Earlier this month, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed legislation that will expand the state's tuition tax credit program, raising the annual cap from $8.75 to $12 million, and allowing for businesses as well as individuals to contribute for a tax credit.
In an Op-Ed published in the New York Times on Sunday, June 9, titled “Who’s Minding the Schools?,” Andrew Hacker, an emeritus professor of political science at Queens College, City University of New York, and Claudia Dreifus, an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, explained their concerns about the national implementation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which included the following:
1. Teachers will feel pressured to gear much of their instruction to annual Common Core assessments.
2. Common Core test results are likely to affect decisions about grade promotion for students, teachers’ job status and school viability.
3. The “radical” Common Core curriculum— one that has the potential to affect more than 50 million children and their parents — was introduced with hardly any public discussion.
4. For all its impact, the Common Core is essentially an invisible empire. It does not have a public office, a board of directors or a salaried staff. Its web site lists neither a postal address nor a telephone number.
5. Anthony Carnevale, the director of Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce, calls the Common Core a “one-size-fits-all pathway governed by abstract academic content.”
Jay Greene, one of America's leading thinkers on K-12 education reform, explains that supporters of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, including the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, should admit their mistake in attempting to nationalize elementary and secondary education and refrain from dismissing responsible criticism of the Initiative as the work of unenlightened activists and a few misguided conservative think tanks.
Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project raise the very good question of why so many Catholic schools are implementing a Federally-funded, centralized Common Core State Standards Initiative that is more focused on preparing students for the workplace than it is on educating children for creative freedom and moral character.
A new Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice survey of American Moms has some interesting findings:
Nearly seven out of 10 school moms (69%) support tax-credit scholarships. Just 19% of school moms say they opposed tax-credit scholarships. Twelve percent of school moms did not have an opinion.
When asked for a preferred school type, 42% of school moms (a plurality) would choose a private school first. A regular public school option is the second-most frequently cited preference (36%). Mothers would pick a public charter school and those who would like to homeschool, both reached 9%.
When asked to “rate the federal government’s handling of matters in K-12 education,” four out of five school moms (79%) say “fair” or “poor.”
A summary and the full survey results can be found here: