Lewis Center, Ohio – Advocates on both sides of the Common Core State Standards debate met Saturday in front of a crowd of over 325 concerned residents. Most came to learn about Ohio’s new Common Core State Standards and the impact that they will have on Ohio students.
Panelists supporting Common Core included Emmy Partin of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, C. Todd Jones currently serving on the Ohio Board of Education, and Representative Andrew Brenner who presides as vice-chair of the Education Committee in the Ohio House.
These speakers spoke about their desire to raise academic standards beyond where they are today. Ms. Partin relayed that the ratings for the new Common Core are an improvement over the current Ohio standards in math and language arts. Mr. Brenner and Mr. Jones agreed and insisted that local districts still have control over their curriculum. All three panelists are encouraged by the new standards; and they believe that the new standards will better prepare our students for a global marketplace.
Panelists opposed to the Common Core standards included Joy Pullman of the Heartland Institute, Heather Crossin with Hoosiers against Common Core and Emmett McGroarty of the American Principles Project. All three panelists shared concerns about federal control over education standards and curriculum. To help win federal Race to the Top funds, Ohio promised to use Common Core.
Ms. Pullman cited a Department of Education report that requires districts to create data systems tracking religious, political and personal information on students and their families. This report also discusses the selling of the data to private companies and other government agencies. Mr. McGroarty read excerpts from a recent resolution just passed by the Republican National Committee rejecting the Common Core Standards. Ms. Crossin shared her concerns over the fact that several education professionals originally involved in developing these standards ultimately decided not to endorse the standards because they felt the standards were inadequate and harmful to students.
The 2½ hour event wrapped up with panelists fielding questions from the audience. OSBLC would like to thank all our panelists as well as Chris Finney who served as our moderator. We would especially like to thank the more than 300 citizens who attended which represented more than 51 school districts from more than 27 counties.
Complete video of the Common Core Debate can be found here: Common Core Debate Video