Iowa’s Focus Should Be on Educating Children, Not Training Worker Bees

I want to respond to some of the comments on yesterday’s Des Moines Register article on the Next Generation Science Standards.

Those in favor of national standards are missing the point of why opponents are against them. To clarify, technically, they are not national standards. Each state decides whether to adopt them however if you have most state adopting them, you are approaching the point of national standards.

So what is the problem with the current standards push? One issue is that the standards are being pushed by corporations that stand to make huge profits off of our children. It is a big money grab. Pearson, Microsoft and Google are major players since they will profit from the curriculum, testing and technology that goes along with this massive overhaul of education. States were sold on the idea that the standards were better for our students when in reality, the sales pitch was about money. The Next Generation Science Standards received a grade of C by the Fordham Institute whereas 13 states received a grade of A or B. Iowa was rated a dismal D however why aren’t we looking at the state standards of those other 13 states to see what they are doing better than NGSS? If we are going to the trouble of changing our science standards, why are we settling for a C? Or why didn’t we take a closer look at the current Iowa Core science standards and fix the problems it has? NGSS was just released in April 2013 and states are rushing to adopt them before they have even been piloted on a smaller scale. Do they actually work in the classroom? Have any bugs been worked out? Why are we trying to roll something out to the entire country before testing it? Also, note that the Fordham Institute is in favor of Common Core State Standards however they still gave NGSS a grade of C. Criticisms are already being made that NGSS is weak in chemistry, physics and other basic areas of science. For those students who want to get degrees in those areas, will they be prepared for college?

We also now have the U.S.Chamber of Commerce spending millions along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to push Common Core. They are in this to make money and create a workforce, not to educate. So we need to stop seeing this a misguided conservative movement against standards and call it what it is. A motivation of the Stop Common Core movement is stopping this massive money grab at the expense of our children. Teachers are starting to speak out on this issue however many are afraid because they have been threatened with losing their jobs if they say what they really think. Parents need to be a voice for their children’s future and for our teachers who are often silenced.

For more on the Chamber of Commerce, please see this article.  I have no doubt that there are many great business owners at the local level who are Chamber members (friends, family, and neighbors included) however, as a national organization who sees our children as human capital or worker bees, they have no business asking local members to do their bidding in influencing educational policy and neither does Pearson, Microsoft, Google or any other corporate entity.

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