Campaign tactics undermine mission of education group
The Oklahoman Editorial
STAND for Children’s mission statement declares that the national group wants “to ensure that all children, regardless of their background, graduate from high school prepared for, and with access to, a college education.” That’s a worthy goal and a high standard. The organization’s Oklahoma chapter needs to meet a high standard as well for transparency.
In Oklahoma, Stand for Children is primarily known for supporting Common Core academic standards in English and math. The group was among Common Core’s most vocal defenders this year before lawmakers ultimately voted to repeal the standards. Among other things, Stand for Children officials laudably and truthfully warned that repeal could cost Oklahoma its federal waiver from the No Child Left Behind law. Without the waiver, schools failing to meet certain student-achievement benchmarks could lose control of up to 20 percent of Title I funds, federal cash used for low-income children. More than 1,700 of 1,784 Oklahoma schools didn’t meet those benchmarks.
Lawmakers repealed the standards. The state lost its NCLB waiver. And increased federal control of state school spending remains a strong possibility.
Unfortunately, Stand for Children’s subsequent campaign efforts didn’t reflect the same credibility as its policymaking arguments. This year, the group was active in several legislative races, primarily through ads and mailers attacking incumbents. That’s fair enough. Lawmakers should be held accountable for their record. They should never be given a free pass due to incumbency.
But Stand for Children’s attacks were often misleading, ultimately undermining the organization’s credibility.