Earlier, I put up a piece on national test scores falling for the first time since the test began in 1990. It’s the first time we’ve seen such a dip, so it is not a trend. It’s not indicative of where we are headed. However, we do have a pretty good idea that things could get worse before they get better.
One of the reasons for this is Common Core. It is a very divisive, very controversial topic in education because students who are being taught by those standards aren’t getting it, parents aren’t getting it, and, yes, some teachers aren’t getting it. As a result, there is a lot of struggle in education trying to make sense of it all.
In all likelihood, Common Core’s standards aren’t going anywhere. If they are “repealed,” they’ll likely be replaced by the same thing in different words. You have to change the underlying culture in education first. And here’s how:
1) Conservatives have to get more involved in the process of education.
It is no secret that the field of academia, from pre-kindergarten to post-graduate, is filled with liberals. There are very few conservatives who go into academia, and largely for good reason: They’d rather do real, meaningful work. However, that does come at a price – the educational landscape is slanted to the Left, and what is produced there is based on liberal talking points. Conservatives who want to fix education need to find the intellectual conservatives willing to enter that arena. Until we have a revolution in education from the ground up, things are not going to change.
2) Those conservatives in education need to produce.
It’s not enough to be conservative and in education. We as a movement have to have people ready to write the curricula that are going to end up in schools. If we are convinced that what we believe should be taught is effective, we need to get education leaders sympathetic to conservatives to begin implementing these programs as soon as possible. In order to make any effort, we have got to stop being reactive to anything and everything that happens in education and start being proactive.
3) Conservatives need to work both quickly and effectively.
Common Core was implemented in a hurry in many states. As a result, many teachers who have to teach curricula based on those standards have had very little training in order to do so. What’s more, liberal publishing groups were at the ready to put out curricula before anyone else could. They were ready, and we were not. If there is a publishing group out there that leans to the right and is putting out classroom material, we don’t hear about it.
As a movement, we complain about the world around us, but rarely do we get up and do anything about it. We fight, but not long enough and not hard enough. Just enough to complain about it and move on to our next outrage (the Left is not alone in having its outrages of the day, you know). It’s past time for us to stop whining and start doing. We can talk all day about school reforms, but until you change the entire culture behind education, you will not be able to fix the problems of education in the country.