OUR OPINION: Common Core rests on a solid foundation

C0XY_E0M_72TN_djournal_our_opinion_stock_news_jisi_shane_2_300x225pxThe declaration of the newly formed Conservative Coalition in the Mississippi Senate that it will oppose implementation of the Common Core State Standards in Mississippi’s schools flies in the face of overwhelming bipartisan political support and adoption in 45 states.

Common Core is not without critics and organized opponents, but some of the kick-back seems to be based on bad information or even intentional distortion.

The Common Core standards, regardless of claims to the contrary, are not a federal program.

The idea, basic goals and process were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. It has been adopted state-by-state, not imposed by the federal government, and states are free to customize it.

The Obama administration is supportive of it, but it is neither a White House nor a congressional program.

In fact, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a two-term Republican, was present at the creation and strongly supports Common Core.

It also retains the support of Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, and the Mississippi Board of Education comprised of laypersons and education professionals, all legislatively confirmed.

Gov. Bryant said he would monitor Common Core to make sure it is “in line with Mississippi’s educational values.”

That criteria should provide a strong match because the substance of Common Core is competence and comprehension in reading, writing, arithmetic and history equal to the challenges of college or the workplace.

What, in fact, could be more conservative then a more rigorous new nationwide standard with a goal of pushing all American students to higher educational achievement in all the areas of study necessary for 21st century success?

The Common Core website says this about its goals: “The Standards set requirements not only for English language arts (ELA) but also for literacy in history/social studies, science and technical subjects. Just as students must learn to read, write, speak, listen and use language effectively in a variety of content areas, so too must the Standards specify the literacy skills and understandings required for college and career readiness in multiple disciplines. … The Common Core State

Standards are a clear set of shared goals and expectations for the knowledge and skills students need in English language arts and mathematics at each grade level to ultimately be prepared to graduate college and career ready.”

Don’t scuttle Common Core before it’s implemented.