Maryland Begins Common Core

Public schools begin classes in Maryland today.  The controversial “common core” federal education standards begin impacting student education with the beginning of this year.  Should parents be concerned?

In Maryland the answer is a surprising no.  Given that the Once Free State:

  • is already a poster child for nanny-statism
  • has an educational system run by the teachers’ union
  • has no viable school choice
  • believes that funding equates to quality in education
    the impacts of common core will be negligible (and possibly slightly positive) compared to what would have occurred otherwise.
    Repackaging Old Ideas

    Throughout their lives my children have heard me say claim that there are no new movies.  Every time one of them asks me to sit down an watch a movie with them I always wind up explaining that what we are watching is simply a rehash of an earlier cinematic endeavor.  If not, the story was stolen from earlier literature.  Basically, there are no new stories.  This applies education as well.  There have been no new ideas since (sadly) John Dewey.
    Last week we published a piece on “common core” highlighting the ridiculous notion that there are no “wrong” answers.  This idea, while laughable, is not new.  The same notions were promoted in the 1960’s – perhaps earlier.
    Funding DOES NOT Equal Quality
    Maryland prides itself on the highly subjective (and probably specious) claim that it has the best educational system in the country.  This claim is based on rankings from an education trade journal which places a disproportionate emphasis on expenditure ($$$ = quality).  Personally, I would love to see the “objective” evidence that Nebraska, Alaska, Mississippi, Idaho, Nevada, and South Dakota all provide a worse education than the Washington, DC public schools.  As long as elected officials from Gov. Martin O’Malley to Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt are allowed to get away with promoting the notion that funding is equivalent to quality, there is little chance that Maryland will make fundamental changes to its K-12 education system.
    Look at Wicomico County.  The county council petitioned for an elected school board.  Pollitt and his Democrat pals in Annapolis made sure that introducing fiscal sanity to the county’s schools didn’t happen.  Instead, Wicomico taxpayers will continue to pay for schools that the school board allows to crumble … so they can then claim the need to build new schools.
    Look at Wicomico again.  The state legislature eviscerated the county’s revenue cap so that more dollars would flow to schools.  Strangely, the MSEA didn’t come to the aid of its own membership.  More money was spent, but that didn’t translate into higher teacher pay.
    New Ideas Not Allowed
    New ideas such as school choice are simply not permitted in the Once Free State.  Yes, the state pays lip service to the notion.  They had little choice but to permit it in the cesspool of the Baltimore city schools.  Of course, the state and MSEA them swooped in to force charter schools to operate under union guidelines.
    Old Ideas Not Allowed … If They Work
    Even old ideas aren’t allowed in Maryland’s public schools, if they have been shown to work.  Educational basics such as phonics have gone by the wayside.  Parents clamor for them, so the ed establishment takes the same disproven approach, calls it something else and tells parents that they’ve headed their call.
    So … In a nutshell, “common core” will not prove disastrous in Maryland.  This isn’t because “common core” is a good idea.  It’s not.  The federalization of education under George W. Bush was misguided (not to mention unconstitutional).  This is no different under Barack Obama.  The crackpot notions put forward in “common core” are the same ideas which thrive under Maryland’s educational establishment.
    If parents are really worried about public education in Maryland, they need to quit fixating on “common core” and policies that are part of it.  Those policies will be here not matter what you call them, unless we take our schools back.
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