Debating the Bennett Ousting

Matthew Laudner lamenting the outing of Tony Bennett as Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Education has poked a hornet’s nest by use of unfortunate hyperbole.

Guest blogging at Jay P. Greene’s blog he wrote:

Let’s get two things clear from the outset: no one has yet to convince me that Common Core is a good idea and Common Core opponents have revealed themselves to be unsophisticated ya-hoos as easily led by weak arguments as any Ravitch-zombie. Whether Indiana adopts or chooses not to adopt Common Core is ultimately of trivial to modest importance in driving academic outcomes in Indiana. Neither side of the argument in Indiana seemed to appreciate this stunningly obvious fact.

Supporters claim that CC is a little better than Indiana’s existing standards, opponents a little worse. This is all subjective and thus there is no truth to discern here.  Should Mississippi adopt Common Core-yes states where the stock picking chicken can pass the test have nothing to lose. Should Massachusetts? Certainly not-a state with the highest NAEP scores on all four main tests has much to lose. The correct response to “should Indiana adopt Common Core?” is “why should I care?”

Common Core in Indiana thus was not a hill worth dying on to defend, nor anything worth putting a teacher union puppet in charge of your Department of Education to prevent. If you think otherwise you have earned a spot carved in stone on my “Drooling Idiots” tablet that I keep out in the rock garden.

Let me be clear about a few things here.

  1. I’m not a yahoo and neither are you.  Most of us who oppose the Common Core is because we ARE informed.
  2. I can’t be counted among Diane Ravitch’s fans, and I would suspect most of our readers are not either.
  3. A federal takeover of standards is not of minor importance or a trivial concern.
  4. Why should Matthew Laudner care if Indiana adopts the common core? I guess he shouldn’t.  Hopefully he cares if they are adopted in his own state.  As a former resident of Indiana I care whether Indiana adopts the Common Core, but I did not try to tell people how to vote.  I see the election as a mixed bag.  With Governor-Elect Pence and a Republican legislature I severely doubt that any of the current reforms will be undone.
  5. The only person to blame for the election outcome is Tony Bennett himself.  I’ve said numerous times blogging on various elections that he who loses his base will lose.  Dr. Bennett found that out.  Conservatives don’t like Federal mandates.

Be sure to read his post, but more importantly the comments as Ze’ve Wurman and Jim Stergios weighed in.