Common Core protest plan to remove students from class is misguided

Here’s a little pop quiz for all you parents out there.

If you’re concerned that your child isn’t doing well in school, would you:

A) Schedule a parent-teacher conference to create strategies for improvement.

B) Investigate tutoring options.

C) Limit the time your child spends on TV and video games so that there’s more time to devote to homework.

Or would you:

D) Keep her home from school to protest a national set of educational standards?

Apparently if the people grading this quiz are members of SC Parents Involved in Education, then the right answer is D.

As Diette Courrégé Casey reported, Monday has been deemed National Don’t Send Your Child To School Day. That’s thanks to a grass-roots movement formed by one Janet Wilson, whose Facebook event page has more than 5,000 responses from people who plan to participate.

To say that Paul Krohne, the executive director of the S.C. School Boards Association, was not thrilled with this plan would be an understatement.

“I’m extremely disappointed at this incredibly bizarre tactic of utilizing children to make a political statement,” Krohne said. “If individuals are opposed to a particular issue regardless of what it is it ought to stay as an adult conversation.”

Local control

The Common Core Standards (available at corestandards.org) are supposed to make sure that what’s being taught in school prepares students for the college and the real world.

Wilson’s press release for the day of protest includes a handy link to reasons why you shouldn’t like the Common Core standards. This is, of course, courtesy of the tea party, well-known for their support of education. It lists five key concerns about the standards, including loss of local control.

If you really want total control of your child’s education, you can homeschool, as Wilson has told other media outlets she plans to do.

Nancy McGinley had it right.

The superintendent of the Charleston County schools said parents would be better off taking time on Monday to learn more about Common Core and what it is than pulling their kids out of school to go to Columbia to protest the standards.

“I respect the right of these individuals to have the opinion that they have,” Krohne said. “They have a right to their opinion. It certainly should not involve children.”

Whose best interests

Just to be clear: protests can be a legitimate avenue for change. Freedom of speech is something to be treasured.

Neither of those things quite justifies pulling kids out of school. Just because it happens to be the federal government involved in trying to set up a uniform standard for math and English doesn’t make it wrong. The plan is there not only to ensure that what students learn in South Carolina is the same as what they learn in South Dakota, but that students from both states — and all the rest — are ready for what comes after high school.

“All we’re doing is talking about establishing world class standards, getting kids either career ready or college ready,” Krohne said. “To say that it’s more than that is a complete misinterpretation of the facts.”

Sounds like what these folks need is more education, not less.

Reach Melanie Balog at 937-5565 or mbalog@postandcourier.com.

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