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William Crandell: GOP blocks way for Common Core Standards

Published 4:12pm Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Recently the Michigan State Legislature passed a state budget that doesn’t include funding allowing for the Common Core Standards to be implemented in Michigan.
The Common Core Standards will create a national set of education guidelines and replace our current state requirements and will help America’s students become more competitive with the rest of the world. But members of the state GOP are once again putting partisanship above what is in the best interest of our children.
The Common Core Standards were developed by a collective of national educational groups that included the National Governors Association, state superintendents, various teaching organizations and an advisory group of college educators and ACT board members. Many educators feel that the standards are needed to make educational goals consistent and to guarantee that every student receives a quality education.
The standards were adopted by the Michigan State Board of Education in 2010 and have also been adopted by 45 other states.
For the past three years,  educators in Michigan have been working hard to implement the new guidelines, and many districts have already begun to use them. But, recently, funding to complete their implementation was blocked in the State House by Rep. Tom McMillin, who sponsored the budget amendment that removed the funding. McMillin feels that the people of Michigan have not had the opportunity to voice their opinion even though the State Board gave the people of Michigan and the legislature the opportunity to express their opinions in 2010.
If the Common Core Standards are not implemented, Michigan will begin to suffer sanctions under No Child Left Behind and all Michigan students will be required to be 100 percent proficient in both math and reading or begin to lose federal funding.
But McMillin and his cohorts in the legislature fear a takeover by the federal government of our educational system that will remove local control over what is taught in our schools. But the federal government will not oversee the standards — a collective of 40 states will. McMillin also considers the groups that developed the standards trade organizations and special interests groups that he refuses to allow control our education. And, yet, he is a strong supporter of cyber/charter schools and their special interest lobby.
I think the main issue for the GOP is the fear of losing control and the ability to manipulate what is being taught in our schools. In other states, conservative school board members have removed subjects like evolution from curriculums without the support of their communities.
This is just another action designed to put all the power into the hands of a few controlled by special interests. It seems the GOP only cares about the voice of the people when it works to their advantage.
Politicians should not be deciding what our children are taught anymore than a mechanic should be performing heart surgery.
The Common Core Standards were developed by those who work in education and understand what our children need to succeed.
William Crandell is a community activist and active member of the Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Democratic Party. He is also a member of the South County Democratic Club where he has served as their communications director and as the chairperson of the SCDC Blue Tiger Community Action Committee.

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