Business and education groups are expected to be in Columbus this week to defend the state’s Common Core curriculum in house hearings.
House Bill 597 would repeal the K through 12 educational standards, which are set to go into effect this school year—opponents see the standards as federal overreach. But business groups like the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce have been on board ever since Ohio passed its version of the standards in 2010.
“You have to have a floor for standards, and it has to be a strong floor,” says Chris Kershner, VP of Public Policy and Economic Development for the DACC. “The Common Core is the minimum standards that states can implement across the country.”
Kershner says companies depend on schools for a certain key part of the supply chain in an increasingly competitive global market. “The business community is the consumer of the educational product. Students are the educational product. They are going through the education system so that they can be an attractive product for business to consume and hire as a workforce in the future.”
Certainly some specific companies will benefit: for example, two national private testing companies, ETS and Pearson, are contracted to create the new tests for Ohio and 12 other states, and companies are bidding now on related technology contracts. But contrary to what some opponents have argued, the curriculum isn’t federally regulated and states aren’t required to purchase certain books or lessons.
Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.