The notably conservative Siouxland Republican Women are hosting a panel discussion on the Common Core education standards this evening in Sioux Falls (7 p.m., Good Samaritan Jerstad Center, admission $5 for members, $10 for the rest of us).
The meeting promises to be lively enough that the organizers have decided not to take questions from the floor. They want to focus on the three-on-three battle royale that seems likely to erupt. Defending Common Core will be South Dakota Secretary of Education Melody Schopp, former Ed Sec and now paid Common Core consultant Rick Melmer, and Republican State Senator Phyllis Heineman (R-12/Sioux Falls). On the attack will be Senator Ernie Otten (R-6/Tea), Rep. Jim Bolin (R-16/Canton), and a visitor from Iowa, blogger and consultant Shane Vander Hart.
With almost everyone in the room a conservative Republican, perhaps Vander Hart will want to have handy his six reasons conservatives should oppose Common Core:
- There is nothing conservative about centralizing education around a set of common standards.
- Conservatives object to the process in which they were adopted which allowed for little to no public debate, cut out the legislative process, and was introduced via the backdoor which cut out “We the People.”
- While perhaps the intent was not to have hyper-federal involvement, but the fact remains it does which violates the constitution and Federal law.
- Conservatives typically don’t approve of student privacy being violated by data mining which will be fostered through the assessment consortiums.
- They simply are not rigorous, they are mediocre and the embrace of the Common Core represents a collective race to the middle.
- They are costly and states adopted the Common Core and entered into assessment consortium without having a handle on the costs. Is this good fiscal discipline? [Shane Vander Hart, "Six Reasons Why Conservatives (Should) Object to the Common Core," Caffeinated Thoughts, 2013.04.04]
#2 is somewhat irrelevant, because the typical person in the street would rather watch grass grow than sit through endless meetings on make-work "reform", and legislative meddling in what your teachers teach is as offensive and counterproductive in Pierre as in Washington. #3 is hyperbole, and #4 is meaningless to any parent who allows his or her child to use Facebook or a cell phone.
But if we're looking for common ground against Common Core (of course we are! we're all in this together, right, Ernie?), #1, #5, and #6 work for me. We're paying higher costs for less quality and less control.
Vander Hart has previously dismissed Secretary Schopp as a propagandist. Folks, if you have ten bucks and a notepad (or a camera!), I'd love to hear your impression of how Schopp and friends respond to such criticism of their non-conservative defense of Common Core tonight in Sioux Falls.