The Constitutionality of Common Core by Mike Porter

Contest entrant Mike Porter submitted this essay on the constitutionality of Common Core.

During 2013, Common Core has been a subject of growing interest among families, teachers, school boards, and politicians throughout the country. As states adopted these “minimum standards” called Common Core, a growing number of citizens are organizing in opposition to its structure and function. Utah is among a super majority of states who have adopted these standards and are moving forward to its implementation in our schools. Being an active parent in my children’s education and an informed participant in my civic duties, I wish to join the resistance in opposition to our states association with this organization.

Proponents for Common Core say it’s a set of standards that define the expectation of what students are supposed to learn. With these expectations parents and teachers will be able to guide their children through the learning process and prepare them for college and careers. Common Core advocates claim these standards are only expected outcomes, which in no way limit the options in curriculum. They profess the curriculum choices are still left up to the school system to decide.

Critics argue in part that standards should not be decided upon by outside or unknown sources but by parents, schools, districts, and school boards. Antagonists say the expected outcomes and standardized tests will dictate the subject matter and curriculum, thus limiting their choice and discretion of what is taught and the method of instruction. They are doubtful a small panel will be able to meet the needs of a diverse population in an ever changing environment. And lastly, their research shows evidence of collusion and corruption with individuals and corporations while the government dangles money to encourage states to accept this concatenation.

Thomas Jefferson did not believe in entangling ourselves with foreign alliances for reasons of maintaining our sovereignty, nor did he wish us to inherit problems from other lands. I believe this has application in the area of education as well. Alliances such as this limit our sovereignty as a state and people with regards to how we choose to best educate our children. No one program can possibly meet the needs of this vast land without dumbing down the educational process. The George W. Bush initiated program “No Child Left Behind” did just that, just ask a teacher.

The tenth amendment declares all powers not enumerated in the constitution were left to the states and the people. The federal government has been involved in education for many years, redistributing the States money (our money) as they see fit with nothing to show for it but a further decline in the quality of our children’s education. The republican platform has asserted that the federal government has no authority to entangle itself in education. The states and its people need to assert their right and responsibility as the proprietor for the education of their children.

Whether Common Core is a federal program or a private conglomerate it does not matter, the principle is the same. When power is centralized, corruption and abuse of power is enabled, efficiency is diminished and the needs of the individual citizens suffer. The founders believed in the principle of separation of powers. They believed societies functioned best when governance was administered at the lowest possible level. If public education is a function of government which it is in our society, it is best administered at the community level closest to the children being educated. Programs, problems, and solutions are best managed in the capable hands of the professionals directly involved: Parents, teachers, school boards, and districts working together to educate the students they love and care about.

Competition is a vital element of our free-market, capitalistic society; it promotes innovation, improvement, efficiency, and corrective action. It encourages abundance and competitive prices to more groups and classes of people when it is allowed to flourish. Competition should be allowed to thrive in the education of our children. By creating a single set of standards-implemented by a few, competition is stifled and our children will suffer, and our society will be diminished for generations.

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