Background: What started as a right-wing conspiracy theory has now taken hold of mainstream conservative media–the ludicrous idea that Common Core State Standards are an attempt by the federal government (some even claim the United Nations) to take authority away from states and local school districts, in order to create a nationalized curriculum.
The backlash to almost every education reform in America at least includes, if it’s not completely centered upon, a single question: “If teachers hate it, how can it be a good thing?” The rationale is that teachers are in the classroom every day, therefore they have expertise on all things education.
That line has been used in every major education debate across the country. In Florida, the contentious issues are teacher evaluations and standardized testing. In other states, the arguments may be around A-F school grading, teacher tenure, and third grade retention.
Does anyone else find it interesting, perhaps ironic, then that the mounting pressure on Common Core is NOT from teachers? That, actually, educators like Common Core?
The headlines from some conservative sources and other anti-Common Core advocacy groups use words like “federal-takeover” and “indoctrination,” while headlines from education blogs use the terms “embrace” and “welcome.”
And teacher support for Common Core makes perfect sense in light of the fact that standards are one reform area in which teachers truly are the experts. As a middle school language arts teacher, I can tell you I never had the experience of implementing a statewide accountability system, developing a value-added model, or changing the way districts negotiate union contracts; nor did I spend a decade researching the impact of such reforms. But I can tell you what I had daily experience in–teaching students according to standards.
By the anti-reformers logic, maybe we should be asking the opposite question in this case; if teachers want it, how can it be a bad thing?