California’s plans to introduce new common core standards will go forward despite strong opposition from President Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Education leaders plan to roll out new standards for English language arts and mathematics starting in 2017. Because the majority of leaders in the state, even those in areas with strong Trump support, still back common core, it is unlikely that these plans will be squashed.
In one of the counties that was overwhelmingly in support of Trump, education leaders disagree with the president that the standards should be changed. Mary Barlow, who is the Kern County Superintendent of Schools says that there has been little push-back from her colleagues students and parents about the current curriculum and she sees no reason to make sweeping changes or to get rid of common core.
As it turns out, Trump and DeVos may have little say in the matter anyway. The passage of the “Evered that they are happy with the way things are and the new direction they are taking with common core here to stay.
Abolishing Common Core was one of President Trump’s talking points during the campaign and a source of contention between groups that wanted to keep it and those that opposed the curriculum. Proponents of Common Core say that it encourages critical thinking—-a useful tool that helps students problem solve in their daily lives and in their future workplaces.
Betsy DeVos also failed to mention the abolition of Common Core in her Senate confirmation hearing, much to the chagrin of those who supported its demise. Chris Dell, is the director of STEM Education in the Shasta County Office of Education and feels that the president’s focus will not be on individual states, but on education on a federal level. Dell suggests that DeVos and Trump will focus more on private school education and vouchers, while allowing the states to decide on whether to keep Common Core or look for new solutions.
Dell did admit that there were a lot of parents unhappy with the curriculum, especially the math homework that is unfamiliar and confusing to most. This confusion, he challenges, is not enough to scrap the whole system. Despite the frustration, he says, most parents are on board with Common Core when they are educated about the merits and benefits of the curriculum.
Stakeholders who have a vested interest in the success of Common Core stand ready to fight for it’s use. Few in the state, however, think that fight will be necessary. The majority of the districts in the state, including those who are strong Trump backers are in favor of keeping Common Core. Parents have the option of refusing to allow their children to take the assessments and fewer than one percent have opted out. The chances of California getting rid of Common Core are slim to none.