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Common Core in Tennessee and Colorado: Lipstick On A Pig?

Common Core in Tennessee and Colorado: Lipstick On A Pig?

When Republican and Democrat Governors Bill Haslam (R-TN) and John Hickenlooper (D-CO) got together with the Denver Chamber of Commerce in Nashville Friday, the discussion turned to the idea that it does not matter what states call their “high” and “rigorous” standards, even if those standards are the Common Core.

Parent activist groups across the country have grown accustomed to the language of nervous politicians around the issue of the “radioactive” Common Core standards. Governors of both parties have engaged in the smoke and mirrors trick of changing the name of the controversial Common Core standards to one with more “local flavor,” while the standards themselves get a few trivial tweaks with the hope of passing public muster.

As the Tennessean reports, Haslam said the fight over academic standards in his state should not be about what they are called, but whether they are rigorous enough to help students.

“For me, it shouldn’t be about the name and what we call it, the battle should be about: Are we going to have high standards or not and what exactly should those standards be?” Haslam said.

As Breitbart News reported in September, though Haslam has shown support for the Common Core standards, joining with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Tennessee U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) in March for an education roundtable sponsored by the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he and the state’s chief education officials quietly quit the federally-funded PARCC Common Core multi-state test consortium in June. That decision came after Haslam signed a bill that requires the state to use its current assessment, the TCAP, this school year and to issue a request for proposals for a new test to be administered next year.

Additionally, as reported, Haslam intends to have a “full vetting” of the Common Core in the next legislative session.

“His latest comments seem to suggest that he’s not necessarily opposed to scrapping the name, at least, so long as the standards are robust,” says the Tennessean, however, about Haslam.

“Obviously, we’ve been having a statewide conversation and we’re going to continue to,” said Haslam, who is up for re-election in November. “My point would be: Let’s start with what we agree on. Hopefully, everybody agrees on high standards and more rigor.”

However, “rigor” is one of the key talking points presented by Common Core proponents, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who continually describe the nationalized standards as “rigorous,” despite the fact that there have been no independent studies to validate that claim.

Hickenlooper, who is in a tough re-election bid in Colorado, has moved ahead with Common Core despite significant criticism.

“Ours is called Colorado Core,” Hickenlooper told Chamber of Commerce members from Denver and Nashville. “We suggested and made it our own standards. The key as Bill [Haslam] said, is high standards.”

Kevin Kookogey, president and founder of Linchpins of Liberty, an educational leadership development group, has been fighting Common Core in Tennessee since 2009. The Heritage Foundation Associate told Breitbart News, “So how do they convince people to drink poison?”

“They don’t bring it into town on a big poison wagon. More often it is transported in a big medicine truck as a cure for all,” he continued. “They package the poison in a container and slap a sticker on it that reads “Medicine.”

“The naive refuse to look beyond the sticker, allowing the antagonists to advance their argument to the next phase,” Kookogey continued, “which is ‘either you are for medicine or you are against medicine’- deliberately obscuring the fact that what has been labeled medicine is, in fact, poison, cloaked in a medicine jar.”

Fort Collins, Colorado parent Cheri Kiesecker told Breitbart News that Hickenlooper has lost touch with parents and teachers in her state.

“According to recent polls, most people oppose Common Core,” Kiesecker said. “That number will rise as awareness of Common Core and its mandated testing grows. Parents don’t like the over-testing and the data mining that comes with Common Core.

“Business owners would be wise to look into Common Core further and find it is not internationally competitive; students will leave high school about two years behind their international counterparts, requiring more remedial studies to get into college,” Kiesecker added. “Parents and teachers were not asked if they wanted Common Core, or the data mining associated, or, in Colorado, the PARCC test that puts so much pressure on teachers to teach to it.” 

“Gov. Hickenlooper should be aware that simply changing the name of the standards to ‘Colorado Core’ doesn’t change the fact that Common Core is an unproven, unfunded reform that is hurting our kids,” she said. “Let parents decide what is best for their children; we don’t want someone deciding if our children can go to college – that’s our choice – not the government’s.”


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