American-Principal-Project---frontSC Adopted Common Core in 2010 to increase competitiveness for Federal Race to Top Funds

The Greer community got its first “fair and balanced” look at the controversial Common Core education standards in South Carolina during a recent forum.

A forum was held at Greer High School sponsored by Senator Tom Corbin and State Representatives Mike Burns and Dwight Loftis in response to requests and questions from constituents.

The Common Core initiative was defended during the forum by the president of the South Carolina Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, the NEA. Union membership is optional since South Carolina is a Right to Work State.

Representatives of South Carolina Parents Involved in Education  (PIE) presented the opposition points to the standards and former Blue Ridge High School Principal Kenneth Southerlin served as moderator for the forum.

Each side was allowed 30 minutes to present their information and one hour was allowed for questions written on cards and submitted by members of the audience.

Several hundred people were in attendance including a group of teachers from Greer High School huddled on the back rows of the auditorium accompanied by their principal and Pam Mills, Legislative Liaison for the School District of Greenville County.

Other elected officials in attendance included Pat Sudduth, District 18 member of the Greenville County School District, Tommy Stringer, District 18 member of the South Carolina House, SC Rep. Bill Chumley, Joe Baldwin, District 18 member of Greenville County Council and Joe Dill, District 17 member of Greenville County Council.

The South Carolina School Boards Association has developed and released a pamphlet of talking points that are intended to alleviate concerns about the implementation of Common Core in South Carolina. The SCEA representative, during her 30-minute presentation at Greer High School Thursday night, used these talking points.

Sherry Few and SCPIE released a document refuting many of the statements made in the School Boards Association document. Comments made in opposition to Common Core tracked with that document.

Who approved Common Core for South Carolina?

The South Carolina Board of Education and Education Oversight Committee, both appointed by the Governor and Legislature, approved Common Core along with Governor Mark Sanford. Their rationale for approval was “to increase competitiveness for Federal Race to the Top Funds during a time of deep recession. A state that refused to adopt Common Core and the aligned assessment lost 70 points in the Race to the Top competition (out of 485 possible points).

The educator’s talking points imply that Common Core Standards Initiative is a state led effort coordinated by the National Governor’s Association.

SCPIE disagrees with that statement. They state that “Common Core is an attempt by D. C. special interest groups and the federal government to herd children into one-size-fits-all national standards. States were coerced by the federal government into adopting the Standards resulting in an illegal federal takeover of education. The Common Core Standards have never been field-tested; were approved without a cost analysis; remove parental and local control; contain academically inferior content; include massive unfunded mandates and will lead to significant threats to student and family privacy.”

SCPIE points out that more than 20 states have “legislation pending to repeal Common Core.”

Although individual teachers will complain privately about the federal standards, virtually everyone in the public education establishment and NGOs and individuals feeding at the education trough quietly support Common Core Standards because of the potential financial rewards and the fact that they can blame any problems on the State Board of Education and the Legislature.

PIE has outlined solutions to Common Core and opponents are following the plan.

“Common Core must be repealed through the South Carolina General Assembly in 2014, but repealing Common Core is only the first step toward reviving education in South Carolina. The repeal victory will be the catalyst for meaningful reform that gets government out of the way and lets teachers teach; reform that will usher in objective, classical education for South Carolina students. South Carolina Parents Involved in Education will help lead a return to education principles that worked in this country for over a century, prior to federal government involvement, when American education was the envy of the world.”

South Carolina Senate Bill S 300 is a bill to repeal Common Core. For more information about problems with Common Core, check the SCPIE website at www.SCPIE.ORG.

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