me, and I am not putting anybody else down. Everybody has to lead the way they want to lead or do it the way they want to do it. I’m just telling you how I do it.
He said a lot here so let me make just a few observations:
- It’s obvious he’s just regurgitating the talking points he’s been told about the development of the Common Core State Standards from the governors involvement to who was involved developing the standards. The pertinent fact is this, the writing team lacked involvement from classroom teachers for the most part, and among the lead writers it lacked people with experience writing standards. It also lacked content experts, especially in math.
- Massachusetts had higher standards until they adopted Common Core. Then they jettisoned them which is a shame as they had an effective model to follow. It’s unfortunate that the Common Core State Standards Initiative didn’t emulate what they did.
- Common Core is driving curriculum and creating a literal monopoly. I don’t know of any school personally (I’m not saying they are not out there) that doesn’t purchase textbooks and writes all of their curriculum in house. That isn’t to say the curriculum they purchase isn’t adapted, but when everything out there is Common Core because you have a literal monopoly formed in the publishing industry it’s hard to deviate – even if you live in a state that didn’t adopt Common Core. Ask parents in states like Texas, Nebraska and Virginia how often they see curriculum pop up in their schools that says it is Common Core aligned.
- It’s great he wants parental advisors for curriculum, but it’s too bad he isn’t listening to the parents in his state about Common Core… more on that coming up.
- “There’s no substitute for higher standards.” What research is he basing this on since Common Core essentially is dataless reform?
- Considering Common Core wasn’t field tested before adoption the process of adoption ignored the principles of states being laboratories of change he touts. When 46 states adopt essentially at one time this does not give states the opportunity to see how it is working in other states. Common Core and its adoption is the antithesis of federalism.
- “I’m just telling you what we’re doing in Ohio.” As if that’s original. Governor Kasich is a follower, not a leader on this issue. Going with the flow is staying with Common Core.
- Re. flip flopping… Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, for instance, changed his mind because he listened to parents. I’ve spoken with him on numerous occasions. He felt this at home. He’s the only candidate right now that has discussed problems with the content of the standards. This isn’t just political expedience at play. There are a number of candidates who have always been against Common Core.
- He says he’d be willing to change his mind if people would make a good case. Has he been listening? Yes there are people out there who are lousy advocates of stopping Common Core, but there are plenty of people who have made reasoned arguments against Common Core. Has he really listened to them.
- “Not getting all of my information through the internet.” So he’s basically saying grassroots activists and parents are wrong because they get their information from the internet. There are pro-Common Core websites out there as well I suppose he doesn’t trust those either. Unfortunately the media for years has ignored this story. Where else were parents to turn? New media and social media has made up for where mainstream media has failed. Is there incorrect information being promoted through some websites and blog about Common Core? Yes. I’ve seen opponents put forth bad information and I’ve seen “trusted” news sources put forth nothing but propaganda.
- So where does Kasich get his answers? From his state superintendent of schools! Ok that’s once source, are we to believe he has done his due diligence studying this issue because he talks to an educrat? News flash Governor Kasich, that’s not doing your homework. If you just see what comes out of your State Superintendent’s mouth as facts then your “research” if you can call it that is one-sided. I challenge Kasich to list what study, paper, article he has read from an opponent of Common Core. There’s a lot of good information out there, but I highly doubt he has read any of it.
You can watch his entire appearance here or below: