The latest educational initiative to rile up some social conservatives is Common Core educational standards. At Glenn Beck’s Man in the Moon this past weekend, Michelle Malkin bashed Common Core as being “a progressive education scheme.” Her objective is to halt the implementation of the standards, according to the Blaze. David Barton was already on record as opposing Common Core. Some of the conceptions and misconceptions are displayed in this video.
Listening to Malkin and Barton, one might think that conservatives are unified in their opposition to Common Core. Not so. In this post, I want to list several links to articles by conservatives who favor the implementation of Common Core.
Common Core a conservative win for Oklahoma – This op-ed by Chester Finn and Michael Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a right-of-center education policy think tank lay out their conservative reasons for supporting Common Core. Both authors are also affiliated with the Hoover Institution.
The Good News of Common Core – An article from Christianity Today which addresses misconceptions of those opposed to the standards. The article was written by Karen Swallow Prior, a professor at Liberty University.
Mike Huckabee – Huckabee sets the record straight about the source of the standards and praises the idea that there is some benchmark for what students should know throughout their school years. According to Malkin, conservatives like Huckabee have “sold out” to progressives. Really?
The Truth about Common Core – In National Review Online, conservative scholars Kathleen Porter-McGee and Sol Stern take apart misconceptions about Common Core.
Escaping Ourselves – Former CT editor, David Neff, sees the Common Core standards as aiding common understandings of important historical texts.
Frequently Asked Questions about Common Core – Clarifies that the program is not a federal initiative but was developed by the National Governors Association along with school officials around the nation. Other misconceptions are addressed here.
Most of the criticisms of the Common Core standards I have seen make me wonder if the critics have read them. Given that the standards were developed by Governors and school officials, the worries over federal intrusion seem more related to opposition to the current president than the standards themselves.
There is nothing new about standards for students. Thomas Jefferson and his fellow Visitors of the University of Virginia provided a general outline about what students should know before entering university level. Jefferson hoped Virginia would develop a public education system to help prepare students in this manner:
To give every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business;
To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts, and accounts, in writing;
To improve, by reading, his morals and faculties;
To understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either;
To know his rights; to exercize with order and justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor, and judgment;
And, in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed.
To instruct the mass of our citizens in these, their rights, interests and duties, as men and citizens, being then the objects of education in the primary schools, whether private or public, in them should be taught reading, writing and numerical arithmetic, the elements of mensuration, (useful in so many callings,) and the outlines of geography and history. (From Rockfish Gap Report (Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Fix the Site of the University of Virginia, 1818, p. 4).