SAN PEDRO, Calif. – A long-time public school teacher is so disturbed by the Common Core learning standard experiment that’s being foisted upon California schools that’s she’s decided to run for the state’ top education job to fight against it.
Earlier this week, Lydia Gutierrez used the announcement of her candidacy for state superintendent of public instruction to highlight the problems with Common Core, reports the San Fernando Valley Sun.
“The California educational system is in disarray. And Common Core mandates are not the answer,” Gutierrez said in a prepared statement. “School districts across the states will be forced to settle for mediocrity under the cover-up name of ‘College and Career Ready.’”
The veteran educator said the new math and English learning expectations have school leaders across the state scrambling to revamp their curriculum – and that’s denying parents and taxpayers any input into those crucial decisions.
“I believe any curriculum that is adopted by a school district or charter school should be reviewed by the public. This is a requirement I would like to see in every school’s bylaws,” Gutierrez wrote.
She also lamented the fact that Common Core places strict limits on what changes districts can make to the new learning expectations. That will lead to “closing the door of any discussion between parents and educators,” and undercut the longstanding principle of locally controlled schools, Gutierrez added.
But Common Core’s not the only problem facing schools in The Golden State.
She also criticized the Legislature’s practice of overwhelming schools with new laws and regulations that do little more than drain district budgets of precious financial resources.
“In desperation, schools have had to decimate their foundations by funding part-time nurses, counselors, librarians, music instructors, speech therapists, and having to deal with less custodian services, fewer or no aides, and the closing of vocational training programs. These resources and services are all critical in developing a well-rounded child,” Gutierrez said.
If Gutierrez wins next year’s election, she’ll have much more power to improve transparency and accountability of K-12 spending throughout the state than she’ll have over Common Core. She would have the opportunity, however, to use her exalted position to press lawmakers into repealing or reconsidering the new national learning objectives.
The primary for state superintendent of public instruction will be held next June. The San Fernando Valley Sun reports there were 12 candidates for the position during the 2010 primary. If no candidate receives a majority vote in June, the top two finishers participate in a November runoff election.