Professional Oklahoma Educators Oppose Common Core

To the Editor:

Professional Oklahoma Educators, a 9,000 member non-profit professional organization, opposes Common Core. A recent survey indicated that 61.7 percent of POE members oppose Common Core. 

An additional 23.1 percent of POE members were neutral on Common Core. 

Common Core was supported by 15.3 percent of POE members.

Efforts to repeal Common Core in Oklahoma are rapidly gaining momentum. Supporters of Common Core, including Stand for Children, funded by the Gates Foundation, have stated that revoking Common Core will result in a federal takeover of Oklahoma education and a funding crisis. These suggested threats to Oklahoma education are false.

The federal Department of Education has insisted that states are not “required to adopt the Common Core standards as part of ESEA [No Child Left Behind] flexibility.”

Federal Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has unequivocally stated: “The states choose their standards; they have been free, and will always be free, to opt for different ones.”

Oklahoma is absolutely free to revoke Common Core and replace it with alternative standards.

Oklahoma has already dropped out of a Common Core testing consortium, necessitating a modification to its federal waiver.  Oklahoma should revoke Common Core entirely, joining states like Texas and Virginia that have declined to participate in Common Core but have nonetheless received a federal waiver. Revoking Common Core will not entail a federal takeover or the loss of a single dollar of education funding.

Keeping Common Core will be extremely costly for Oklahoma. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, another Gates Foundation grantee, has released data showing that Common Core implementation could cost Oklahoma as much as $190 million.

Oklahoma already has a proven track record of developing excellent academic standards. A review of Oklahoma’s previous standards by the Fordham Institute concluded that Oklahoma’s English and math standards, when compared with Common Core, were simply “too close to call.”

Only seven other states’ standards were ranked equal to or better than Oklahoma’s. Oklahoma can undoubtedly produce locally-developed, high-quality education standards. It’s time to remove Common Core from our state curriculum standards and return to local control of education. 

POE is committed to reforming and improving education, but we believe Common Core is not the way.  

Any new standards need to be handled in the proper way as all public policy reforms are handled, through the legislative process not through a few private individuals.  

The voices of Oklahoma citizens should be heard and not pushed aside when it comes to such important education changes that will certainly affect every student in Oklahoma.

(Common Core was developed in 2010 by the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers and Student Achievement Partners, Inc. Each entity received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has been a major backer of Common Core from its inception.)

Sincerely, Ginger Tinney, Norman

Note: GingerTinney is executive director of Professional Oklahoma Educators (POE), a nonprofit, nonunion, professional educators association serving thousands of Oklahoma teachers across the state.  POE works to increase the respect and professionalism of the teaching profession and provides liability coverage, legal services and other benefits to members. 

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