In a recent STL Post Dispatch Opinion, “Republicans continue to peddle the Common Core lie”, the editorial board lamented that Missouri took two steps back in education policy. The piece was such a work of fiction, it barely qualified for the opinion page.
We’d like to set the record straight about “the Common Core lie” and ask questions of clarification.
Fiction: Missouri legislators (especially, Representative Kurt Bahr) are playing their constituents for chumps because HB 1490 did not eliminate common core. Fact: Governor Nixon would not to sign a bill with language explicitly eliminating common core. HB 1490 instructs work groups constituted in 2014 to “develop” academic learning standards, not rubber stamp copyrighted ones. Bahr sent a written communication to the work groups stating that the intent of the bill is for Missouri to have standards in public domain. According to the editorial, “Those standards are likely to mimic Common Core. And even if they don’t, the Board can (and will) dismiss them.” Question: Is the Post suggesting that the state board of education intends to defraud the public, by rejecting the work submitted by the work groups a priori?
Fiction: Republicans, responding to wealthy campaign donors, are off loading common core as an Obama initiative. Fact: Several Republican presidential candidates and governors have been stalwart in supporting common core. Question: Is the board making a back-handed endorsement of Republican presidential candidates Bush and Huckabee who support the common core standards? Why did the board finger wealthy campaign donors for messing with education policy and, not mention wealthy private (Gates) and corporate (Pearson) underwriters of the Common Core State Standards Initiative? Is the Post suggesting that the 1% is only philanthropic in giving?
Fiction: Legislative meddling caused a succession of tests that inhibits comparison of scores. Fact: In February, a Cole County federal judge ruled that the SBAC consortium is an unlawful interstate compact and prohibited payment of SBAC membership fees. Further, SBAC failed to meet the terms of its existing contract, putting superintendents around the state in a very difficult position of trying to provide adequate preparation for the full summative tests this spring. Nevada also reported “breach of contract.” Question: Is the board suggesting that the legislature ignore the judge’s ruling and SBAC’s violation of contract?
Fiction: The SBAC assessment was “adequate.” Fact: To date, no published data are available to support statements that the SBAC is technically “adequate.” No validity, no reliability, no legal defensibility of decisions based on test scores. Question: How did the board determine SBAC was more adequate than an assessment DESE could develop?
Fiction: Defunding SBAC membership was “tragic.” Fact: It would be a gross dereliction of duty for the legislature to fund membership fees in, or tests created by, an entity “unlawful in its “existence and operation,” and leave Missouri vulnerable to an indefensible assessment plan. Question: How is protecting the public and following the law taking two steps back in education policy? Who is really telling the common core lie?
Co-founders of Missouri Coalition Against Common Core
Dr. Mary Byrne
In case you missed it, Missouri Education Watchdog printed a longer response on June 10th.
The Coalition supplied this response to the St. Louis Post Dispatch Editorial from June 8, 2015. Please feel free to share with local press which may be printing the same or similar propaganda.