Educational Editorial: Common Core for SOLs

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - In June 1995, the Virginia Board of Education passed the Standards of Learning in English, Math, Science, and History. The debate over the content and accountability system was intense.

Standards, assessment, reports and consequences were the four elements in this first effort to create rigorous expectations for students and schools.

The Federal Government is now focused on new standards called "Common Core." Since it has no legal basis for influencing the expectations to which children are held, how do they get into this fray?

Well, it is simply money.

As in the past, the Fed prints more money, creates more debt, makes more short-term promises… and holds states hostage. A major fallacy in the present pitch is that they offer temporary money to resolve long-term challenges.

The seductive aspect of this call for compliance is that states and local school divisions are hurting financially. A "hurt" paradoxically that will help some localities to make decisions that they should have made when times were good. Until a financial crisis, you are not forced to decide what is important.

Contrary to Virginia, Massachusetts, also a commonwealth whose rigorous standards are compared nationally with ours, is now considering "signing on" to the new Federal "Common Core."

The irony in the "pay for play" Federal scheme, while carrying the endorsement of unions, the national PTA, and 23 higher education groups, is that many of them have not be written.

So here is the deal, for significant money, the Fed requires states to accept the new federal standards…some of which have not been created…Virginia is right again!

Be careful when the Fed comes bearing gifts full of hope and promise!

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