AP Interview: Perdue, Kingston talk Common Core

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ATLANTA — In the third part of an Associated Press interview, Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah and former Dollar General CEO Da­vid Perdue – who will meet in a runoff July 22 to decide the Republican Senate nominee – discuss the Common Core academic standards. The standards were largely developed by states but have prompted concerns over federal intrusion after the Obama administration encouraged their adoption through a federal grant program. Candidate remarks have been edited in some places for length.

AP: Do you believe in the basic premise of the Common Core academic standards, that the United States needs a national benchmark for K-12 education to ensure the country remains competitive in a global economy?

Kingston: No, and I would also say that we have always been a global economic leader and we have done that without Washington’s intervention in local school decisions and curriculum. It’s interesting to see as late as this week Oklahoma has now pulled out of it, Louisiana the week before, Indiana a couple of months ago. What we are seeing is that the states, the closer they get to looking at what a national standard would be, they don’t want it.

Perdue: My mom and dad were teachers, and I grew up listening to how the best decisions are made between the parent, the teacher, the principal, the local administration and the local school board, and I still believe that. What we recognize right now is that the results of the attempts to federalize education over the last 50 years have failed. … There are countries like Peru and Columbia that actually perform better in math and science than our 14-year-olds. So by any measure of results, this federalization of education has failed. And we spend billions of dollars at the federal level trying to manipulate and control local education and it’s not working. So that’s my first conclusion. Now, having said that, Common Core needs to be abandoned. And the reason is, is that it’s another attempt to federalize a solution to a problem that is best solved at the local level, period.

AP: Do you think having a national benchmark, that some would benefit in that we could be able to compare how are students are doing?

Kingston: You can do that without a national benchmark, and it’s already being done without a national benchmark. The Washington, D.C., Department of Edu­ca­tion hasn’t given us higher SAT scores or better college placements. I’m not sure what measurements you want. But I think local school systems making their own decisions and having the max amount of flexibility will give us a better educational product. … I’m the son, by the way, of a college professor, the brother-in-law of a public school teacher, the brother of a former school teacher, the brother of a college professor and who grew up in Athens, Ga., when my dad worked for the University of Georgia. So education isn’t something I take lightly.

Perdue: Sounds good, doesn’t it? It’s hard to argue with that. But look at how it got tripped up over the last few years with stipulations about how to comply with it. Here we go again: “We have the money, you want the money, so comply with this.” But that’s not working. That’s got us into the situation we’re in right now.

AP: The chief criticism has been federal involvement in the initiative. If the federal government were to stop encouraging states to adopt Com­mon Core and halt any coordination, communication or regulation on the issue, would that satisfy your concerns?

Kingston: I think it would. Georgia knows how to compete with neighboring states and does not need Washing­ton bureaucrats to tell us how to run our schools. All states compete against each other right now for employers, and when a new business is coming to town, one of the questions they ask is what kind of school systems do you have. For example, Douglasville just got the Keurig coffee company, 500 jobs. Keurig is not going to move a factory there unless they know that their employees will have access to good school systems. And if they can’t find it in the state of Georgia, they are going to go to South Carolina, Alabama, California, or wherever. I think there is a real competitive market mechanism that keeps this in check.

Perdue: Common Core is not going to solve the education problem in this country. No Child Left Behind didn’t. Race to the Top didn’t. Com­mon Core will not. … Com­mon Core, at its best, is now a distraction from a debate around what the real issues are, and that is how do we get our kids to read by fourth grade, how do we get them to stay in school, how do we get them to be proficient in math and science and to be meaningful players in the economy when they get out.

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hoptoad
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Points
hoptoad 07/07/14 - 08:23 am
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Common Core

This is another program to help along the indoctrination of children and, like the USSR did to their children, decide which children get educated and how well they get educated. Almost like picking and choosing who will succeed in life and who will be just a "worker bee".

Before all the revisions of our history and civics books, before the "new math", before English was no longer our first language, schools turned out educated, eager-to-work, ambitious students at high graduation rates. Thanks to the government, we are now turning out students who can barely read, write or speak properly and who have no idea how our country is supposed to run, higher drop-out rates and those who can't wait to get on the government dole.

We do not want or need the government to force Common Core on our children and shame on teachers who get their faces on TV and promote this program.

corgimom
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corgimom 07/07/14 - 09:06 pm
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hoptoad, there is nothing

hoptoad, there is nothing indoctrinating about it.

There are some states that are woefully behind in their educational standards. How much Federal income tax do you want to pay because the graduates in those states can't find decent jobs, because they are so poorly educated?

As for your assertion that schools turned out graduates that were eager to work, there were always dropouts and people that couldn't read or write. But back in the old days, there were so many manual labor jobs available, nobody cared.

Instead of worrying about Common Core, which is beneficial, you would do far better to demand the end of "mainstreaming", in which disturbed and mentally ill children totally disrupt today's classrooms, and where the teacher is powerless to do anything about it.

Why aren't you protesting that?

There has always been a relatively high rate of illiteracy in the US. When WWII started, 50% of the military did not have high school diplomas, and many of them were functionally illiterate.

Right now, about 25% of adult Americans are functionally illiterate. It is now known that if a child is not reading at grade level at the end of 3rd grade, their chances of ever reading at grade level plummet.

Dropping out of school doesn't start in high school. It starts at the beginning of 4th grade, and goes from there.

hoptoad
9574
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hoptoad 07/08/14 - 06:29 pm
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Corgi

Corgi writes: "There has always been a relatively high rate of illiteracy in the US. When WWII started, 50% of the military did not have high school diplomas, and many of them were functionally illiterate.

Right now, about 25% of adult Americans are functionally illiterate. It is now known that if a child is not reading at grade level at the end of 3rd grade, their chances of ever reading at grade level plummet.

Dropping out of school doesn't start in high school. It starts at the beginning of 4th grade, and goes from there."
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I don't know how old you are, Corgi, but I started first grade in 1949. There were no drop outs in 4th grade at any of the schools I attended. My father was in the service so I went to a different high school EVERY year and there were only a handful of dropouts in the entire four years I attended high school. Also, every military base we lived on provided a top notch education. None of the kids I had for friends, nor any of the friends my parents came in contact with were illiterate.

As for drop outs then and now - you are comparing apples to oranges. During the depression kids had to drop out to help support the family; and during WWII, there were drop outs because young men left to serve our country and young women dropped out to work in the factories. They didn't drop out because they were pregnant, in gangs, too lazy to study, or selling drugs.

As far as mainstreaming, I do not support this at all. This was something democrats decided had to be done for the sake of fairness, like they felt compelled to release disturbed persons from institutions creating many more homeless persons. However, that's a totally different can of worms and I wasn't addressing that subject.

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