Michigan Common Core school standards face political headwinds in GOP

Comments:0 Comments

Tim Skubick, MLive, May 15, 2013 at 6:30 AM
“I’m concerned about control coming from the federal government.”

Many moons ago, the quality of education you got in a Michigan school was pretty much determined by your ZIP code. One in Bloomfield Hills brought decidedly better schooling than one in Ontonogan – no offense to the good folks up there.

Then lawmakers, fearing the courts might stick their judicial nose into this inequity, got off their behinds and labored to raise up the lower schools with more state aid while financially sitting on the really good schools until the others caught up.

They are still trying to close the gap, which frankly will never be achieved, but increasingly educators are not only looking at the money but what the schools are teaching to assure an equal education for everyone.

Which is why the Tea Party is coming unglued about so-called Common Core school standards.

“I’m concerned about control coming from the federal government,” feared parent Marion Sheridan from Bloomfield Hills who showed-up with a bunch of her fellow T.P.ers at the state Board of Education confab the other day.

She frets about the Obama administration crafting a course study that would be “manipulated politically.”

Chill out, suggests John Austin the Democratic state board president. He reassures them it’s not going to happen.

“We’ve seen wide differences” in the courses offered, he explains. But even though the state will decide what should be taught, “how it’s delivered, what curriculum, what text books you can use and how you instruct and in what sequence is all up to local control as it should be,” Austin adds.

State Rep. Bill Rogers, R-Brighton, is listening to this emotional back and forth and he’s perplexed.

“I’m not sure who has it right?”

He gets calls from teachers and administrators on both sides of the issue. “We’re trying to get to the bottom of it.”

Meanwhile the business community and other stakeholders are all in on Common Core, but lawmakers are caught in the crosshairs and lots of Republicans are, shall we say, a tad sensitive to what the Tea Party demands.

Getting re-elected vs. doing what is right for students?

Any bets on which one wins?


Watch “Off the Record with Tim Skubick” online anytime at video.wkar.org