Conversation With David Coleman

Michael Farris, co-founder of Home School Legal Defense Association, has been an out spoken opponent of Common Core. Recently he had a conversation with David Coleman, leader in the Common Core Standards.  Farris posted a letter to members of HSLDA describing his conversation:

I told Mr. Coleman that the point of the story was this: Just because you have a good idea (homeschooling in my case, Common Core in his case), it doesn’t mean that it is appropriate to force everyone in the country to follow your idea. And that is my central problem with the Common Core and all forms of centralized educational planning. To his credit, Mr. Coleman noted that he was not acting in a vacuum. There are centralized mandates for education in play virtually everywhere. And many of them have very marginal educational utility. I agreed with his assessment of many current centralized standards.

However, my response was that the solution is not a national set of standards, but allowing each state to develop its own standards. Competing standards from all 50 states would be likely to create more innovations–although my clear preference is to do away with all forms of centralized government standards. (I believe that public schools
should form their own local standards.)

When he asked me why I thought that the Common Core was worse than other standards, I indicated that one of my chief concerns was the creation of the database that would track students throughout their educational career.  His answer surprised me. He didn’t like the database all that well. It was not originally part of the Common Core, but other people have seized the opportunity to make a centralized data collection effort through the implementation of the Common Core.


This article was posted in Blog by Bob Luebke on July 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm.

Comments (1)

  • I have two problems with David Coleman’s answers.

    First, while true that there are already many centralized mandates in education, it is not a justification to add one more. Worse, it opened up — for he first time — the CONTENT of what is being taught in the classroom to centralized control. That’s not just another tweak to IDEA or Title I fund allocation — that’s a big deal and a huge enabler for potential federal control.

    Which brings me to my second point. If you create a huge lever for centralized control, do you think that the federal bureaucracy will not use it? Which is exactly what it did with funding centralized testing, collecting everybody’s data, and tying NCLB flex waivers to it. People who don’t understand how the federal government operates should not be crafting national standards.

    In other words, these are not “unintended” or “unpredictable” consequences. There were intended, and they were predictable. Perhaps not by David Coleman, but certainly by the people who set him up to do the job.

    Ze’ev Wurman
    Ze'ev Wurman Jul 31, 2013 at 16:07

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