Ladner’s False Choice

Matthew Ladner wrote a guest post at Jay P. Greene’s blog today that lays out a false choice either support the Common Core State Standards or support status quo where in some states their standards were a joke.

He wrote about his experience in Arizona when he was asked to oppose Arizona’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards:

I had deep misgivings regarding Common Core at the time, the most serious of which was the governance of the standards over time. At the time I was of the opinion that unless Ben Bernanke took up the task of governing the standards that it would inevitably follow that Common Core would eventually result in the Great American Dummy Down.

Nevertheless in the end I decided not to oppose Arizona’s adoption of Common Core standards.  Regardless of how bad Common Core started out or later became, Arizona simply had nothing to lose.  Arizona had just about every testing problem you could imagine- dummied down cut scores, massive teaching to test items, and something at least in the direct vicinity of outright fraud by state officials regarding the state’s testing system. Our state scores had “improved” substantially through a combination of lowered cut scores and teaching to the test items, but NAEP showed Arizona scoring below the national average on every single test and precious little progress. The status quo was worse than a waste of time.

He then suggests we adopt a “vote of no confidence” and then challenge our state to adopt better standards.  I know personally I’m not in favor of status quo for bad standards.  My state has the Iowa Core which could have been strengthened if they were deficient, but frankly I don’t see where the improvements are.

I briefly mentioned this in my post yesterday – Ladner, as well as many other Common Core advocates, seem to ignore is that the process in which the Common Core State Standards were brought about stunk.  No state legislature voted on these.  Congress never voted on their inclusion with Race to the Top money included in the Stimulus bill.  There was little feedback given and they hadn’t been field tested.  Also the Federal government has zero business, Constitutionally, to involve itself in promoting educational standards.

So it really shouldn’t matter how bad or how good your state’s standards are.  We have a constitutional process that should be respected and followed.  Instead it was ignored amidst numerous back room deals in State Departments of Education and the Educrats decided, not our elected representatives that these were good for us.

Ladner writes later on:

Mind you, it would be a struggle to adopt MA standards in AZ, and we might not prove up to the task. The same it true of Common Core. Plus the MA standards are battle tested and I would prefer to have a group of people running the show that I can actually talk to, beat up in the press and vote against. Democracy has it’s faults, but I’ll take my chances with it.

Exactly!  Nobody got the chance to do that before these were implemented.  He could have advocated this back then, whey didn’t he?  Because they were better than what they had?  If he knew they were going to be a train wreck and adopted without legislative approval then he should have opposed them.  Instead he stood by silent for the “Great American Dummy Down.”  Where was today’s *brilliant* revelation back then?  He accuses those of us who oppose the standards of championing the status quo, but in reality we’re the ones who have advocated what he now suggests.

Thanks for joining in Matthew, I guess it’s better late than never.