AUDIO: Both Sides of the Common Core Debate

Aaron Flint posted on April 11, 2013 15:46 :: 1587 Views

Concerns over Common Core education standards have been on the uptick both in the blogosphere and on the airwaves.  I know a lot of folks have been calling in to our statewide radio talk show, Voices of Montana, with their concerns.  The issue even came up during a hearing in the Montana Legislature regarding a major school funding bill.  Of course that all raises the question- just what is Common Core?  Is this just another dictate from the federal government?  And, what is all this talk of “data mining?”  

Well, I’ve had the chance to chat with folks from both sides of the debate.  Earlier this week on our talk show, I spoke with Barbara Rush, a retired Helena school teacher, and Gina Satterfield, a concerned mother of two kids in the Montana public school system.  They both expressed deep reservations about Common Core.  Click here to listen to audio as they joined us on the show.  In fact, they’ve started a petition against Common Core and can be reached at   

Then, on Thursday’s show, I featured an interview with Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau (D-MT) who supports Common Core.  Click here to listen to audio of Superintendent Juneau on the show.   

As a side note- I also got Superintendent Juneau’s take earlier this week on SB 175, the major school funding bill by State Sen. Llew Jones (R-Conrad).  How is the bill faring, and how would the ruckus in the Montana State Senate last Friday impact any potential Dem-GOP compromise as we head into the waning days of the legislature.  Click below to hear what she had to say: 

Click to Listen

Now, back to Common Core.  Aside from listening to the full audio with both sides of the debate, what’s the story?  

First, I give you this excerpt from a liberal magazineMother Jones: 

Lawmakers in 18 states have considered legislation to block the implementation of the curriculum standards. Five—Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia—have successfully rejected or partially rejected Common Core. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell reiterated his opposition to Common Core in late March, just one week after Texas Gov. Rick Perry went on Beck’s program to denounce it.

According to its critics, the most nefarious consequence of Common Core is a data collection program that’s part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus). The idea is to better track student demographic and achievement data to figure out what’s working and what’s not, and respond accordingly. Some of the biggest names in American politics and business support the idea. In 2011, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation teamed up with the Carnegie Foundation and an educational subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. to develop a database of student data that states can access for free until 2015. (After that it will charge an annual fee.) At a speech at the White House last November, Shawn T. Bay, CEO of the education data company eScholar, called Common Core “the glue that actually ties everything together” in the Department of Education’s Big Data push.

The conservative Heritage Foundation also pointed out how The Washington Post took note of Indiana’s effort to hit the pause button on Common Core. 

The more Orwellian sounding rhetoric opposing Common Core has come from national talk show host Glenn Beck, who says Common Core will also equate to more “data mining” of our nation’s students. 

Lindsey Burke had this for National Review Online:

Washington is financing the two national testing consortia that are creating the Common Core assessments. Lawmakers have tied $4.35 billion in Race to the Top grants to the adoption of standards similar to those found in a significant number of states, and they’ve made the adoption of Common Core a major factor in securing a No Child Left Behind waiver. And now, they have established a technical-review panel to work with the testing consortia on item design and validation.

Concerns about nationalizing the content taught in every public school in America aren’t limited to “tea-party activists,” as Kathleen Porter-Magee and Sol Stern implied on NRO last week. Nor should the concerns of the Tea Party be dismissed. They express the understandable fear of many moms and dads and teachers that the federal government is on the brink of dictating the content taught in every school. Their concerns are echoed by a wide array of groups and citizens, including academics, members of state boards of education, residents of local school districts, and analysts at public-policy foundations.


Thursday, April 25, 2013 9:33 PM

Uh, okay chief…Common Core is just a set of curriculum standards. Your state has curriculum standards already. Anyone is free to read them. Like No Child Left Behind, it’s an answer to the concerns expressed over the last three decades about the eroded academic quality of American children.

No one cares where you go to church, how you voted or what is your medical history. They care about where your child is weak in reading and math, and how to go about fixing those weaknesses. The federal government has been collecting data about students since the 1970s. It started as a consequence of the civil rights movement.

Just kidding. It’s a plot by shape-shifting lizard men that run the Shadow Government to send your kids to FEMA death camps. Once they got us off the gold standard, they knew it was only a matter of time before we were all being reprogrammed in concentration camps while our place was taken by godless Muslim communist illegal immigrant evolutionists.

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