Uh oh—I’m going to have to get cranky with my anti-Common Core friends for trying to crash the Blue Ribbon party.
South Dakotans Against Common Core is encouraging its followers to fill seats at the six just-about-public meetings of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teachers and Students (BluRTFTS) in June. Naturally, the Common Core opponents will want repeat what they’ve been telling the Governor’s people and their legislators for years: Common Core is bad for students, bad for teachers, bad for schools.
While I appreciate any citizen’s willingness to participate in public policy meetings, I’m not sure the BluRTFTS meetings are the proper venue for fighting Common Core. Governor Dennis Daugaard created BluRTFTS to discuss teacher pay (or at least to prolong the discussion to postpone action for at least another year). The question the Governor says this panel is to answer is, “What possibilities are there to meaningfully fund education for our kids and our communities?” BluRTFTS isn’t about standards, curriculum, or tests. BluRTFTS is about funding.
Common Core costs money, but it’s not the kind of big ticket item whose elimination would free up the cash we need to make our teacher salaries competitive. Besides, even Common Core opponents aren’t advocating for the complete elimination of external standards and testing; they just want different standards, which would still impose costs and paperwork and, inevitably, time-consuming tests that would still make teachers want to take up other employment.
If Common Core opponents are coming to the BluRTFTS meetings to propose a plan to mitigate our teacher shortage by eliminating Common Core and marketing ourselves to the teacher labor pool as the state where teachers don’t have to put up with the soul-crushing tests and bureaucracy, then hand them the mic. Heck, if they can show Governor Daugaard that eliminating Common Core would recruit more teachers without raising pay or taxes, he might seize that distraction.
But if the anti-Common Core crowd is coming to recycle the same old arguments that Common Core is more of Barack Obama’s Mongolia-style socialism, the same esoteric ‘Net-meme propaganda that Team Daugaard and the Legislature have consistently rejected in other meetings, there’s no reason to pitch them at these funding-focused meetings.