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Opinion

April 4, 2014

In Your Opinion: Board is right to challenge Common Core

Congratulations to the Morris Central School Board for adopting a groundbreaking resolution opposing privatization of curriculum, testing and record-keeping in our schools! 

Morris’ resolution addresses mandated curriculum changes as a result of Race to the Top funding from the federal government, itself a flagrant incursion into states’ authority over education. 

Recent turmoil over implementation of new curriculum and testing protocols (the Common Core), sprung on our schools hastily with almost no prior consultation, has left schools around the country struggling with over-reliance on constant stressful testing of children, especially the youngest, and ever-increasing materials costs, plus an overwhelming amount of paperwork. Control has been shifted to private companies that design tests and would like to keep your child’s data stored in cyberspace, then sell it back to you. 

A deeper look into how this came to be reveals that the state Board of Regents engaged “Regents Fellows” (almost all with no education background) in recent years. They were delegated various curriculum and test-design tasks that have been quietly implemented without the public clearly understanding impacts. 

Morris’ resolution challenges the entire process — the lack of transparency plus ceding control to private entities that make more money by charging more for materials, encouraging school privatization, spending less on teacher salaries and training, and using publicly funded vouchers to send students to private schools. Education is a multibillion-dollar industry. 

Studies show across the country charter schools do not perform as well as our public education system. Meanwhile, our schools are suffering. More districts should resolve, like Morris, that “power over curriculum, testing and personal data ... be returned to collaboration between highly trained professionals of the (state) Education Department and local school boards.” More citizens — especially parents — need to speak out loudly against the pillaging of public education. 

Paddy Lane

Morris

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