Common core inevitibly coming to California

Taylor Pagan, Staff member

Both California State Superintendent of Public Instruction candidates, Tom Torlakson and Marshall Tuck, plan to fully implement the controversial Common Core State Standards in 2015.

The United States Common Core initiative implements the same educational standards state-to-state by creating an outlined set of learning requirements for each K-12 grade. Although the Common Core is not federally mandated, it is federally supported and encouraged with financial incentives. Though some favor such a system, others protest it.

Those pro-Common Core believe, as the California Department of Education states it on their website (, “Having the same standards helps all students get a good education, even if they change schools or move to a different state.”

Those anti-Common Core believe, as the Californians United Against Common Core states it on their website (, “Common Core is a top-down, big federal government education program with nationalized, one-size-fits-all, untested standards.”

Diablo Valley College political science Department Chair Scott Macdougall supports the Common Core initiative.

“It’s not an unreasonable thing to have,” Macdougall said. “The reality is that students compete not just with students from Nevada or Oregon, they compete with students from China and Germany. The idea that the United States shouldn’t have a common system of education that will prepare all of our citizens for that global competition, from my vantage point, seems kind of silly.”

However, DVC student Katherine Rodgers, a 21-year-old biology major, said that the Common Core is an infringement of the 10th amendment state rights.

“The federal government shouldn’t impose policies on a whole nation,” Rodgers said. “It is so large. They can’t possibly encompass the needs of all the people involved in the education system through their policies.”

As of now, the Common Core only pertains to the subjects of math and English. However, incumbent Torlakson plans to further the already existing standards if re-elected.

“As California moves to implement these standards, we will also need to examine how our standards and curriculum frameworks in other subject areas can be made compatible with the Common Core, ” Torlakson said on his campaign website (

The Common Core was adopted in California in 2010, the same year Torlakson came into office. However, the key funding legislation didn’t pass until 2013.

“The newly-adopted Common Core Standards initiative focuses on the skills needed for success in college and careers,” Torlakson said on his campaign website ( “These standards provide an opportunity for the higher education and K-12 systems to collaboratively design a more thoughtful and streamlined curriculum and assessment system that connects high school to postsecondary learning and employment opportunities.”

On the other hand, first time running candidate Tuck, who has a background in expanding charter schools, said that a flexible school system is the ideal. Tuck said that the California Education Code, a 2,300 page piece of legislation, governs way too many details in California school systems.

“Principals, teachers and other school site personnel know their students best,” Tuck said on his campaign website (, “They- and not the bureaucrats in Sacramento- should be empowered to day-today decisions that impact student learning.”

However, Tuck said he, like Torlakson, also plans on fully implementing the Common Core standards if elected.

“I will work with the Legislature and others in Sacramento to make sure it is understood that schools need multi-year support for additional professional development for the Common Core so that the standards can help our kids compete in a 21st century global economy,” he said on his campaign website (, “Moving forward, the state’s focus must be on effective implementation of the new standards.”

With two Common Core supporters up for election this Nov. 4, Californians, despite the ongoing opposition of some, can expect to see further implementation of these standards.