Our View: Common Core merits support

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 12:00 PM

Editorial Board

The Common Core State Standards in education, of which Utah is a participant, is under attack. Egged on by Tea Party groups, Republican-dominated states, as well as the Republican National Committee, have condemned the educational standards. The RNC, in a resolution, calls Common Core “a nationwide straightjacket on academic freedom and achievement.”

But that’s nonsense, and the RNC members who OK’d such drivel should be ashamed. They are toadies cowed by ideologues whose rigid enforcement of what is “good” would be applauded by Leninists. Common Core standards, set by states, are tough, traditional educational goals that demand analytical studies of math, English and history. The standards, for example, include intensive study of the Constitution and historical speeches, such as the Gettysburg Address.

Let’s face it: U.S. educational standards are not among the best in the world. Students need to learn to interpret, analyze and understand concepts well enough to make informed judgments. That’s why governors in many states — including conservative governors — worked to institute Common Core. They care about young minds and want to provide high educational standards necessary to help these students succeed.

It is mind-boggling that ideological groups, such as the Tea Party and others, are actively campaigning to destroy Common Core. They claim that it’s an unwelcome federal intrusion into education. But they are wrong. As Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson — a conservative — notes, “It (Common Core) is a national approach created by institutions outside the federal government.”

The Tea Party has been extremely successful in blocking Common Core standards. In nine states, cowed pols have blocked implementation of the standards. Ignorance, hiding behind the guise of “local standards,” is effectively blocking better education for our children.

Those who oppose Common Core because they have been inundated with propaganda need to know the facts from the lies. There is no federal attempted takeover of education in Utah. The Common Core standards do not mandate curriculum. States, including Utah, make the decisions on what to teach and how students prepare for standardized tests.

Common Core has become an ideological right-wing political correctness test. If it is eventually dropped or diluted, students will be the losers, even as some celebrate a “victory” over a faux political cause.

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