Some on the left feel like they aren’t as effective as the right in fighting the Common Core Conflict. My belief, is that their most powerful weapon has the safety stuck on and it isn’t firing. Unfortunately, the safety is stuck pretty tight and it’s going to be hard to free it.
Many think parents are powerful forces against the Common Core and we do make huge difference. Parents only have power in numbers and growing these numbers is not as easy as it should be. Consider the following conversation I had with a parent.
Me:Have you seen the new Common Core Standards? I’m shocked Indiana abandoned superior standards for an untested set of national standards that our state does not control.
Parent X: What are you talking about? I’ve never heard of the Common Core.
Me: The school is following new national standards written by beauracrats in Washington DC. The school has cut creative literature by 50% in English class and the kids are doing fuzzy math.
Parent X: Is that what that math is? It is horrible, my kids hate it and we have crying every night at homework. It’s so vague, they don’t know what to do.
Me: Yes, that’s it. Here are some interesting articles written by mathematicians and leading English language arts experts for you to read. Would you help us talk to the school about it or join us at the Statehouse to fight against it?
Parent X: Yes, this is ridiculous. I will definitely talk to the teacher.
THE NEXT DAY
Me: Hey, did you read the articles or talk to the kids teachers? Do you want to help us fight Common Core?
Parent X: No, my teacher said Common Core is OK. They’re fewer, clearer and deeper. Here’s your copies back, I didn’t have time to read them.
That is how it goes. People believe their child’s teacher and they should be able to do so, they are the expert. What many parents don’t recognize is that teachers are bound to silence, sometimes through a contractual agreement. While the parent was conferencing with the teacher about Common Core, the school administrator was probably in the hallway, like a bully from an After School Special, staring her down into silence.
I’m looking for fearless teachers who would handle the conference like this: You’re right, I don’t like these standards. Are you aware the Common Core lead math writer, Jason Simba, said they only prepare students for a two-year non-selective college, not a four year university? I’m having a really difficult time interpreting them and there are a lot of holes. I’m afraid kids are missing out on important aspects in math and the loss of creative literature is a crying shame. Really, Parent X, it’s not about creating intelligent kids for the 21st century it about supplying a workforce. I suggest you supplement at home.
Parents would go nuts and every legislator would be supporting anti-common core legislation. If the left leaning groups could rally their teachers to speak out and tell parents the truth, it would be game over. The right has a secret weapon as well, it’s parents. We are powerful because the only dog we have in this fight is our children. We aren’t protecting a corporate interest, a union, an administration or any other self-interested group. We fight with heart and it speaks to people. Unlike teachers, the school principal can’t fire us and put us in jeopardy of losing our mortgages and therefore, I understand teachers’ restraint.
As parents and parties interested in stopping Common Core, for whatever reasons, we need to find a way for teachers opposed to the Common Core to speak without fear. I am open to any suggestions.
The mothers and the teachers can finish this fight, they’re the only ones with soldiers actually in the field and the ones who will take the casualties.