For the most part I have been an agnostic about whether Indiana should stay in or opt out of Common Core.
For those of you who don’t wear tinfoil hats or are waiting for the black helicopters to come by your house or for that matter just have a life, Common Core is a set of national standards designed by educators and other professionals to come up with a way to measure student performance across the country.
For example, how does a middle school in DeKalb County, Ind., compare with one in DeKalb County, Ill., or DeKalb County, Ga., for that matter? Under the old system, it would be hard to tell because an eighth-grader taking a pre-algebra class might be getting three different types of instruction. With Common Core you don’t necessarily get a homogenized system of learning, but you do get metrics and measures that would allow you to better compare how those students are learning.
Now this is the point where the conspiracy theorists come flying out of the woodwork calling Common Core “a massive takeover of local education by the federal government” or some other such rhetoric. The other grand conspiracy is that this is a move by education textbook publishers to control the curriculum and in turn, sell school districts more books.
Now, granted, I will not sit here and write that there is no possibility that there is someone out there with ulterior motives that may not be in the best interests of children pushing these national standards, but, heck, you can get that with any school board election.
Here is why Common Core makes sense to me at this point. I am all for local control of education, to a point. However, the days when a kid just graduated from high school and jaunted off to college, got a four-year degree and then went off to work are disappearing and getting a lot more complicated.
Hoosier students are competing for seats with students from out of state; and if someone from Indianapolis or Evansville attends school out of state, then they are the competition for the local kids. This matters because the ACT and SAT (you remember those standardized exams) are in the process of — guess what — adopting their exams to reflect Common Core. You see where this going?
So, if your state opts out of Common Core, which the states have the perfect right to do, that state puts its college-bound student populations at risk, both at home and away, because if colleges and universities are using standardized test scores from the ACT and SAT as part of their admission standards, and those exams are incorporating the Common Core curriculum as part of their testing, do you really want your college-bound kid to be at that kind of disadvantage? If so, I recommend you don’t turn his or her bedroom into your office or den just yet.
Common Core is not this horrible, evil, New World Order, Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations plot to turn the children of the world into mindless automatons for the Rothschilds and Bilderbergers. It is simply a way to better track student performance. Is it perfect? Not by any means. But if Indiana opts out of it, the end result in the long term won’t be pretty.
Abdul -Hakim Shabazz is an attorney and the editor and publisher of IndyPoltics.Org. He is also a frequent contributor to numerous Indiana media outlets. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.