I was shocked yesterday when I came across news that the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police came out in support of the Common Core State Standards. Why in the world would police officers inject themselves into an education policy debate?
I smell Gates money.
According to a report released at the press conference titled, “Helping students succeed cuts crime,” only 24 percent of eighth graders in Tennessee are proficient in math, 27 percent are proficient in reading and 31 percent are proficient in science while 14 percent of Tennessee freshman do not graduate in four years.
Law enforcement officials have a few reasons for supporting the new common core standards. The biggest reason is to keep kids out of jail.
“We support Fight Crime: Invest in kids,” said Murfreesboro Police Chief, Glenn Chrisman. “When we have an educated population, number one: it makes society much more livable and number two: keeps people out of our prison system.”
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids is a national, non-profit organization. The organization consists of more than 5,000 chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, attorneys general and violence survivors.
Common Core state standards are supposed to provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn in English language arts and mathematics. The common core standards are expected to prepare students for higher education or for entry into the workforce. Tennessee was one of the 12 states that led the development of common core standards. Full implementation of common core standards for Tennessee is expected for the 2014-2015 school year.
All the police chiefs believe educating children leads to less crime later on.
“Tennessee students need an education that prepares them for the postsecondary education and the workforce so they will be less likely to turn to a life of crime,” said Johnson City Chief of Police, Mark Sirois.
Having worked with juvenile offenders for over 13 years and with youth in general for 20, I know a little something about risk factors for youth. It is nonsensical to think that centralized standards will prevent juvenile crime and adult crime down the road when there is no data that demonstrates it raises student achievement.
Getting a good education is one factor in helping steer high-risk kids on the right track, but it is nonsensical to think that the Common Core State Standards will help in this endeavor. These police chiefs would be better off advocating and pushing for mentoring. That has provided tangible results. Centralized standards such as the Common Core hasn’t.