February 1, 2015

Conservative radio host Bill Bennett on Sunday explained to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) that he he was only hurting his state by rejecting education standards in Common Core.

Fox News host Chris Wallace pointed out to Abbott that even though the governor opposed Common Core, Texas had set up its own education standards which overlapped with the suggested curriculum.

"Your state of Texas got an overall grade of C minus and ranked 39th among the 50 states," Wallace observed. "Meanwhile, the top nine states, in terms of their performance, governor, all have adopted Common Core."

Abbott argued that the correct approach for education was to have "genuine local control" and to improve schools "from the bottom up."

Bennett, however, said that it was a myth that states and local governments would not set school curriculum under Common Core.

"You've got local control, you decided that Common Core wouldn't be in Texas so it's not in Texas," Bennett remarked. "And Texas can teach math any way it wants, but what Texas can't do is change the nature of mathematics and what mathematical reasoning and mathematical sequence becomes."

"I've got to strenuously disagree with that," Abbott shot back. "And this is going to be easy, frankly. I hope all your viewers will go to Google and plug in '9 + 6 Common Core.' And when you do that, if you just plug in '9 + 6 Common Core,' you will find a video that shows the way that math is taught under Common Core."

Abbott was most likely referring to a WGRZ video that has been popular on conservative media outlets. In the video report, a teacher explains one method for teaching elementary school children how to add "9+6" to reach the expected result of 15.

"Wait, wait, wait!" Fox News host Chris Wallace exclaimed. "Put me out of my misery because I would think 9+6 is 15. So, what's the deal?"

"You would think so," Abbott replied. "And when you plug in '9 + 6 Common Core,' you will find that it's going to take you more than a minute to see how a teacher teaches a student to learn how to add 9+6. These are the Common Core standards that are now being pushed down from the top that we must get away from."

"Is that true?" Wallace asked Bennett.

"If it's crazy, I'm going to tell you that it probably isn't Common Core," Bennett, who had not seen the video, noted. "It's probably one of these myths that's developed. We understand why it has developed."

"Here's what the audience can do," the radio host recommended. "Download the standards themselves, the Common Core standards. That's what they did in Idaho, that's what they did in Utah. And they said to the citizens, 'Do you have any objection to any of this?' Not what someone said the standards were, not what Google reported, not what some citizens group decided what Common Core, but the actual standards themselves."

"They are public, and anybody can examine those standards. You tell me what's wrong with saying kids should learn how to parse and diagram sentences, memorize, read the Declaration of Independence? That's what I want to know."

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