Common Core Dissent: You Have No Right to Disagree if You Aren’t an ‘Expert’
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The exchange of ideas and opinions make for a lively debate. Imperative in a debate is the use of factual information and evidence to support your argument. That’s the primary reason authentic debate cannot happen with many CCSS supporters. They rely on talking points since they don’t have research/data to back up their claims. It is difficult to debate them as they make the underlying assumption that they have the authority to set national standards for all American citizens. When asked where that authority is granted legally, you never receive an answer. The argument then moves to the ‘tell me why they aren’t academically appropriate’.
It is useless and pointless to argue if they are academically superior since they were adopted and implemented without a legislative or taxpayer vote. That’s the main issue to determine before any serious debate can occur about CCSS. The CCSS are mandates. In Missouri, the standards are not statute and in fact, the adoption/implementation violated several state statutes. Think of the CCSS as a federal stimulus program that will be unfunded as of September 2014.
When you give them the facts of the Initiative:
- that it’s not ‘just standards’ (it includes the data systems, teacher evals and turnaround school models)
- it circumvented the political process and delivers the educational development/direction for public education into private control with no accountability
- that the standards cannot be modified (look in the Federal Register)
- that college preparation via CCSS only is good for 2 year college admission
- the standards are now not ‘higher’; they are the floor
- they in fact are not internationally benchmarked
they then resort to attacking their opponents’ expertise and right to dissent. This is an error in debating. From Basic Debating Techniques:
1. Logic – to say that the other side is wrong is not enough. You have to show why the other side is wrong. This is best done by taking a main point of the other side’s argument and showing that it does not make sense. Because a lot of the thinking for this needs to be done quickly this is one of the most challenging and enjoyable aspects of debating.
2. Pick the important points – try to rebut the most important points of the other side’s case. You will find that after a while these are easier and easier to spot. One obvious spot to find them is when the first speaker of the other team outlines briefly what the rest of the team will say. But do not rebut those points until after they have actually been presented by the other team.
3. `Play the ball’ – do not criticise the individual speakers, criticise what they say. To call someone fat, ugly or a nerd does not make what they say wrong and it will also lose you marks.
An example of number 3 played out on twitter with some CCSS supporters when they ‘played the ball’. When all else failed and they had no valid arguments and evidence, they asked those following the #stopcommoncore twitter hashtag to read The Death of Expertise. Do you think it says what I think it says? Is it implied by these CCSS supporters that those opposed to common core are using sanctimonious arguments against the initiative and we have no right to question this private takeover of public education?
I’m making the assumption that this article was provided to the #stopcommoncore folks to let them know that as a layman, your political analysis, has far less value, and probably isn’t-indeed, almost certainly isn’t-as good as you think it is. How kind and thoughtful to let us know that we can’t read government, CCSSO, NGA documents and understand what the Common Core State Standards Initiative entails: common set of standards, teacher evals, turnaround school mandates and data systems tracking students and teachers. We apparently can’t decipher RTTT proposals, track the grants to states/districts for Federal programs which are circumventing the state legislatures and state agencies, etc. We are horribly misinformed by our interpretation of these documents and our political analysis is not as good as we think it is.
There is the assumption that we have foregone our basic obligation to actually learn how to govern ourselves, we have fragile egos so the experts have run things by default. I would propose that we have had the power to govern ourselves (our school districts) taken away (without our consent) by an ever increasing use of mandates and regulations on both the state and Federal level. Just how sanctimonious is it for these supporters to use this article to tell us how misinformed we are and we have no right for dissent?
We still haven’t seen any research produced showing the standards will produce the desired outcomes and we wonder why the original claims of the standards being internationally benchmarked, and “higher and rigorous” have been withdrawn. We wonder why CCSS math only prepares students for 2 year colleges if we need to fill STEM jobs with American students. (Could it be that those STEM jobs are really not high paying jobs of scientists and engineers?) We scratch our heads and ask why public education is now delivered to private organizations without a legislative or citizen vote and no accountability to those parties even as they are using taxpayer money. We receive no answers to these valid concerns and solid political analysis.
But according to the supporters, we don’t have the standing to question the ‘experts’. I guess it depends on what your definition of ‘expert’ is and who gets chosen to be on the ‘expert’ panel. If I’m not an expert on CCSS, then neither is David Coleman, the chief architect of Common Core standards:
This is what many Common Core supporters think about your concerns. It is an irritant to them that you question what/how your children learn and how your government is creating public/private partnerships that take away any control on the state/district level but which you are compelled to pay for. These elitists believe you have no standing on which to base your arguments and they really aren’t interested in what you have to say.
It’s a great educational reform movement, isn’t it? Aren’t you impressed with those who believe you have no right to dissent because you just aren’t an ‘expert’? It’s an invalid reform and when supporters have to resort to ‘play the ball’ to marginalize the opponents because they have no research/data to support their claims, it’s time to trash this public/private partnership of public education.