AP Misportrays Anti-Common Core Special Session Push as Funding Debate

I can’t figure out why the press is misportraying Rep. Elizabeth May’s call for a special session of the Legislature. It is clear to the South Dakota blogospherereporter Bob Mercer, and reporter Emily Niebrugge that May and the frustrated social conservatives joining her call want to spend a full day in Pierre rehashing their debate over Common Core. But the AP story that made the rounds Sunday is headlined, “Legislators Call for Special Session to Talk Education Funds.”

The full version of the story even has Rep. May muddying the waters about her intent:

May said that all costs associated with education funding should be considered. That includes the price tag of Common Core, which she said should be accounted for in the “crisis of the funding situation that we are facing in the state of South Dakota.”

“I’m not calling for the end of Common Core,” May said. “But I also am not going to allow them to ignore the fact that there is an expense involved in all of that” [“Legislators Call for Special Session to Talk Education Funds,” AP via KTIV-TV, 2015.07.12].

You are too calling for the end of Common Core, Rep. May. AP, you should not spin a different story. Rep. May has consistently called for the end of Common Core. The elimination of Common Core is an ideological issue, not a fiscal issue, since even May’s allies in fighting Common Core generally say they want to replace these K-12 education standards with other top-down standards, which will cost as much to teach and test and more to implement in the generation of new documents and textbooks and training sessions for teachers.

The easiest way to make Common Core a real fiscal issue would be to argue that we should lock the Common Core standards in place in perpetuity to end the costly policy churn that sees teachers having to digest shiny new standards every decade or so. But Rep. May and friends aren’t doing that, and the press should not pretend they are.

Update 08:25 CDT: But wait! My conservative friends send me the video of the Thursday, July 9 press conference in which Rep. May formally announced their push for a special session. View Part 1 and Part 2 (posted in thrilling vertical-phone layout by Florence Thompson) and decide for yourself what the focus of the special-session call is:

Rep. Elizabeth May:

  • “There’s plenty of data out there to show the vast amount of money does not lead to higher quality education.” If that statement signals any desire to fix funding, it’s an ominous signal for the folks paying attention to the free market and thinking we need to raise teacher pay.
  • “We know that there’s a high cost associated with Common Core Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessment, and we also know that those costs are going to be shifted to the local taxpayers.”

4 Responses to AP Misportrays Anti-Common Core Special Session Push as Funding Debate

  1. Deb Geelsdottir

    She’s not exactly a riveting speaker. And she is all CC all the time.

  2. Here is two key problems with Representative May’s quotes. In quote 1 the state is not spending a vast quantity of money. You will see your the quality of your education decline if you don’t have students going into teaching and many of your teachers leaving the state for more money. We have been getting good returns but can it last forever?
    In quote two she said the cost of common core is going to get passed down to the local taxpayer. Is she saying that the state is passing a mandate and then not funding it? Like Cory said just replacing Common Core with something else is not going to fix this problem?
    It seems to be hard to keep them focused on the real issue, raising teacher pay. Hopefully the task force can stay focused.

  3. Donald Pay

    I don’t understand the Common Core fetishists. Do they want no standards? Locally developed standards? State standards?

    No standards costs far more money in the long run. You pay in mismatches between districts and between grades and schools within districts. You can have local or state standards (we already do), but those also cost money to develop. They seem to continually contradict themselves, and the sad fact of the matter is they don’t really have a clue about anything.

    Now, the standardized tests are another matter. I’m not a fan of Smarter Balanced tests. Let’s just select one good test that’s simple to administer, is relatively cheap, takes a minimum of school time and evaluates student knowledge. Then let’s milk all the data we can out of it for cohort and longitudinal studies. Let’s don’t try to use it to evaluate teachers or schools. Let’s use it to see where student knowledge is weak and where our curriculum is weak, and determine how to improve both.

  4. One of Mr. Pay’s most sensible posts, that. I think these people got all on the wagon that the common cores are boogey men because one of these nutjobs misunderstood something they heard and then scared the rest of them into attacking some “cause” they think they can understand. I think it may have been Ms. Hubbel who stirred this all up because she sees boogey men everywhere she looks.