The GOP is missing a real opportunity on the Common Core debate. The party would be better off embracing Common Core as part of a larger educational reform agenda that includes charters, vouchers and choice. By only supporting stuff that doesn’t touch regular public schools (which will still be the vast majority of kids) we look like we are throwing those students and their parents (+ their votes) away. This larger education reform agenda could be a real way to broaden the base of the party and steal this topic away from the left.
As an educator, I believe we have to have a starting point. A set of principles that all of our children should know. In Georgia, we have had Quality Core Curriculum (QCC), Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) and now have adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Georgia is developing our own curriculum based on these standards. Each local system will decide how to implement that state created curriculum. In Bartow County, we are moving to 1:1 computers as a part of our overall educational reform efforts, which include CCSS. This is very different than other systems around the state and the nation. Common Core is not a forced federal liberal mandate that some Republicans would have you believe. The State of Georgia and local school systems are driving this process and if the party is not careful we will perpetuate the stereotype that only the Democrats care about the future of public education for ALL students.
Common Core fits perfectly into our pro-growth agenda because it provides an opportunity to create a better-trained workforce that will be positioned to fill the jobs that our economic polices are trying to create. As long as the party centers its education policy around a constituency that makes up such a small percentage of the national audience we will continue to have no credibility on education issues.