Your editorial deems it “prudent” for the Nebraska Board of Education to have awarded a $47,000 consulting fee to Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) to compare the state’s current standards with the national Common Core version (“Apart from the Common Core,” March 27). However, given that the federally subsidized McREL has raked in big bucks nudging other states toward implementation of Common Core, it would not be wise for anyone to expect an objective analysis.
A line-item comparison will not be terribly relevant, in any event. The key point is Nebraskans now are free to revise their own standards, and with Common Core they would be stuck with a model copyrighted by Washington-based trade associations and off-limits to local amendment. In addition, the yet-to-be-released Common Core assessments, which are being developed by two consortia with nearly $400 million in federal funding, would subject Nebraska children to online testing that would be much more time-consuming, costly and potentially intrusive than current assessments.
Nebraska has done the prudent thing so far by not jumping on the bandwagon of nationalized K-12 education.
[First published in the March 30, 2012 edition of the Lincoln Journal-Star.]