In calling for a moratorium on the implementation of clearer and more stringent academic standards in our public schools, Republican leaders in the state General Assembly sought to exploit for political advantage the understandable anxieties of parents and teachers. The legislature should soundly reject their call to embrace educational mediocrity.
The politics are clear enough. Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, a Fairfield Republican, is running for governor. Unfortunately for him, a recent Quinnipiac poll showed his candidacy remains a well-kept secret, with 3 percent of Republicans pointing to him as their preferred candidate.
Sen. McKinney has tried to gain some attention in calling for the resignation of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor. The justification appears to be that the ambitious education reform initiatives sought by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and endorsed by the legislature have not rolled out flawlessly in the first two years of implementation.
Essentially, in attacking education reform efforts, Sen. McKinney sees an opportunity to try to undercut one of Malloy’s major achievements. Over in the House, Sen. McKinney’s partner in political opportunity, Minority Leader Larry Cafero of Norwalk, arranged last Wednesday’s Education Committee public hearing on the bill that would block implementation of the Common Core State Standards.
There is a relatively small but deeply dedicated and vocal group who oppose Common Core and see all sorts of conspiratorial and nefarious motives behind its implementation. They turned out for the hearing, which lasted 12 hours. The truth is, Common Core is about improving education, not selling standardized tests or indoctrinating students, a couple of the leading conspiracy theories.
Connecticut is among 45 states to adopt the Common Core standards for mathematics and English. The more stringent standards will challenge teachers and students, requiring critical and analytical thought. They provide uniform benchmarks intended to ensure that students who graduate from the nation’s high schools are ready for higher education and the technologically challenging jobs that will gain increasing prominence in the global economy.Read More »