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Common Core is an Education Issue Not a Political Issue

Strategies for Saving Our Failing Schools
Les Stein

In the past year North Carolina's General Assembly has debated a number of very important and highly contentious issues dealing with public school education. In each case, our legislators have made it abundantly clear that they know more about education than either teachers, school administrators, or members of the State Board of Education. Apparently, it's not enough that our schools are losing most of their teacher aides, tenure is on the chopping block, pay raises were never part of the GOP agenda, and limited education dollars are being diverted to vouchers; our state is now also considering tossing out Common Core.

The decision to repeal Common Core goes against the prevailing wisdom of most education groups, state superintendents, school board chairman Bill Cobey, business leaders, and the majority of teachers who have adjusted their lesson plans in support of the new and more rigid academic standards. Not only does it make no sense to repeal Common Core - it highlights the simple fact that politics has taken over North Carolina's educational system, which does not bode well for either our children or our future. Without hyperbole or any form of exaggeration our state's political leaders are jeopardizing any hope of making North Carolina's schools competitive in the United States, let alone the world. What is most frustrating about this decision is that most of our legislators are convinced that Common Core is the federal government's way of dictating what and how our students are to learn. In essence, they are compounding their poor decision with ignorance of the facts.

It is time for the voters of North Carolina to take back their state and make it clear that they will not tolerate their politician's disrespect for teachers in particular and education in general. We finally have a set of academic standards that will truly prepare our students for the challenges of a global economy and our teachers are making every effort to align these goals with meaningful lessons - the kind that will help our students see the connection between their education and their future. This is not the time to pull the rug out from under our schools, teachers, and students. Common Core has nothing to do with politics - it has everything to do with raising the academic bar so that our children will be ready for the challenges they will soon face. Our legislators need to get out of the way and let the educators do their jobs.

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