BY: B. Keith Plunkett @Keithplunkett

In an opinion published January 8, the Sun Herald Editorial Board continued a campaign of disinformation about Common Core. This persistence on the part of some newspapers in Mississippi, the Northeast Daily Journal is another, might be called lazy reporting were it not for the fact that reams of paper and thousands of research articles and commentaries by education specialists across the country had presented evidence to show reason to be concerned. Much of that evidence has been collected and presented by Mississippians.

The information is available should the media want to see it. In fact, I will go one step further and say they know it’s there and they likely have seen it. But many “journalists” today are more about promotion of the profession and, as the Sun Herald Editorial Board writes, “pointing out” what is and is not, rather than uncovering the truth.

The members of MS Senate Conservative Coalition sent a detailed list of questions to Supt. Carey Wright’s predecessor and the Board of Education about Common Core over a year ago. There was never a response by the media to engage on those points. I know of no instance where any of them asked one single question of educators that is on the list.

The Sun Herald Editorial Board wrote:

Our schools should not become casualties on the political battleground. Nor should Common Core.

As we and others have pointed out repeatedly, Common Core is simply a set of higher academic standards to help make Mississippi students more competitive.

It is decidedly not a curriculum, much less one being forced on the state by federal officials or bureaucrats.

Yet Common Core has become a matter of outrageous self-righteousness for some Magnolia State politicians who’ve never put together a lesson plan but who think they know more about education that the school superintendents and boards of education and teachers who actually operate our public schools.

If there are specific objections to Common Core standards, let them be raised in the education committees in the state House and Senate and dealt with as what they are — an academic issue, not a political one.

If there are specific concerns about a particular school district’s curriculum, then those concerns should be raised with that district’s superintendent and board, not with the Legislature. That is the essence of local control of our public schools. Neither Washington nor Jackson dictates the curriculum used in Mississippi classrooms from Byhalia to Biloxi or between Natchez and Tupelo.

The difference between standards and curriculum is so wide you could park a school bus in the gap.

The lack of inquiry by the media on the subject of Common Core shows clearly a breach of trust on the subject. But it takes a step further into propaganda when condemning “politicians” for making this a political issue when the media themselves have refused to investigate the concerns and ask the tough questions. Isn’t that what they are supposed to do?

Remember, just a year ago very few “politicians” were willing to stand against Common Core. The reason they do today is because of parents and community leaders stepping up to fight, and recognizing that their questions weren’t being answered.

Unlike many other political issues of our day, those who stand against Common Core didn’t enjoy the help of a sustained, well-funded PR campaign. They have conducted their own research and asked their own questions. They have raised the questions with “district Superintendents and boards” as the Sun Herald suggests. What parents have found is that the local education officials who will speak with them point to Jackson and the state dept of Ed.

The issue has been made political because of the unwillingness of both local educators and many in the media to ask tough questions about Common Core’s academic worth. Why? Because to dig too deep may show this for what everyone, even those who support it, know it really is.

A few weeks ago a writer in Oxford summed up the support behind Common Core very well and a reason the media supports it. He wrote that if education was a profession, then we should leave it to the professionals.

To bureaucrats, people–parents and children–are just consumers to be hand fed what the “professionals” decide; to be marketed to, herded into groups of standardized humans.

That we would dare fight against the self-ordained “professionals” superior knowledge to decide for ourselves what is best for our families, that we would dare study and question the schemes designed to control us, is a strike against all presumptions upon which they have built their careers.

Be forewarned. We are just getting started.

About Keith: Keith Plunkett has worked on communications and policy issues with a range of public officials from aldermen to Congressmen, and a variety of businesses, government agencies and non-profits. He serves or has served as a board member of several non-profit, civic and political organizations. Contact him by going to or follow him on Twitter @Keithplunkett


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