Obscure functionaries in various education bureaucracies are now pitching tantrums because, they insist, democratically-elected lawmakers should not concern themselves with the K-12 academic standards in taxpayer-funded public schools.
The complaints among education bean counters come after elected politicians in at least a dozen states have responded to the growing backlash among voters against the Common Core Standards Initiative by either limiting the power of state boards of education or forcing policy wonks to subject education standards to public vetting, The Washington Post reports.
Reggie Felton, a spokesman for the National School Boards Association, opined that elected state lawmakers aren’t qualified to provide any input about the knowledge and skills children should learn — or when.
“It’s just completely an overreaction for state legislatures to believe they can develop and manage and implement academic standards,” Felton told the Post. “They don’t have the technical capacity to do that.”
The Daily Caller is not making this up.
Felton also suggested that unidentified groups flush with cash are behind the hostile reaction among parents to the Common Core national standards.
“The greater concern is that various organizations, through their own lobbying efforts or simply because they have the right money behind them, will influence these members,” he told the Post.
Felton did not identify any of these nefarious groups. Strangely, he also did not mention the fact that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has used up over $200 million in an effort to push Common Core on America. (RELATED: FOLLOW THE MONEY: Microsoft’s Plan To Cash In On Common Core)
In growing numbers, state legislators disagree with Felton and his fellow technocrats about who should set academic standards. (RELATED: Emails Show Arizona Education Officials Intimidated Anti-Common Core Teacher, CALLED HIM ‘F**KTARD’)
For example, a dozen states have passed new laws in the past year adding layers of democratic input to the ways in which future academic standards will be adopted. In most of the 45 states that adopted Common Core around 2010, legislators had been left out in the cold. Governors and state boards of education adopted the standards without the benefit of legislation.
Indiana, South Carolina and North Carolina have already neutered Common Core largely because Republican legislators in those states believe that the standards are a backdoor effort by the Obama administration to bring about federal control over education.
Lawmakers in Ohio are now mounting efforts to join the growing exodus.
In Utah and Louisiana, the battle over Common Core is becoming mired in state courtrooms.
Missouri has approved a bill to revise Common Core as well. Show-Me State lawmakers passed a bill mandating the creation of “work groups” that will work with the state board of education on academic standards.
Oklahoma has done away with the controversial Common Core standards altogether.
Rep. Jason Nelson, a Republican who co-authored the law ridding the Sooner State of Common Core, said he believes democratically-elected legislators can oversee academic standards because academic standards are — and have always been — political.
“When you set education standards, you’re saying what children are required to learn through certain lenses,” he told the Post. “It’s obviously going to be political. What’s different with this law is that we’re allowing the voice of the public to be heard.”
Douglas Reed, an associate professor of government at Georgetown University, agreed with this sentiment.
“It’s a populist reaction to the Common Core,” Reed told the Washington newspaper. “Some politicians are tapping into that and grandstanding, but there is a real concern among folks that they were left out of the [decisions to adopt the] Common Core. There’s a real legitimacy argument.”
Kathy Christie, a spokeswoman for nonpartisan Education Commission of the States, observed that Common Core supporters never bothered to gather public support for their standards in the first place.
“Legislators were just totally left out of it when the states first adopted the Common Core, and that was a mistake,” she told the Post.