Common Core was a common theme during the Republican primary for the School Superintendent’s race. Richard Woods pulled out a narrow victory utilizing a staunch anti-common core message. We now have an opportunity to see how his stance plays out with the general public as he faces up against Democrat Valarie Wilson, a strong proponent of common core.
Wilson has not backed down on her support of Common Core throughout her campaign. She also is not afraid to let the General Assembly know her feelings about the possible negative repercussions of replacing Common Core standards. From her campaign website:
The Common Core is a set of strong standards that will help our students to compete in the global labor market. Legislators’ efforts to replace these evidence-based standards with home-grown guidelines will hurt our students and could contribute to an exodus of educators from the public system.
Wilson sent out an email today to further support her position on Common Core and to address some of the issues often raised against it:
I’ve been across this state talking to educators, members of the military, university leaders and business executives, and what I’ve heard from them is to please stay the course with Common Core. Common Core standards are designed such that they are rigorous and teach our children to think critically and problem solve and are important factors in preparing our children for success in today’s global economy.
The problem, however, isn’t necessarily the standards, it’s been the implementation and the lack of support for teachers who have been tasked with teaching yet another set of standards. In this resource-challenged time, it’s difficult for districts to provide the professional development that educators need around implementation – this is a big issue, which is why we must restore funding that’s been cut over the years.
Additionally, the support for parents hasn’t been there, so there’s a fear that they can’t help their children with their homework. School districts must open their doors and invite parents in. We have to provide parents with the necessary support and tools so that they can help their children succeed in all subjects
That’s where the Department of Education comes in – we need to bring our educators to the table to be part of the development process so they can better implement the standards. We also need to be that resource for families; we must help them help their children.
Many political pundits see Wilson as the strongest opportunity for the Democrats to take a statewide office from the Republicans. Will her views on Common Core ultimately help or hurt her campaign? We may find out Tuesday.