Redelman’s Wrong

Derek Redelman, the vice president of education and workforce development policy, at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce wrote an op/ed at the Indiana Barrister calling on Hoosiers to show common sense with the Common Core.  Translate that to mean agree with him and think the Common Core is a-ok.  Basically he’s troubled that there is opposition in the form of State Senator Scott Schneider’s bill SB 193 which would remove the Common Core from Indiana’s standards.

Typically, as a conservative, I have found myself allied with the Chamber on a number of different issues, but they seem to have a blind spot from the U.S. Chamber on down to the Common Core.  In fact the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed the Common Core State Standards before they were even written.

I have to wonder if Redelman supported them before he even read them.

Let’s pick apart some of his arguments shall we?

Senate Bill 193, sponsored by Sen. Scott Schneider (R-Indianapolis), would effectively overturn the state’s 2010 approval and subsequent participation in the Common Core academic standards. (emphasis mine)

The Indiana State Board of Education, an unelected body made this decision, not the Indiana Legislature.

Forty-six states have adopted the Common Core program, an initiative to set strong standards for what students learn at each grade level in math and English that is also designed to get students ready for college and careers. The program is already being implemented in Indiana and enjoying unusual bipartisan and broad-based support, including among classroom teachers.

Forty-six state boards and/or departments of education adopted the Common Core.  While part of the purpose of education is to prepare students for careers that is not the end all, be all goal of it.  What careers?  This is shifting, in my opinion, a hyper focus on STEM subjects at the neglect of other important subjects.  As far as the Common Core enjoying broad-based bipartisan support, how can he even say that when there was no public debate?  I’ve read about and have heard from numerous classroom teachers not excited about the Common Core.  Besides if parents are not happy with them does it really matter what teachers think?  Nope.

Beginning in 2009, governors and state commissioners of education from 48 states committed to developing common K-12 benchmarks in math and English. They sought significantly more rigorous academic standards and testing programs for their states. Common Core opponents charge it is designed to “nationalize” academic standards and testing, citing the Obama administration’s support for this state-led effort as evidence of sinister intent.

This is nonsense. Common Core was and still is a state-led effort. Indiana was one of the early states to approve and implement the program. In fact, Gov. Daniels and Dr. Bennett were key leaders in helping states around the country – now 46 states – to approve the program. Common Core opponents know that if they can tear it down in Indiana first, the foundation will begin to crumble across the country.

Bull pucky… this is a special interest-led and Federally pushed set of standards.  If it were truly state-led then state legislatures would have been involved.  Regarding tearing it down in Indiana, actually we’d go for any state.  I used to live in Indiana, but I don’t think they’re special in that regard.  I think this is a battle we’ll likely have in every state.

However if one state whether it is Indiana, Utah or say my home state of Iowa we do have some momentum.  So he’s right in that regard.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has acknowledged that some of the critics – at least those focused on contents of the standards rather than hysterical exaggerations of federal intrusion – may have some legitimate concerns that should be evaluated.  But those concerns, if legitimate, can be offset by the flexibilities contained within the Common Core and through corresponding adoptions of rigorous assessments and accountability measures. There is no need to overreact.

Hysterical exaggerations of federal intrusions?  Tell me where, Mr. Redelmen, the Constitution and Federal law permits the U.S. Department of Education to push a set of standards for a state to be eligible for a Race to the Top grant or a No Child Left Behind Waiver?  They have no such authority and yet they have done just that.  Regarding the supposed “flexibilities.” What in the blue blazes are you talking about?  State are permitted to make minimal changes impacting up to 15% of the standards.  You call that flexibility?   As far as the “rigorous” (talk about adopting the Common Core propaganda!) assessments and accountability measures we are supposed to believe they will make changes in the standards as a result of these?

Yeah, I won’t hold my breath on that.

Rather than subjecting our academic standards to the politicized environment of the Legislature, such determinations and oversight need to remain in the hands of our state’s education leaders, including the Department of Education, the Education Roundtable and the State Board of Education. Ironically, while critics of the Common Core have heaped praise on Indiana’s previous state standards, they consistently overlook the fact that those highly-rated standards were adopted through the same process as was conducted when Indiana adopted the Common Core, and that the Legislature played no role in those adoptions.

This is the height of arrogance.  Citizens and parents through their elected legislators should be able to weigh in on standards that impact their children.  They are the primary stakeholders in a child’s education, not educators or educrats.  If standards are worthy then they shouldn’t be afraid to subject them to the legislative process.  Mr. Redelmen needs to be reminded that we live in a Republic, not an oligarchy.