Wisconsin's State Superintendent of Schools, Tony Evers, misrepresents the effect of Common Core Standards through his recent press release, "Higher standards: The right direction for students."

Evers promises parents that the implementation of Common Core State Standards will "ready [students] for on-the-job training, an apprenticeship, or coursework at a college or university." Numerous educational experts have identified specific weaknesses in CCSS which will render students unprepared for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM courses) at the college level.

Preparation for on-the-job training or an apprenticeship requires students to be skilled in basic math. Because the Common Core Curriculum has returned to the futile discovery and inquiry methods of instruction used in "New Math" or "Modern Math" which failed our children in the 1960s and 1970s, the re-implementation of these methods is once again confusing and frustrating parents and students.

Evers claims that Common Core will assure consistent educational experiences for transient American students. CCSS does not solve this problem. For example: districts may choose from a long list of reading materials for literature classes. Therefore, a student in Wisconsin may be required to read Hamlet, but students from another state may not. Or, a student from Wisconsin may read Hamlet in the fall, move to another state, and be required to read the drama again. Common Core does not have a limited required reading list for each semester. Mobile students are just as likely to miss a concept or to repeat a concept as they have always been.

The notion that a nationalized curriculum will better prepare students for the work force is a fallacy. Germany, Russia, Korea, and Japan have had national curriculums for generations and their economies have suffered. Granted, their students test better than do American students, but their economies underperform that of America.

National curriculums historically fail students and economies because competition and creativity are stripped from the educational system. Teachers are forced to teach the same information to all students at the same time using the same methods, regardless of a student's level of academic preparation, achievement, and maturity. Students are taught to succeed on a test rather than to succeed as independent thinkers. Quality assessments provide information that helps determine appropriate levels of preparation for academic achievement.

Superintendent Evers claims that businesses will "know what to expect from any Wisconsin high school graduate." Members of local business groups complain that schools are not teaching students to arrive on time, to follow directions, or to respect timelines and a quality end product. Employers are frustrated with employees who see the job from the employee's perspective only and expect no consequences for bad choices made in the work place. Lacking a strong work ethic, employees often forget that a company must make profits or it cannot exist.

Employers have difficulty finding an applicant who can pass a drug test. Concerned about liability, companies must assure a safe working environment in spite of this major problem. Common Core, or nationalized standards, will have no effect on these problems.

Evers identifies school boards as the party "responsible for adopting academic standards to fit local needs. Additional curriculum, textbook selection, lesson plans—those are still the purview of local communities and educators." Evers conveniently ignores the fact that the federal government has spent nearly 16 billion dollars making sure that text books and testing are aligned to CCSS. This limits any choices of curriculum and texts to those approved by the government. The rights of parents are an illusion under nationalized standards.

Teachers and parents who have tried to improve CCSS significantly have been threatened and/or punished. Even parents who send their children to private schools are mocked and ridiculed by church leaders when they attempt to eliminate Common Core Standards from their schools.

Common Core Standards will not be the remedy that Tony Evers has promised. The relationship between parents, students, and teachers will become more strained, as children work hard to learn under a system that seems to focus on something other than preparing our children for a productive future.

Common Core was implemented in Wisconsin under Governor Doyle. Fortunately, Governor Walker has taken a strong stand on Wisconsin's right to shape a superior set of standards for the state. Wisconsin needs legislation that strengthens parental rights under local control of schools and that will not fund any aspect of Common Core. As a local-control state, most of the work to eliminate Common Core rests with the citizens.

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