State Republicans Demand End to Common Core in Oklahoma
The Common Core is a national movement to require every school in the United States to share certain academic standards, so every student in every school in the nation can then be tested on the same curriculum. It is basically the establishment of a national curriculum.
Governor Mary Fallin and State School Superintendent Janet Barresi have strongly supported the implementation of Common Core in Oklahoma, while the Speaker of the Oklahoma House, T. W. Shannon, and most other Republicans, both activists and public office holders are opposed.
George Will, a nationally syndicated columnist, praised the opposition to Common Core in a column published in the Oklahoman the day before the meeting. "It [Common Core] is designed to advance in primary and secondary education the general progressive agenda of centralization and uniformity," Will wrote in his blistering attack on the effort to nationalize all school curriculum in the United States. "(P)roponents of the Common Core want its nature and purpose to remain as cloudy as possible for as long as possible," Will wrote in explaining the evasions of those who are promoting Common Core.
While supporters of Common Core argue that a national curriculum would improve the academic performance of students, Will argued otherwise. "Fifty years of increasing Washington inputs into K-12 education has coincided with disappointing cognitive outputs from schools." Will summarized his opposition by comparing it to other progressive programs, like ObamaCare: "Opposition to the Common Core is surging because Washington is saying, in effect, If you like your local control of education, you can keep it."
And now the State Committee of the Oklahoma Republican Party has adopted a resolution directly calling for the Oklahoma Legislature to dismantle Common Core. "The State Committee of the Oklahoma Republican Party stands in opposition to Common Core Standards (by any name)." This is important, because proponents of usurping the constitutional role of the states in education have used the tactic of renaming their efforts as opposition mounts at the grassroots. That is why various schemes over the past generation have had to repackage under a different name, and we have seen Mastery Learning, Outcome Based Education (O.B.E.), Goals 2000, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and now, Common Core. While each of these initiatives have different elements, they are similar in that they were all efforts to place a rigid control over what is taught in the public schools. Common Core proponents have advocated changing college admission testing to conform with Common Core, which would also place national controls over the curriculum of private schools and home schools.
The state committee resolution referenced a resolution passed by the Republican National Committee in 2013, thanks to the courageous efforts of Oklahoma's National Committee Woman, Carolyn McClarty, which said it devalues the individual student with a "one size fits all" approach to education.
Cyndi McArtor, a state committee member from Delaware County, authored the resolution adopted by the state committee. It concluded, "The State Committee of the Oklahoma Republican Party urges the State House and Senate Republican Floor Leaders to agree to hear any bills concerning CCSS [Common Core State Standards]," and that committee chairs receiving bills "concerning the repeal or delay" of the Common Core.
It further directed the State Chairman to "hand deliver this resolution to the Governor and State Superintendent of Public Instruction." Once this resolution is delivered to Governor Fallin and Superintendent Barresi, how will they react? George Will warned, "The Obama administration has purchased states' obedience by partially conditioning waivers from No Child Left Behind and receipt of federal largess on the states' embrace of the Common Core."
Fallin and Barresi could either take the point and urge immediate repeal of the Common Core in Oklahoma, or they could circle the wagons in its defense.
Will noted in his column that supporters of Common Core prefer to "caricature opponents as political primitives," rather than address the basic problem of national educational standards. Despite the action of the Oklahoma Republican Party, one can expect a push-back from powerful Establishment forces in Oklahoma.