Saturday, May 12, 2012

Meet a Common Problem in Public Education

Meet A Common Core Problem

 in Public Education

In a conversation with co-founder of, Dr. Robert Valiant said, 
"Some of are here because we are against Common Core State Standards (I am one.)  Some of us are here because we are against high stakes testing (I am one.) or vouchers (I am one.)... you get the point."  
What we need is for every one of these people to stand up in a collective voice and say "NO."

If you are against vouchers, standardized testing, or any piece of the federal government plan to dismantle public education which replaces autonomous decisions-making with the hands of private corporations,  please take time to research the articles below.  You will find that common core is like a keystone that holds all the other stones in place.

Controlling Education From the Top
Why Common Core Is Bad for America

Why the Common Core Is Bad for America

1. Manner of creation and propagation

Common Standards & Assessments the Antithesis of Progressive Values

The development of common standards and shared assessments radically alters the market for innovation in curriculum development, professional development, and formative assessments. Previously, these markets operated on a state-by-state basis, and often on a district-by-district basis. But the adoption of common standards and shared assessments means that education entrepreneurs will enjoy national markets where the best products can be taken to scale.

Gates, Pearson Partner to Craft Common-Core Curricula

2. Mediocre quality
There is little evidence in the form of refereed research to support the authoritarian standards and high-stakes movement.  Even without research that shows some positive effects on student learning, non-teaching educators and elected officials and lobbyists have led the charge to create a top-down system of schooling rooted in old time behavioristic psychology.  They talk a good game by saying that the common standards define 21st century skills, but 19th century learning theory defines their pedagogy.

Yong Zhao in Conversation: Education Should Liberate, Not Indoctrinate

It's an expensive and futile exercise that will likely cause more damages in terms of narrowing the curriculum and leading to more teaching to the test. ---Dr. Yong Zhao
Over my more than 50 years in public education I’ve come to know young children pretty well, and I am sure that 8-9 years olds are not ready to “describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect,” as decreed by one of the standards for third-grade readers of informational text.

3. Illegal direction of curriculum and usurpation of state autonomy

Troubling: ALEC Delays Decision on ‘Common Core’ Education Standards American Principles Project

Naming the de facto national standards the "Common Core" was a political/advertising decision. Since a national curriculum is specifically prohibited by law, the reform machine tossed the ball into the NGA's court, with the intention of creating national--oops, "common" "core" standards (using the power of two rhetorically persuasive words), followed by common core assessments (soon to be rolled out, funded by $350 million in federal monies) and finally--

Gates and Pearson are now working on a "common core" on-line curriculum, to complete the trifecta.Here's somebody who thinks that's a good idea:

4. Vague and unaccountable governance
It is not clear what governance structure will be created in the future to address issues related to the Standards. What is clear is that the Standards are owned and copyrighted by nongovernmental entities unaccountable to parents and students in individual states.
 I wonder how often the common core folks will want to re-do their standards? There is a reason a shampoo bottle directions say "lather, rinse, repeat" and it's not because it's good for your hair.
5. Costs
National Cost of Aligning States and Localities to the  Common Core Standards

Implementing Common Core Could Cost States $30 Billion

Common Core Standards Cost Exceeds RTTT Stimulus Funds

Cost of Common Core Standards will be $800 million in California, $300 million in Washington state

6. Threats to student and family privacy
The federal Department of Education (the “Department”) is using the Standards and the assessments as vehicles to mandate the construction of massive state student databases. 

Privacy Issues and State Longitudinal Data Systems

Basically, the student longitudinal database will 'house' data on every student and data may be shared with research organizations and government agencies, some of which without parent consent due to a regulatory change made by the US DOE last year that went into effect Jan. 2012. Duncan claims that student data is safer than ever. Really? Read the news on data breaches? And privacy issues? There is no protection or legal remedy for the person once their privacy has been breached. The feds can "sanction" the offending organization. Big deal, right. 

Top Ten Things to Study About Common Core

The wrong lesson on national standards

Not Common. Not Core, Either.

For policy-makers, the Common Core Everything is a do-able accomplishment, unlike, say, effectively addressing childhood poverty or cultural disrespect for education. It's a tangible outcome--a deliverable, wrapped in a overblown rhetorical promise that this massive expenditure will yield measurable results. And there's no guarantee. But--full speed ahead.
As Claudia Swisher says-- veteran teachers can and will adapt. But the reason we're adapting has little to do with creating exciting, rich curriculum, updated for the21st-century kids we serve. And everything to do with providing work for well-connected education entrepreneurs, keeping the educational machine rolling forward.

Common Core. Dismantling Indianapolis, science NAEP. Listen here.

Progressive edreform radio the Chalk Face. Were back Sunday at 6PM EST chatting about the Project School in Indianapolis the Common Core again and maybe a little bit about the recent NAEP science results.

My opinion of common crap standards (warning: contains offensive language)


  1. Nicely done. I will archive a link to this in Dump Duncan Docs and the same in the Dump Duncan Forum on Common Core

  2. Gives a quick overview of a complicated initiative in a way that can reach parents, community members, and taxpayers.

  3. What I find so interesting is the lack of debate this had when they were all passed in states. I went to Education Nation here in Colorado and it's the best thing in the world. Parents think it's a great idea, the reporters polls were saying. It's all about inquiry and critical thinking. . . that's how Common Core is being sold.
    Thanks for all of this info. Horace.