Critics warn Common Core will lower education standards
An opponent of Common Core education standards is challenging Pennsylvania politicians to reverse the state's decision to adopt them.
“(Politicians) may be telling you that they are not doing Common Core,” Peg Luksik of Johnstown told more than 100 members of the People for Liberty organization at Cornerstone Ministries in Murrysville on Thursday, “but they're telling Washington that they are.”
Luksik, a consultant to the U.S. Department of Education during President Ronald Reagan's administration, challenged Elizabeth's Barbara Hafer for the Republican nomination for governor in 1990.
She heads an organization called Founded on Truth, whose stated purpose is to help Americans recall self-evident truths cited by the Founding Fathers.
Gov. Ed Rendell and the General Assembly signed off on the Common Core concept in 2010. Gov. Tom Corbett chose not to reverse that decision but delayed implementation until this fall over objections to the potential cost and to data collection by the federal government.
State education officials said Pennsylvania Core Standards focus on the essential concepts, knowledge and skills that students need to succeed, and are designed to increase student achievement.
A chapter of regulations that include Pennsylvania Core Standards are pending review by the attorney general, Pennsylvania Department of Education spokesman Tim Eller said.
“This is the final step in the regulatory review process,” he said.
The chapter's stated purpose “is to establish rigorous academic standards and assessments.” Luksik said the standards lower expectations, instead.
She pointed to changes that made Algebra I the standard for 11th-grade Keystone Exams, where formerly a student could take Algebra II and then Calculus as the advanced-placement level math course in senior year.
“We're spending hundreds of millions of dollars to move math standards from horrendous to abysmal,” Luksik said.
“This is outcome-based education on steroids,” said Fran Bevan of North Huntingdon Township, who served on the Norwin school board in the late 1990s and is president of Pennsylvania's Eagle Forum chapter.
She said Luksik's presentation “hits you in the heart as well as the head.” Luksik concluded her presentation by showing a picture of her 1-year-old granddaughter.
“Don't let this go,” she told the audience.
Bevan said she asked Norwin board members in 2012 and last year if the district was adopting Common Core and was told no, but pointed to a district publication which ran a story in October that “Norwin School District is in the process of aligning its K-12 curriculum to Common Core standards.”
“(Corbett) can stop it,” Luksik said. “Texas said no and they didn't lose a dime (of federal funding). Virginia said no and they didn't lose a dime.”
“My concerns are, where does this take us?” Franklin Regional school board member Gregg Neavin said. “How do we now make sure that our kids get the best education they can?”
Michael Morocco stressed opposition to Common Core and told Luksik he came within two votes of winning a seat on the Penn-Trafford board in May's primary.
“Run again,” Luksik urged.
Another group that meets at Cornerstone is the Westmoreland County Conservative Coalition. Chairman Don Thomson of North Huntingdon, said state Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Elizabeth Township, will talk about “God and government” at the coalition's meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Vigil at site of homicide remembers slain McKeesport plumber
- McKeesport heritage center event recognizes famous black Mon Valley musicians
- White Oak seeks funds to stabilize road
- Duquesne Elementary School students join the ranks of junior constables
- Munhall resident pleads guilty but mentally ill for killing his mother
- Steel Valley to post teacher, administrator salaries online
- McKeesport Area students share views during Black History Month panel talk
- Allegheny County Airport set for $4M sidewalk, parking lot upgrade
- Clairton City School District seeks savings in food service management
- Public comment policy varies in Mon Valley school districts
- McKeesport Area principal, 8 others take retirement offer