ALBANY, N.Y. – New York Education Commissioner John King gave a shameless performance on Wednesday when he alleged that opponents of the Common Core nationalized learning standards are sabotaging the educations of minority children.
“What those who resist higher (learning) standards are really saying is that some kids just aren’t going to make it and that’s acceptable,” King said during a speech to mark the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that ended segregation in public education, according to WAER.org.
“It’s not, it’s not acceptable,” King continued. “It’s an assault on the values of America. It’s also, in the end, shortsighted because society bears the cost of a permanent underclass, under-prepared for the 21st century economy.”
King added, “By retreating from accountability and allowing children at risk to slip through the cracks, advocates of lower standards deny us the talents of all Americans.”
Not only is King’s argument offensive, it is sheer nonsense because it’s based on the faulty belief that Common Core’s math and English learning standards are “rigorous” and better than the previous standards they’ve replaced.
They’re not, as numerous education experts – respected ones who aren’t on the Bill Gates payroll – have repeatedly demonstrated.
Math experts, for example, point to the fact that Common Core delays the study of Algebra until the ninth grade. That means students are going to graduate from high school without getting introduced to precalculus.
That’s a big deal because it’s going to make it very difficult for those students to receive all the math they’re going to need in order to earn a four-year college degree in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering or mathematics).
There are several serious concerns with Common Core’s English standards, too. The biggest of these involve Common Core’s insistence that high school students do most of their reading from “informational texts” instead of the classic literature that helps develop young adults into well-rounded individuals who better understand the world and their place in it.
Those are thoughtful and legitimate reasons to oppose the Common Core experiment. But instead of debating Common Core critics on the merits of their arguments, King is foolishly choosing to make the learning standards debate about race and equality.
What a mistake.
The fact is many Common Core opponents share King’s concerns that too many minority children are stuck in dysfunctional schools and are simply being passed through the K-12 system with little regard to whether they’re learning anything or not.
That’s why many conservatives who oppose Common Core also support school choice. King knows this, but for some reason he thinks defending Common Core is more important than treating his political allies with respect.
How sad that the education reform movement – filled with individuals of all colors and political ideologies – should be divided over a set of dopey (and experimental) learning standards and their accompanying standardized assessments.