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Opening Arguments

A common story

Those of us who have been arguing for years to keep strong local control of education should probably give up the cause and move on to something else -- that fight has been lost. Guess Scott Schneider didn't get the memo, though:

An effort to force Indiana to withdraw from "common core" education standards failed Wednesday, but the bill's sponsor promised to try to revive it.

Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, said he was concerned Indiana was signing on to national standards that did not measure up to standards the state previously had.

"It concerns me enough that I will continue to press on," he said after the Senate Education Committee defeated his bill 6-4.

The common core is an effort led by governors in 46 states, including Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, to agree to follow the same educational standards and, eventually, create common tests to measure whether kids are meeting them. The Indiana State Board of Education adopted the common core standards in 2010 and are phasing them in.

Some might argue -- well, some have argued -- that these really aren't "national" standards since they originated with the governors and state education departments themselves. But the intent was a national standard, and that's the effect, too, which will lead inevitably to a national curriculum. Says a Hoover Institution scholar quoted in the story, "I think it's an immaculate deception to say that because federal government did not give birth to these national standards, the curriculum around the country and in Indiana will remain independent of national control."

And the story doesn't mention it, but this all started with the federal government. The common core movement began when states started talking about how to meet the standards of President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act. And it really picked up steam as states geared up to compete for a share of $3.4 billion in grants that was part of President OBama's Race to the Top legislaton. It's the same old story. Dangle a little money in front of us, and watch the accumulation of power at the top.