Surry GOP opposes Common Core

By John Peters

January 15, 2014

To the Editor,

The Executive Committee of the Surry County Republican Party met in open session on Thursday, Jan. 2, and unanimously adopted a resolution in opposition to the Common Core State Education Standards.

While the intent of this national initiative may be to establish consistent academic standards and have America’s children competitively skilled in a global economy, Common Core cedes control of education to national entities and away from local/state systems. We believe that high academic standards and rigorous assessment are important but do not believe that Common Core is yet proven to be uniformly rigorous or internationally benchmarked.

How long will it be before this nationally-driven Common Core initiative will standardize content and textbooks, with subtle political or social indoctrination? How long will it be before local school boards, administrators, and teachers lose complete control over what is being taught in our schools? A one-size-fits-all type of education driven by Washington bureaucrats is an ugly prospect.

In addition, we are unsure if safeguards are in place to prevent extensive, unauthorized data mining of private student information. Our investigation reveals that Common Core is largely the product of two professional trade associations and will require a massive and costly overhaul of public education. Projected costs in North Carolina may be as much as $525 million over seven years.

All that we can see suggests that Common Core has not been properly vetted. It was, in our view, hastily adopted and swept into our schools, in part, by the lure of grants through the Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” stimulus funds. We know that many teachers and parents have registered grave concerns. At least four states chose not to adopt Common Core: Alaska, Virginia, Texas, and Nebraska. Other states have pushed the “pause button” or pulled out of Common Core assessment tests, e.g. Florida, Indiana, and Louisiana.

We extend our appreciation to the faculty, administrators, and the Board of Education for all that is done, often with limited resources, to promote quality education and good schools in Surry County. The hard work and achievement that we see does not go unnoticed. We pledge our support for continuing improvement.

Gary Carson Tilley, Ed.D.

Chairman Surry County Republican Party