Despite media reports that the Common Core standards are “dead” in South Carolina, grassroots parent activists charge that the controversial nationalized standards are “alive and well and we are kicking and screaming.”
WLTX.com reported Wednesday:
The South Carolina Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon to replace the Common Core Standards now being used in math and English, killing Common Core in the state. The board adopted new standards, written by teams of South Carolinians, which teachers will start using this fall.
“The media reports are dead wrong,” Sheri Few, president of South Carolina Parents Involved in Education (SCPIE), told Breitbart News. “By the state Education Oversight Committee’s (EOC) own admission, the ‘new’ replacement standards are 90 percent aligned with Common Core.”
The EOC report also provides as evidence for the need to adopt the Common Core over the old South Carolina standards, comparisons made by the pro-Common Core Fordham Institute, which has received funding from the Gates Foundation to promote the Common Core standards nationwide.
According to the report, Fordham gave South Carolina a grade of “D” on its old ELA standards, referring to them as “woefully vague and repetitive, despite some good content.”
Fordham gave South Carolina’s old math standards a grade of “C.”
“The standards neither prioritize nor support the arithmetic skills that students need and therefore fail to provide the guidance K-12 teachers need to truly prepare students for college mathematics,” Fordham noted.
No independent studies, however, have been performed to validate the claims that the Common Core standards are more “rigorous,” “higher,” “internationally benchmarked,” or making students “college- and career-ready.”
In a document entitled “South Carolina ELA and Math Standards: Common Core Once More,” published by SCPIE in January, Few’s organization cites the responses of standards’ experts to the initial draft of South Carolina’s new replacement standards.
Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who developed one of the nation’s strongest sets of K-12 academic standards in Massachusetts, said the “new” South Carolina English Language Arts (ELA) standards are “inadequate and non-assessable.” Stotsky said South Carolina’s old standards were superior to Common Core and the state’s replacement standards.
Regarding the replacement math standards, Dr. James Milgram, professor mathematics at Stanford University, said, “They are not, exactly, deficient. What they are is blindingly ignorant.”
While Milgram noted the basic outline of the “new” standards is “significantly superior to Common Core,” nevertheless “the details are filled with problems, including outright errors, misunderstandings, and improper preparation for the individual standards.”
Similarly, Ze’ev Wurman, former senior policy adviser in the U.S. Department of Education under President George W. Bush, said of the “new” South Carolina standards: “Bottom line, K-8 are essentially badly rewritten Common Core with a few minor and inconsequential changes. 9-12 is augmented and almost-decent set of standards that is in need of serious language cleanup for clarity.”
Few states that while some changes were made to the first draft of the new standards, the new standards “are still developmentally inappropriate for the early grades, still emphasize informational text over classic literature, and still teach the multiple methods to solve math problems, a.k.a. crazy math.”
“There is a huge disconnect between parents and taxpayers and the educators of our state,” Few said. “This is the saddest part of all of this. Parents have no say in their children’s education.”
Emmett McGroarty, education director of American Principles Project, observed the relationship between the U.S. Department of Education and the governors – the state executives – is serving to keep state legislatures and parents out of the education decision-making process.
“Citizens are now acutely aware that education policy-making is dysfunctional because large swaths of it are the product of decision-making by two executive branches –federal and state,” he told Breitbart News. “They understand that state legislatures have been cut out of the process, or have otherwise simply abdicated their constitutional role.”
“In 2009, the Common Core owners convinced the U.S. Department of Education to drive the standards into the states through a carrot-and-stick approach,” McGroarty continued. “In state after state, the state departments and boards of education, which are executive branch agencies, adopted the Common Core despite their demonstrably inferior quality. They did so because their institutional focus is on courting the favor of the federal government, the entity that provides conditional money.”
Jane Robbins, senior education fellow at APP, also commented to Breitbart News on the necessity of having educated state lawmakers.
“What happened in South Carolina is similar to what has happened elsewhere — legislators and other oversight groups rely on executive branch ‘objective experts’ who are neither objective nor expert,” Robbins said. “These executive branch officials push the federal government’s progressive agenda, because that’s whom they’re answering to. Legislators must start researching these issues for themselves to get at the truth. The parents who have been investigating all this for years can be a valuable resource — if anyone will listen to them.”
Few said her group is not giving up.
“We will find new and innovative ways to expose the truth,” she said. “Like many other leaders who are fighting Common Core in their states, we are faced with the need for civil disobedience and we are prepared to act.”