August 1, 2014


Common Core Has a Messaging Problem. It Also Has a Real Problem. (Daniel Luzer, 8/01/14, Washingtoin Monthly)

The first (objection), from conservatives, is the idea that the initiative represents some intrusion of federal power into education.

It does not. All federally backed education reform ideas, from No Child Left Behind to Race to the Top, to Common Core, comes from the money provided by the federal government through Title I, which delivers free and reduced lunch to poor children. It's a voluntary program. States are free to avoid any federal education mandates by not taking Title I money. (Common Core is a little more complicated since 45 states have already agreed to the standards, but constitutionally it's the same.)

The second, from liberals and teachers, is just that the reform will tie teacher evaluation closely to unreliable standardized tests and, in the words of Karen Wolfe over at LA Progressive, it is an,

education reform agenda with its call to deregulate schools as a public good, and destabilize labor unions which have historically been huge supporters of the Democratic party.
Well yes, but that's a trend that's far bigger than Common Core and, indeed, even education. Deregulation of public goods and the elimination of organized labor has been going on for decades.

McCkuskey, however, raises a more fundamental objection: it's just not going to work. As he writes:

For the most part, [advocates] ...simply assert that the Common Core represents high standards, and that's what we need to vault near top place in the world educational and economic competition. This ignores the major empirical evidence I and many others have brought against the Core, and national standards generally, showing that standards - much less the Core itself - have demonstrated no such power.

Holding all children to national standards is useful in that it would allow easy comparison between states, and provide a common idea of where students are falling short. That's vaguely progressive in that it might allow schools to identify problems, but it won't actually fix them.

Posted by at August 1, 2014 10:17 PM

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