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WHAT IS COMMON CORE?

Welcome to the Queens Village Republican Club where we cherish freedom, liberty, we celebrate our individuality, and encourage all to embrace our cultural diversity. We believe the dignity of a job can help overcome many of our socioeconomic problems.  At our April Club meeting you will be hearing from a number of speakers on the topic of Common Core. 

common core

Have you seen the movie trailer at www.commoncoremovie.com? This is a sneak preview of the coming film, “Building the Machine” which explores both sides of the Common Core controversy. Here is a glimpse of a few of the topics presented in the documentary.

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) says: “Common Core proponents offer upbeat descriptions of utopian educational goals along with detailed practical lists of what students should know and be able to do in grades K–12 in Mathematics and English Language Arts. But those goals and standards are just two facets of the conglomeration of federal funding, preschool–workforce invasive student tracking, and one-size-fits-all computer-based learning that has become the Common Core.”

Political Scientist Andrew Hacker, at Queens College stated he was amazed at how the Common Core legislative effort combining a number of bills slipped through the NYS legislature so easily.  David Barton from a group called Wallbuilders, cites a Kentucky report wherein Common Core actually drove the grades for Math and Reading spiraling downwards.

Common Core has its roots back in the very beginning of the Obama Administration. After a number of failed efforts at implementation, the Obama “stimulus” program sprouted up and the federal government waved billions of dollars in front of the state capitols enticing them to align. They were hungry and the timing could not have been better.  Legislatures from all over the nation rushed the bills through, promised full implementation and thus Common Core came on the scene.

The legislative process at the federal, state, and local level is meant to be deliberative in order to slow the process down.  This affords legislators the opportunity to fully evaluate proposed bills.  We have seen under Governor Cuomo a number of legislative efforts from Common Core to Gun Control “rushed” without due oversight, debate and deliberation.  It’s in our best interest to keep the process lengthy and transparent as possible.  We failed on this one.

Initially endorsed by both Republicans and Democrats, some suggest that Common Core provides a fundamental and structural baseline upon which students’ educational evaluation depends. Republicans and Conservatives are now awakening to the merits and faults of this educational approach. Common Core presents challenges for parents, since it is viewed as a one size fits all approach to education which leaves parents and teachers out of the equation. The Common Core approach presents obstacles to school district budgeting, since they can no longer set their own priorities. Common Core now is the de facto budget priority thus squeezing out any local parental programming that was sought. Below are yet a few other areas which Common Core and the digital age are beginning to bring into the forefront. Do give them consideration as well:

1 – Privacy of records: data collection activities of our children during their formative years is incredibly detailed and could be seen as insensitive.  Electronic records could follow them their entire lives and used wrongly, could prejudice them in careers, promotions and school selection.

2 – Educational approach to Learning happens in many ways; written, auditory, others.  No one child learns the same yet that’s exactly what Common Core is all about, “sameness”.  It’s a government run model.

3 – Sovereign/Right to self determination: school board/home rule takeover of local political subdivisions within NYS.  School boards control their budgets, set priorities and bring the learning environment to their local townships and districts.  Common Core is a top down, heavy handed government-knows-best routine.  Should NYS be able to impose budget priorities on a local government entity when clearly the standard has been set for local control?  This is something we in NYC don’t get to appreciate because of the size of our five borough bureaucracy which many say is broken.

This article is not meant to be a comprehensive evaluation; rather it is intended to be a taste, a warm-up for our monthly meeting and encouragement for our members to continue to research this topic and conduct thoughtful analysis to be shared with other club members at our meetings.  There are a great many facets of Common Core not the least of which are teacher evaluations which we haven’t touched upon.  Those with access to the internet would do well to follow our WEB: www.qvgop.com, FACEBOOK: qvgop, TWITTER: @qvgop and YOUTUBE: qvgop dialogue.

Now we have hopefully tempted you to explore and investigate the Common Core further. What does it mean to you with no children, young children, localities and towns who prepare budgets, and to a city the size of NYC?  What does it mean to the right of self determination and setting your priorities in your local government?  Has the federal government, vis-a-vis NYS, usurped its authority in a massive takeover of local governments?  These and other prickly questions have come to the forefront of Common Core as billions of private dollars pour into NYS directing and controlling the future of education in our State, Cities and Towns.

At the April 3rd Club meeting on Common Core we will have a question and answer session following our speakers’ presentations. All attendees are requested to submit questions by April 2 the latest by email to maduroman@att.net. You may also submit your question by mail, printed legibly to Jim Trent, 242-33 90th Ave, Bellerose, NY 11426. We will attempt to get to as many questions as practical, given the limited time we have. We are looking forward to seeing each of you and a very informative presentation on this important topic. Please do attend and bring a friend.

By Joseph Concannon

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