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April 4 2016

Is Common Core Already Dead?

Charlotte Hays

Quote of the Day:

If you’re glued to the trashy, monotonous 2016 horserace, just like the presidential candidates still insisting they will end Common Core you will have missed that the cornerstone of President Obama’s education policy has already become a tombstone. That’s right: Common Core is dead.

--Joy Pullmann at The Federalist

I have to confess that Common Core has confounded me. Its defenders say that the bizarre reading choices in a Common Core appendix (one suggested reading option is a technical is a document from the Environmental Protection Agency!) aren't mandatory--just ideas on things to assign for reading comprehension. It's hard to pin down Common Core.

But so many parents have objected so strenuously that Pullman, a research fellow at the Heartland Institute and a leader in the battle against Common Core, is probably right when she says that the latest educational fad is on its last legs. Pullmann writes:

Common Core’s failure should indict every single Common Core cheerleader and prompt a revival of genuine education reforms we’ve known for decades would actually help children but aren’t sexy to the consultant class that makes a living as “education innovators” (i.e. experimenting on children for fun and profit).

Forgive my cynicism, but if Common Core taught me anything, it’s that the people running American education don’t learn from failure. Sorry, kids! Too bad you’re sitting ducks for people who like to experiment yet have the power to ruin your lives!

First—since it’s the most important, even though politics gets greater attention—let’s discuss the already visible failures of Common Core’s academic content. It includes the “art-centered” math the parents complain about in the Buzzfeed video (which substantive research has shown is less effective than traditional methods), but is far bigger than that.

Brookings Institution's annual report on education indicates that kids are actually receiving worse instruction because of Common Core in two aspects of education: the increase in nonfiction assignments (EPA document over a novel), and in a decline of eighth graders taking algebra. The National Assessment of Educational Progress test also indicates that Common Core is falling far short of its promises. (Common Core supporters are now suggesting that the NAEP be made easier!)

The testing regime that was supposed to provide national standards has become a shambles:

Remember, Bill Gates, Common Core’s major funder, said in a speech to state lawmakers: “When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well.” Initially, 46 states signed up for these tests, which were supposed to create a network of national tests that would end “apples to oranges” comparisons of student achievement across state lines (that entire line of argument was a crock anyway, because NAEP has allowed an apples-to-apples comparison for now 24 years).

Common Core tests’ rapid (and predictable) disintegration has negated politicians’ central justification for the (unconstitutional) federal requirement that states give annual math and reading tests: “public accountability.” That’s because it’s impossible to compare Common Core test results to those that came before them. It would have been possible had educrats cared enough about accountability to require the proper testing translations, but they didn’t. Common Core test results cannot even be compared to themselves yet because they have not generated enough reliable data.

Parents who are involved with their kids' education have responded by, when possible, making sacrifices to pay for private schools or homeschooling:

Local and state homeschool leaders are telling local media that Common Core is driving much of that expansion: “The uptick in homeschooling has become a trend across the nation over the past couple of years, even in states like New York and California,” Eagle Forum’s Glyn Wright told FoxNews.com. “Americans have rejected the Common Core initiative because they are tired of unaccountable federal bureaucracy, especially when it comes to their child’s education, and because they are seeing first-hand the poor quality and content of the Standards that are meant to prepare children for the workforce instead of giving them a well-rounded, superior education.”

The depressing thing about Common Core is that it was always nothing an educationist's expensive dream. It has lots of bells and whistles. Adoption of such practices as diagramming sentences, memorizing poetry, or learning math tables seems so mundane by comparison. But in the past the practices worked. I have a dreadful feeling that instead simply doing such simple and unglamorous things, the educatition establishment will come up with another expensive fiasco the minute it is clear that Common Core is dead.  



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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