OKLAHOMA CITY (October 10, 2011) – State Rep. Sally Kern said today that lawmakers should oppose adoption of “common core” academic standards to prevent greater federal encroachment into state issues.
“The federal government has a horrible record of managing programs on the federal level yet many conservatives, in their rush to reform education, now think that putting the federal government in charge of education will improve it,” said Kern, an Oklahoma City Republican who is a former public school teacher. “Two key Republican principles are local control and limited government. Now we want to turn education over to the federal government to establish common core standards that will have to be followed 100 percent. Supporters note the federal government will allow states to add 15 percent of their own standards to meet our state’s needs. How gracious of them to give us a whole 15 percent. Would Oklahomans be thrilled if the federal government allowed us to only keep 15 percent of the money we earn? I don’t think so.”
Kern recently led a study examining potential adoption of “common core” standards. At that meeting, Lindsey M. Burke, senior policy analyst for education at the Heritage Foundation, urged lawmakers to oppose the federal standards.
“While many experts now examine the federal track record on education and conclude that decentralization – not further federal control – is more likely to improve outcomes, the Obama administration has not concluded that the federal role in education has failed,” Burke said in a prepared statement. “Instead of supporting states as laboratories of reform, the administration has coerced states into the standardization of content, pushing a one-size-fits-all approach to standards and tests.”
She warned lawmakers that the proposed “common core” standards are not rigorous, particularly in the area of mathematics.
Jennie White, president of Restore Oklahoma Public Education, also urged lawmakers to reject the standards, saying they would effectively direct curriculum choices in all state schools.
White also predicted implementation of the standards would have significant associated costs for the state. According to studies she cited, the projected unfunded cost to California is projected to be $1.6 billion, Washington state is expected to spend an additional $2.1 million, and Missouri may reportedly have to spend $750 million. White said Texas rejected adopting the standards due in part to an associated estimated cost of up to $3 billion.
Kern said the study demonstrates that Oklahoma should not adopt the national education standards.
“I am puzzled that our Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction and many Oklahoma Republican state representatives are against Obama Care but seem to have no problem with Obama education,” Kern said. “Both are a tremendous overreach of the federal government.
“One of my presenters was a policy analyst with Heritage Foundation. The Heritage Foundation is the premier conservative organization in America. Yet, our state superintendent called into question this group’s integrity by saying their presentation contained misinformation. The Heritage Foundation did not get to the prestigious status they have today by putting forth misinformation. I have asked Dr. Barresi to respond in a week with documentation showing where my presenters gave misinformation.”