The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 22, 2013

Other Views: Anti-Washington bias leads to foolish choices

The Hutchinson News

— The so-called "Common Core" educational standards that Kansas has adopted for its K-12 curriculum may have shortcomings, but simply because they were created at the national level isn't a reason on its own to junk them barely two years into their implementation.

But rejecting anything that comes out of Washington is a troubling trend in Kansas politics.

Common Core standards were the answer to what seemed to be nearly universal distaste for "No Child Left Behind," and their adoption is at state's prerogative. Kansas chose to go to Common Core along with almost all other states in the country.

Yet some legislators think they know what's best for public education and have introduced a bill to force the Kansas State Board of Education to scrap Common Core. Last week they brought forth two supposed experts to testify to the wisdom of this — including one from Texas, which has become the model for everything good in state government, by some Kansas leaders' estimation. Has anyone looked at Texas' educational success lately?

Wariness of the federal government was their common message. A former member of the Massachusetts State Board of Education said that Common Core downplayed the study of literature in favor of informational nonfiction texts, reducing the development of critical thinking skills. That might be a legitimate complaint, but then she went on to say: "I would never trust any bureaucrat in Washington."

What's not to trust here? No one much liked No Child, so states — including Kansas — developed Common Core, and Kansas voluntarily adopted it. As for other alleged deficiencies, those are addressed online at

That it came from Washington so it must be bad is a simplistic and foolish basis on which to make decisions. Lawmakers themselves should apply more critical thinking than that.

The Hutchinson News, Feb. 18