By Jonathan Andrews
Lansing Township News
LANSING TOWNSHIP – The Common Core plan for Michigan schools is a touchy subject with politicians in the state so at a debate for the 71st Michigan House seat on October 23 it was the main focus. Tom Barrett-R and Representative Theresa Abed-D debated how to properly address the Common Core plan at a place where it was most appropriate: Waverly High School.
“It’s important that the kids are involved in the process,” said Calvin Jones, a trustee of the Waverly School Board and the man whose idea it was to make the happen in the first place. “These kids need to understand that their education is no longer free.”
As soon as the lunch bell rang the students came flooding into the conference room, where Barrett and Abed went around introducing themselves to the students. When introductions ended the questions began, with topics ranging from personal life experiences to energy issues in Michigan.
Barrett won the coin toss and started to explain his rough experiences in the U.S. Army where he told tales of hardship in Iraq where he “lost some friends in the war.” To lighten this he added that the food was a little better than the school lunches.
Abed followed up with her own hardships of being laid off from her job and having to raise her daughter during this time in her life. She added that we all have obstacles but it’s about how we deal with them to help the students deal with their own hardships.
A recurring theme during this debate was the Common Core Standards Initiative which is a highly debated education plan that is supposed to “prepare America’s students for success” according to it’s website. Both candidates said the problem with the Common Core is that it ends up cutting things that students need in order to learn other trades and skills that are being passed over. By this they mean the classes that teach students real world skills such as woodshop, home economy, and other elective courses.
Common Core was a heated topic especially since Abed has been accused of voting in favor of the initiative. She cleared this up by explaining what happened with the vote on the Common Core; that the rest of the Michigan House of Representatives stripped the amendments she had wanted and that there was no roll call vote meaning no names attached to the votes.
Going one-step further she added that they also shut off her microphone when she went to speak against it at the vote. To add to this Abed said “I am against the Common Core.”
While the Common Core took up most of the focus of the debate, students were told they could email the candidates.
As the students filed out to their next class as both candidates initiated a round of applause to the students for the amazing questions.