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[Susan notes: Much of this letter, emphasizing that participation in the Common Core was not and is not 'voluntary,' is right on-target, though I'd sure like to know the names of the "left-leaning educational experts" involved. Actually, I think one comes up short in finding many education experts of any stripe. The Common Core literacy standards were mostly written by a lawyer and an entrepreneur.


Published in Wall Street Journal

To the editor

Oh, Eric Smith, we're wishing for the days of No Child Left Behind while we're fighting its replacement, Common Core, in Florida ('No Child Left Behind' Gets Left Behind, op-ed, April 29). Unlike the state-designed NCLB standards, the Common Core State Standards are a thinly veiled, unconstitutional effort to implement a national curriculum. Said to be "state driven," they were actually written by left-leaning educational experts and endorsed by unelected NGOs, including the National Governors Association.

Said to be voluntarily adopted by 45 states, the core standards were required to qualify for Race to the Top stimulus-funded grants and tied to Title I funding from the Education Department. Also troubling are the 400 data points required to be collected on every student and his or her family from kindergarten through employment. The data collection was agreed to before the states saw the specific data or understood the collection costs. Our school district in Indian River County is planning to gear up for major expenses in software, hardware and personnel to partially meet the requirements by June 2014.

The standards were said to be built on "international benchmarks" and not a curriculum. We pine for the days when parents and teachers complained that the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test required teachers to teach to the test and wanted them stopped. If core standards aren't curriculum driven, why are the creators of common core the consultants to text-book and training-material companies like Pearson Education? As always, follow the money.

We agree that standardized tests are a means of assessing student learning and affective teaching, but we want our elected officials responsible for the standards and our parents and school boards able to change them to meet local needs. Unfortunately what's been left behind is local control of education.

Susan Mehiel

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