(Photo: The Christian Post/Sonny Hong)
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – A panel on the Common Core educational standards has denounced the standards as being problematic for schools.
Held at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday afternoon, the panel grilled the ideas and content behind Common Core. Lindsey Burke, Will Skillman Fellow in Education at the Heritage Foundation, said that while Common Core has "well-intentioned advocates" who support "national standards" which would "raise the bar" for educational curriculum and be voluntary in nature, conservatives "are realists" when it comes to the promises of a more centralized educational system in the United States.
"After 50 years of failed federal initiatives in education conservatives aren't exactly sold on this notion that this time Washington will get it right," said Burke, who moderated the panel.
"It is a serious threat to state and local school autonomy and indeed it is Washington that has been the driving force behind Common Core's state standards initiative."
The members of the panel were Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice; Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum; and Jim Stergios, executive director of the Pioneer Institute.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Schlafly described the Common Core debate as "the hottest issue at the grassroots."
"Every place I went people were showing up and talking about it," said Schlafly, who stressed the need for parental rights in choosing their child's education.
"I think it was a very good panel and very valuable to have people talking about it," added Schlafly, who felt Common Core had a good chance of failure because "of the number of people who are really agitated about."
Common Core standards were first published back in June 2010 and by 2012 all but four states, Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia, had adopted their standards.
Among those who adopted the standards, all save Minnesota fully accepted the Common Core State Standards; Minnesota adopted the standards for English language arts only.
Held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center along with several other CPAC events, the panel spoke of the conservative backlash at Common Core and how this was a fight the Right was winning.
Panelist Robert Enlow of the Friedman Foundation told CP that he felt conservatives were gaining momentum on this issue because of their increasing awareness of the issue.
"Because they are finally starting to make their voices heard in meaningful ways at the grassroots level and that's fantastic," said Enlow. "The same thing that has been happening with school choice in the last 10 years and that's why we have over a million families using school choice because parents are making their voices heard."
Enlow, whose organization focuses on the "school choice" debate, told CP that he thought "Common Core can be best counteracted by parent power and parent choice."
"There are choice programs in states across the country that they can get involved in … springing up all over the country in every state to try and fight," said Enlow.