Michael A. Koplen, Esq.
Candidate for Rockland County Court Judge
On Election Day, November 4, Rockland voters will have a choice of candidates running for various offices on a confusing ballot loaded with a plethora of political parties. You will see my name on the ballot this year as I am running for Rockland County Court Judge, on both the Republican and Stop Common Core lines.
What is Common Core, and why are so many people of so many walks of life opposed to its implementation in our nation’s classrooms?
Common Core, in brief, is a standardized curriculum that the Obama Administration wants to force all 50 states to use in their schools. On the surface, Common Core sounds reasonable: apply a rigorous standard of education across the board to ensure that American students in every school district are exposed to a common core of subject matter. This, it is argued, will standardize American education and help Americans be more competitive in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.
But as the Common Core curriculum was rolled out in 45 states, it has been met with fierce opposition. Teachers and parents, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, have registered alarm. Resistance to Common Core is increasing. The backlash against Common Core has developed into a potent political force. More than 100 bills have been introduced in state legislatures to cancel, stop, or slow down Common Core requirements. Stop Common Core may be the sleeper issue in next month’s election.
One objection to Common Core is that it forces untested, illogical and ineffective teaching methodologies that make no sense to the teachers who in turn can’t teach them to the students. Math, in particular, has been turned into something unrecognizable, substituting tried and true methods for a novel trendy approach that infuriates teachers and confuses parents and children. Instead of encouraging scholarship, Common Core is turning students away from subjects.
But there is even a larger problem with Common Core, one that goes to the heart of American values and tradition.
Common Core is a heavy-handed, top down, bureaucratic style program that invests the Federal Government in Washington with total control over childrens’ education in all parts of the country. Common Core effectively destroys local control of our schools, transferring community educational initiatives to the vast and faceless federal bureaucracy, shifting yet more power from the local community to Washington so that it can impose continental control over the education of our nation’s children. This includes both neutral subject matter and values teaching.
Common Core destroys diversity in favor of a national curriculum, controlled by a heavy-handed Politburo-style educational elite. Do we really want to cede control of our children’s education to bureaucrats in Washington? That is the aim of the Obama Administration.
I know a little of which I write. I am the co-founder and Director of The Washington Online Learning Institute, one of the nation’s first highly accredited online schools of post-secondary education. I developed the curriculum that is used in our school’s legal studies department. That curriculum is in use, in whole or in part, in more than 250 colleges and universities nationwide. I wrote the curriculum. I teach it. But we do not control how it is taught by others. All our affiliates are free to teach and interpret and modify and adjust and adopt standards that are appropriate to their students. So there is creativity, diversity and sensitivity to the needs of the particular students. Although I am very proud of the legal studies curriculum I developed, I would never dream of telling teachers that there is only one way to teach it.
Forcing Common Core on American schools coast to coast is the antithesis of traditional American educational values. Common Core will destroy the creativity and flexibility that is essential to the teacher/student relationship. It will discourage scholarship and defeat morale.
Common Core’s main goal is not education, but rather the concentration of yet more power in the federal government, requiring local school districts, parents and teachers, to cede their traditional roles as teachers and mentors to an elite faceless bureaucracy ensconced in the halls of power in the federal government.
It is primarily for this reason that I strongly oppose Common Core and I am proud to be running on the Stop Common Core line for Rockland County Court Judge.
[Picture Credit: http://www.ride.ri.gov/InstructionAssessment/TransitiontotheCCSSandPARCC.aspx]