As one state after another adopts national standards for the teaching of math and English, the lack of debate and widespread media apathy are indeed strange, as teacher educator John Richard Schrock pointed out in his perceptive commentary (“Say goodbye to local control of our schools,” Nov. 7 Opinion).
In a recent survey, overwhelming majorities of Americans said they believe state governments, not the feds, properly are responsible for “paying the bills, setting standards, deciding what should be taught or holding schools accountable.” Voters in the Nov. 2 midterm elections registered strong opposition to uncontrolled federal spending and power grabs. Nevertheless, almost 40 states, including Kansas, have committed to junking their own standards in favor of the so-called Common Core, plus federally financed tests to accompany these standards.
Perhaps citizens believe states easily will be able to opt out of the centralized standards and tests. However, reversion to state control will not be a simple or overnight action once federally subsidized entities have taken command. Perhaps it will take another wave of elections to reverse the momentum toward a one-size-fits-all national curriculum by removing the federal government entirely from education policy.
Senior fellow for education policy