I’m growing weary of the constant circulation – willfully or ignorantly – of inaccurate information about Common Core State Standards. And I’m not just talking about the swirling from those in education circles who are either misinformed or uninformed as to the impact the standards will have on classic literature. As a conservative, I’m already tired of the more recent swirl from those in political circles who wrongly assign credit of the development of these standards to big, bad Washington.
Reading the latest “shots from the hip” from the newest Common Core nay-sayers, I couldn’t help but hear the voices of Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise in my head. So, with apologies to A Few Good Men…
Me: You want answers?!
Nay-sayers: We want the truth!
Me: You can’t handle the truth! We live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by an educated workforce. Who’s gonna do it? You? You? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom!
You weep for States who you perceive as “victims” and you curse the Federal Government’s “interference.” You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Little Johnny’s failure, while tragic, could have been avoided. He could have been saved from a mediocre job with little-to-no pay and a life of government dependence, if only you had stepped down from your high horse. And my support for state-created and state-driven standards, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, is part of an effort to save students from those failed lives!
You don’t want the truth, because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall! You need me on that wall! We use words like “national standards”, “voluntary”, “globally competitive”. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending the belief that all children can learn. You use them –inaccurately – as an excuse to bash the Feds.
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to nay-sayers who rise and sleep under the blanket of an education reform agenda, and then question the manner in which I ensure it! I would rather you just said “Thank you,” and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you give up the bashing of a critically important reform simply because your political enemy endorsed it.
About the author
Mary Laura Bragg
Mary Laura serves as Director of State Policy Implementation for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. A former classroom teacher, Mary Laura directed Governor Jeb Bush’s statewide literacy initiative, Just Read, Florida! As director, she was responsible for crafting and implementing the policies that helped place a command focus on reading instruction in Florida. She has served on advisory groups on adolescent literacy for both the Alliance for Excellent Education and the National Governors Association. She is also a member of Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Advisory Council on Advancing Adolescent Literacy. Contact Mary Laura at MaryLaura@ExcelinEd.org.