, Muskogee, OK

April 8, 2014

Keep politics out of education

— Oklahoma legislators are misguided in their attempt to repeal Common Core education standards in an effort to wrest control from the federal government.

That’s because Common Core, which sets minimum standards for English and Math, did not come from the federal government.

The standards are essentially a suggestion from the National Governors Association.

The NGA, as witnessed by its mere makeup, is a non-partisan organization.

Common Core sets a uniform foundation for the quality of education in the 45 states that have adopted the standards.

Common Core, in theory, ensures students can transfer from state to state and be on pace to graduate.

For example, a fourth-grader in Muskogee schools should have mastered the same basic skills as is required in any other school district in the United States.

This would keep students on a level playing field with all other students both during schooling and after graduation.

The Common Core standards have not been around long — barely four years in Oklahoma.

That’s not long enough to decide whether the standards are working.

However, Oklahoma legislators are considering a bill that would repeal Common Core in favor of standards created by the Oklahoma State Board of Education.

Even though the state freely adopted the standards in 2010, legislators are now wanting the state board to reinvent this wheel.

Our state board could devise better standards than Common Core.

But there is nothing stopping the state board from trying to raise our standards above those of Common Core now.

Preparing our children for life after school should be in the primary interest of everyone. It should not be a political hot potato.

We agree it is important to keep as much local control as possible.

But it is most important to make sure our students can compete with students from any state in the union.

But some people are trying to turn it into a political issue during an election year.  

They are telling you that Common Core is another example of federal intervention.

It’s not.