The camera-shy Sasquatch has eluded Bigfoot hunters for generations as veritable proof of the creature’s existence has yet to be presented. Undeniable evidence of the Skunk-Ape, as he is known in the swamps of Florida, would convince the public that this “Bigfoot” creature of legend is not a myth. Urban legends and myths are fascinating, in part, due to their ambiguity and the inability to prove them true or untrue.
However, I find that many myths exist about the Common Core State Standards despite the ability to easily find verifiable facts about these new standards. One does not need to camp deep in a dark forest for a mythical creature stakeout to find some basic truths about the Common Core. Despite this, the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, recently reinforced several of these C.C.S.S. myths when he openly questioned the federal government’s role in the implementation and assessment of these new standards. The Governor explains on his website, “I told the federal government we are rejecting their overreach into our state education system by withdrawing from PARCC [CCSS assessment].” Amazingly, though, Florida’s Department of Education website has a link titled, “Demystifying the Movement: Answers to Common Myths about the Common Core State Standards.” As Governor Scott attempts to “mystify” the new standards by questioning federal involvement, the state’s own website debunks his obvious politicizing by stating, “The federal government does not have a hand in development of the aligned assessments pertaining to CCSS.”
I understand the concerns of over-testing our students and the amount these assessments are costing states. To that end, I maintain that we need to create cost-efficient and effective measures of students’ learning regardless of the standards that we are implementing in our schools. This unmistakable challenge should transcend political finger-pointing and remains unmet nationally, in states that have and have not adopted the Common Core State Standards.
Regardless of political affiliations, educational stakeholders-from state legislators to administrators and teachers-have a responsibility to all schoolchildren to illuminate facts about these new standards, not to introduce Sasquatch, Bigfoot, or our beloved Floridian, the Skunk-Ape to the discussion.