Symposium 2016: On the campaign trail, President-elect Donald Trump emphatically promised to get rid of Common Core. Should Trump and his Department of Education nominee, Betsy DeVos dismantle the national education standards? What should replace them?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent- There’s not a bloody thing wrong with Common Core, and it should be left alone.  I’m not sure Mr. Trump quite had a grasp of the situation when he made that statement, so I’m going to give him a pass.  The forces crying out against Common Core are the same ones who tell us there’s no such thing as bad teachers, accountability and performance evaluations for educators are tools of the devil and more homework is the solution to all of society’s ills.  Common Core forces schools to give children the tools they need to succeed in the real world, and while it’s not a perfect system by any stretch, it’s better than any of its counter-proposals. I would like to see far more STEM programs included, and that movement does seem to be gaining steam, but overall I’m happy with leaving Common Core as it is.

Prescott Valley, AZ correspondent- President-elect Trump and his Department of Education nominee, Betsy DeVos should certainly have input into what transpires with Common Core. Dismantling the current standards will require a hard look at the complaints made by public school boards, administrators, teachers, parents  and students about the standards and what should be done to change, modify or replace them.

If any dismantling is going to occur, it needs to be accomplished through state departments of public instruction with input at the local level from school districts that are required to implement Common Core Standards.

Any education program implemented and monitored by the federal government  through  federal money  is supposed to be considered  limited as the states are given the power through the Tenth Amendment to manage such matters, but the federal government has stuck its nose in the education process and  taken it upon themselves to decide how much money should be allocated per student in a state as it felt states were being unequal in their distributions per student and hence programs like Common Core, No Child Left Behind and other schemes  are developed to negate common sense strategies for developing standards and determining how accountability should be measured and recorded.

Besty DeVos would need to take the lead in the Common Core matter and help states coordinate the necessary changes and replacements for Common Core that would work across all state departments of instruction and leave implementation and recording of information to the states. The states should be free to develop the standards for all subject matter with approval by local school boards and state departments of instruction as well as informed curriculum developers, administrators, teachers and parents.

Common Core currently has standards for language arts and math (K-12) and the actual problems that occur with Common Core are associated with the curriculum itself, the teaching methodology, the extensive testing, the recording of testing results, personal data collection on students and other processes that are entwined in a pressure-packed program that is supposed to deliver high level results.

There is manipulation with the Common Core curriculum that accompanies the standards as it is rewritten to liberal/progressive standards, eliminates much of what is sensible, and utilizes globally-centered concepts to relate information.  American culture and values are marginalized and downgraded, and the sensible use of ideas and valuable learning situations are sidelined.   Math is taught in such a way that both the logic and actual knowledge of the subject is reduced to solving problems through complicated, multiple-step frustrating “new” processes.

Common Core Standards and its accompanying curriculum need to be replaced with American centered concepts as opposed to the progressive agenda of the left, which has been the basis of its founding and funding.  Common Core standards need to be exchanged for common sense ideas and concepts that relate to American culture and society, not political correctness, multiculturalism and diversity gone awry.

Myrtle Beach, SC Correspondent- First… go look at a common core math problem. Ok, now you tell me if common core is a good thing. It’s a MESS! I don’t have kids, but I’m telling you when I do I’ll homeschool if I have to. I will not have my children learning the awful mess that is common core. It’s awful. I do think we need some extent of “standardization” in education in the country, but common core is not it.

Owatonna, MN Correspondent- Common Core is an educational initiative that was developed by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). It has not been influenced by the federal government in any way. Therefore, neither the President nor the Secretary of the Department of Education has any authority over Common Core.

Whether Common Core is ineffective and should be dismantled is another question. It is always admirable to insist on standards of excellence, especially in education. Unfortunately, the fundamental problem of all standards is that they aim to be one-size-fits-all in a nation with millions of students from unique and diverse backgrounds, socio-economic situations, with different goals and aspirations, and with different ways of learning. Because so many diverse groups and individuals must be accommodated, any sort of national standard will by necessity be watered down and designed to allow for the greatest amount of “success” by students so the program can be considered effective.

National programs such as Common Core can be a good starting place for determining minimum levels of achievement, but it’s always best to allow teaching and learning to happen on the local level. Competent teachers will find a way to connect with their students and figure out the most effective teaching method to use with each student. If teachers are compelled to help all students reach an arbitrary minimum standard, they will tend to only do enough to get students to those standards regardless of whether the students are learning to their full potential or not.

President Trump and his Education Secretary could better help the nation’s education system by lobbying for better pay for teachers and lower class sizes, two factors which will more directly benefit students than dithering with a mediocre national standard of educational excellence.

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