Opposing Common Core
I vehemently oppose Common Core because of the inherent destructive nature of a test-driven education. The Common Core philosophy has flopped in China where they had a national curriculum, national common assessments, extreme high-stakes testing, and national control over what is taught on the secular and spiritual level. Their system may have won the testing game on the international level in 2010, but it utterly flopped in the human resource department. Their test-centered approach to education systematically killed the creativity and innovation of their own people. China was forced to admit this because their country of 1.3 billion people, all educated in the same way, quite obviously was not producing proportional numbers of creative types like the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs...one of the main employers of the top test-takers in China. The Chinese were puzzled by the fact that the United States, historically, has not done very well on comparative, international tests, yet they lead the world, by a long shot, in the areas of patents, business enterprises, technological advances, military weaponry, entrepreneurs, GDP, etc. The creativity gap isn't even close. Those who find themselves tingly over the concepts of Common Core seem to be content and intent to learn nothing from the Chinese experience. I find this to be shocking when educated-types take such a blind stance toward extremely relevant facts...it completely undermines their credibility.
How does Common Core kill creativity?
Those involved in any way in education within the last 10 years saw the destructive forces of high-stakes testing as it naturally tried to impose it's will upon the education world in the form of dropped electives in order to accommodate extra classes designed for test prep...wow, that was a long sentence. Those in power felt the backlash. When test scores become the primary focus, it is natural to think that everything else needs to be dropped. That's what China did. They got rid of recess and play, extracurricular activities were discouraged in order for students to study after school, and intellectual freedom and dissent were forbidden--both by teachers and students. In fact, the dissenters were removed from society--there went a great majority of their creative, innovative, divergent entrepreneurs of their future. (We follow this same pattern when we don't create ways for students to pursue career technical opportunities at their own local high schools. At one of the most important times in their lives, we lose the divergent types who aren't interested in college.) The very things the Chinese educational experts thought were unimportant in terms of producing high test scores, turned out to actually be the cornerstones of creativity. If leaders cannot understand how Common Core Kills Creativity, they either are not paying attention, or worse, they have a hidden agenda. I hope they aren't paying attention...I can fix that.
Confirmed on the Campaign Trail...
While out campaigning, talking, and begging for petition signatures, I came across a couple that was very interested in education. They would not "just sign" my petition form, they wanted to know what I stood for, and why. While the 30 minutes I spend with these kinds of voters may seem like time wasted when I could have gotten 30 signatures from low-information, compliant voters, I enjoy talking to people about education, so I always leap at the opportunity to launch into a stump speech. I mentioned to this couple that one of the things I opposed was high-stakes testing for the purpose of comparative data. I explained the Chinese dilemma with testing and the resulting lack of creativity across the board within their country. I explained how China was looking to us on how to create innovators, yet the United States was looking to China on how to become better test takers. At this point in my stump speech, one of them stopped me and said she would sign my petition. She explained that they were both engineers in a very large firm, and they hire many Asians in their company. They are all very skilled at the technical side of the work, but they cannot think outside of the box...they are not very strong in the areas of creativity and innovation. Now, mind you, these aren't my words...these are words from the unsuspecting, voting public. I may have only garnered two signatures during that 30-minute time slot, but those two signatures meant oh so very much to me...my content was confirmed on the campaign trail.
In conclusion, I believe in teachers having standards to follow...especially standards that include elements of critical thinking. I don’t believe in common standards set by the national government, or philanthropists, or a proxy national groups like the National Governors' Association. I also don't believe in standards monitored by high-stakes testing. What kind of testing do I believe in? I believe in diagnostic testing designed to find out what students need help, and what do these students need help with. I find little use for comparative data, unless, of course, you want to compare what really matters, the end results of education--jobs, patents, standard of living, compassionate giving, healthcare innovations and discoveries, business enterprises, military strength, freedom, and all other sorts of analytics that are relevant to a strong, healthy society.