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home : opinion : columns May 26, 2016

7/28/2013 6:00:00 AM
Column: A cure for the Common Core

Rich Thurlow

Have we beaten this Common Core thing to death or what?


I can recall an extensive report from one speaker opposed to the federal education curriculum, another report from a supporter. We've also had at least two opinion pieces on Common Core over the previous week, including one by News Editor Alan Choate that offered a generally upbeat assessment.

I find myself instinctively opposed to Common Core for two reasons. First, a word from my wise daughter, an elementary school teacher who has little to say about CC other than she doesn't like how reading is taught. Jane reads for pleasure and has since she first mastered the ABCs. She worries that Common Core doesn't encourage the love of books, though I can't recall exactly how she arrived at that conclusion.

The other reason is much easier to explain: It's a product of the federal government, a one-size-fits-all approach that will not improve student performance.

Curriculum is something better handled locally, with an active school board that cares about more than balancing the books and parents who care about their children and what they are learning. I'm one of those people who believe about half the problem with education today happens away from school.

That's a different column.

This column, though, wouldn't be complete without a better explanation of why Common Core won't work. Take the Department of Education - please.

The stab at humor was lame, much like the Department of Education's track record. For evidence, go back to student achievement levels in the late 1970s when the Department of Education was launched and compare them to today. No matter how you work the numbers, our students are not performing significantly better on standardized tests or against their peers internationally.

In other words, we're getting absolutely no bang for our Department of Education bucks, so why are we still funding it and giving it even more of a say in how our children are educated? The conversation should be about shutting down the Department of Education, of cutting loose the hundreds or thousands who draw a paycheck there, and of converting Department of Education offices to monuments celebrating the wasting of taxpayer dollars.


The president's latest tour is slick politics at its best. He refers to phony scandals and other distractions and complains about the sluggish economy, failing to mention it's the economy he created. This is life in an Obamaconomy: Little or no growth, uneasy consumers, unemployment going down because people have stopped looking for work, crony capitalism.

And a word about "phony scandals." If most of us aren't deeply troubled by an administration that uses the IRS against political opponents, we're in trouble.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Article comment by: Another Thought

"Holder is one of the most despicable humans I have ever encountered frankly."

Where did this happen? I was unaware that he made a stop in Kingman, did everybody but you miss it? Oh, maybe you got a personal invite from him and you traveled to D.C. to have lunch with him. Quit inflating things, it makes you look like a fool.

Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Athens

The phony scandals obama refers to? He left out the best part, at least from his point of view.

When wrong doing has been found, which it has in every single case, DOJ head attorney Eric Holder simply IGNORES IT!!! He skirts right around it, tramples the Constitution one more time and simply goes right on. Were he a Republican of course, he would have been forced out of his position long ago, probably put in jail even as Scooter Libby was.

Holder is one of the most despicable humans I have ever encountered frankly. I now read, his wife owns a building holding an abortion clinic in the south. No surprise there, them being part of the lovers of killing innocent pre-born babies as is obama.

Even more odd, Holder's wife is also an ob/gyn Dr. So deliver some, kill others not wanted. Who cares?

As far as the phony scandals? Well, putting them all together, I would say we are well over half way to a totalitarian regime running our country.

Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2013
Article comment by: Just Wondering

Fox Hound, what a load of BS. How do you know how much other countries spend on defense? As Anson's Nephew always says, show me the proof. Since the draft was abolished almost 40 years ago, no one has been forced to go to war. AND I find it insulting for you to question the patriotism and intelligence of those who decide to serve. Liberals have an overwhelming influence on our educational system and yet you still blame conservatives for it's failings. As far as the IRS targeting liberal groups, again you failed to show how many liberal groups were targeted as compared to conservative groups. Someday I hope to meet a liberal who thinks for himself. My proof is I have yet to hear a liberal say one bad thing about Obama. It would help your credibility.

Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2013
Article comment by: enigma enigma

When I think of scandal I think of Watergate and Nixon, G. Gordon LIddy and his band of merry Nixon burglars who did go to prison under indictments but I also remember how Ford allowed his pal to escape justice by resignation and pardon of all his high crimes and misdemeanors in office! I do believe scandal today means nothing but merely the present party not in white house angry at being on the losing end of elections and popularity!

Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2013
Article comment by: Frances Perkins

One great thing about Rich's writing, he never let facts get in the way of rants. Maybe he can join Gosar and Franks in Congress.

Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2013
Article comment by: T C

What a non-contribution to the debate about educational quality! You don't like the Dept. of Education, but the only reason you give is based on the logical fallacy of "post hoc ergo propter hoc" that even Gordon Liddy recognizes.

I agree that reading for pleasure is a key to educational attainment, and educational attainment is most strongly correlated with the mothers level of education hence the class differences educational achievement. The common core only measures achievement, it isn't designed to address deficiencies only identify them.

I agree that factors outside of the school building have strong impacts on student achievement. Proper nutrition, supervision, encouragement in the home and community are all things that educators welcome. The Depart. of Ed. doesn't impede any of those things. The notion that a common core doesn't recognize local conditions and issues is silly. Algebra and history and literature and science don't change from one locality to the next pretending that they do is a disservice to students.

Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Phone scandals? I mean how many of these right wing political attack investigations have born any fruit? I mean where is the indictments, impeachment results? I guess is I was part of the nations 2nd major party who only have nationally 22% register with them and have lost the last two presidential elections in a row, conspiracy, scandal is maybe a way to help boost that sagging political ego, if the right wing has so many solutions to America's woes why did they not fix them from 2000-2006 when they ran all three branches of government, and all they did do is collapse the economy in 2008, get us into two mid east wars on a Chinese credit card, collapse the housing market, yes they are geniuses alright in the category of Herbert Hoover another one of them fellows who swore let the free market fix it!

Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Moore

“And a word about ‘phony scandals.’ If most of us aren't deeply troubled by an administration that uses the IRS against political opponents, we're in trouble.”

Well, in light of the facts following the expenditure of millions of dollars and the wasting of hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of time Issa’s attempt to create a “scandal” fell way short of meeting the smell test.

End result – as with every other bogus “investigation” Issa has launched – there is no “there, there” let alone a scandal created by the administration. Just more of the usual hyperbolic nonsense from the righties.

Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2013
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

Gee Rich you complain about wanting bang for your buck from the Department of Education lets take a look at the Department of Defense. Now here is bang for your buck gone wild. You want to eliminate the Dept. of Education which would save pennies compared to what we waste daily in ignorant wars that can't be won. No problem with that huh Rich? We spend more than the next 13 largest countries on Defense but are we any safer for it . I sure don't see it. You and the other Republican Chicken Hawks have no problem sending our young to die for nothing you just don't want them smart enough to question what their govt does in their name.
This president did not use the IRS to go after the right. It has since been shown that the IRS was going after liberal groups at the same time. I guess you didn't get the memo you might want to talk to Darrel Izza about that. I have not seen him talking much about it since the facts came out..

Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2013
Article comment by: Rick O'Shea

Don't forget Rich, ObamaCare has helped create many jobs by reducing workforces to part time with no benefits, more work positions created thereby reducing unemployment, the only thing is, if all the employers go part time, how will ObamaCare provide care for everybody without going bankrupt, sounds like the Soc. Sec. system all over again.

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