Does eliminating the Common Core really solve our biggest problems here in Oklahoma? Far from it.
I’ve been acquainted with Governor Mary Fallin since she was my District 85 rep way back at the end of the 1980s. She only accepts temporary defeat.
Count on her to be back with the same commitments to standards, charter schools, and testing as a vector of attack on public schools.
She has signed this bill promising, “Superintendents, educators, parent, public policy officials, Superintendent of Education, employers, citizens.” But there’s one more thing that she did not mention.
Power Shift from the SDE to the Legislature
The bill that was signed provides for the legislature itself to have the power to make changes to the standards as they see fit without any recourse for the SDE or those who wrote them. This means that any number of wacky ideas can make it into the those standards once all of those other folks work hard to develop them. Not a good scenario, is it?
Remember that the language that is being used is not just “repeal”, but “repeal and replace“. That’s right, the commitment to a centralized laundry list of standards that will be used to develop new tests is right there and being implemented today.
And it is a mistake to believe that getting rid of the Common Core standards will get rid of tests and the current administration’s commitment to using tests to measure “quality”. At the same news conference where Fallin gave reasons for signing the bill, SDE spokesperson Tricia Pemberton said, “We’re going to have to cobble a new test together.”
Will Change of Supt. Change Anything? Maybe. Maybe not.
I have criticized Supt. Janet Barresi in earlier posts here, here and here. And so I look forward to seeing what will happen on June 24th when primaries decide which candidates each party will run for state offices.
But will removing Barresi really change anything if the new superintendent taking office next year is just as committed to arbitrary standards, high-stakes testing, and school-shaming from those tests? It won’t.
And if that person is from the Republican Party and gets their money and support, will there be a commitment to make decisions and have a process that starts with educators first, or will organizations like ALEC have a large influence because that’s what the party wants?
Let’s move away from the partying about the repeal of the Common Core and start working toward what replace means.
Questions for the Candidates
Here are some ideas for questions that should be asked at any candidate forum for State Superintendent of Schools:
1. Do you support using standards that are established by other organizations outside of Oklahoma?
2. Do you support using standardized tests graded out-of-state that measure a student’s performance only on one day of a school year?
3. Do you support expansion of charter schools from their current number and status?
4. What would you do to promote the increase of funding for education in Oklahoma?