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Craig Calls Common Core “Great Mistake,” Lowery defends Standards

Yesterday Harford County Executive, and Republican gubernatorial candidate David Craig,called Maryland’s adoption of Common Core “wasn’t a mistake, it was a great mistake.”  Meanwhile Maryland’s Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery dismissed criticisms of the standards.

Forty-six states have adopted the controversial Common Core Standards, which have many parents and Tea Party groups concerned about the quality of education students receive and student privacy.  Maryland’s adoption of Common Core and the data collection the state agreed to in its Race to the Top application has raised serious concerns.

In an interview with the Dagger Press, Craig, widely considered the GOP frontrunner, said the only reason Maryland adopted Common Core was to obtain federal Race to the Top funds and questioned if those funds would even reach the classroom.

Craig, a former teacher, also called Common Core an unfunded mandate that would cost Harford County up to $6 million to purchase the proper technology and train teachers.

“If I’m governor, we won’t have to pay for it because we won’t do it,” Criag said.

Maryland Superintendent of Schools, Lillian Lowery, defended Common Core to WBAL Radio.

“I just don’t know where this is coming from. The Common Core curriculum is just replacing what we have. The student data bases that we have, are the student data bases that we’ve always had,” Lowery told WBAL News.

 

However, as Watchdog Wire Maryland reported the student databases are not the same student databases “we’ve always had.” One of the strings attached to Maryland’s acceptance of federal stimulus funds in 2009 was that the state was required to build a broad state longitudinal data system.

In fact, the law creating the Maryland Longitudinal Data Center, an independent state agency, was signed into law just three years ago.  The Maryland Longitudinal Data System has been an evolving project since 2009 and as a part of adopting Common Core the data collection project is increasing in size and scope.

Lowery told WBAL Radio, “We have firewalls over firewalls. We’re very meticulous about the confidentiality of our students.”

That may be so, but the Federal Department of Education’s regulatory changes to the Family Educational Privacy Act, allowing the department to share data it receives from the states with anyone they deem an “authorized representative, has made those firewalls the functional equivalent of the Maginot Line.

Furthermore, a recent legislative audit of the Maryland State Department of Education found inadequate controls over securing critical firewalls and monitoring network traffic.

Mark Newgent

Mark Newgent is the editor of Watchdog Wire - Maryland, and a contributing editor to Red Maryland, the premiere blog of conservative politics in the Free State, voted one of the best state political blogs by the Washington Post two years in a row. His writing has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Washington Examiner, National Review Online, and more. Contact: Maryland@WatchdogWire.com, Twitter: @MarkNewgent

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