Update: Finally! An thoughtful piece about why Common Core is failing (and likely will be weakened). It's by Jay P. Greene at Education Next and he has it right.
Supporters of Common Core have made some of the same political
mistakes that opponents of gay marriage did. They figured if they could
get the US Department of Education, DC-based organizations, and state
school chiefs on board, they would have a direct and definitive victory.
And at first blush it looked like they had achieved it, with about 45
states committing to adopt the new set of standards and
federally-sponsored standardized tests aligned to those standards. Like
opponents of gay marriage, the Common Core victory seemed so
overwhelming that they hardly felt the need to engage in debates to defend it.
But in the rush to a clear and total victory, supporters of Common
Core failed to consider how the more than 10,000 school districts, more
than 3 million teachers, and the parents of almost 50 million students
would react. For standards to actually change practice, you need a lot
of these folks on board. Otherwise Common Core, like most past standards, will just be a bunch of empty words in a document.
It’s not as if local officials, educators, and parents are unaware of
the existence of informational texts or just waiting to be told by
national elites about when they should start teaching Algebra. They
have interests and values that drove them to the arrangements that were
in place prior to Common Core.
Having the Secretary of Education, state boards, and a bunch of DC
advocacy groups declare a particular approach to be best and cram it
into place in the middle of a financial crisis with virtually no public debate
or input from educators or parents did not convince local officials,
educators, and parents to change their minds. These are the folks who
need to be on board to make the implementation of Common Core real. And
these are the folks who are organizing a political backlash that will
undo or neuter Common Core.
A direct path to victory by Common Core
supporters sowed the seeds of its own defeat.
To which I say:
Too many of our public education reforms are coming from people who have what I call, "I'm the smartest person in the room" syndrome.
Keep the "public" in public education or your outcomes will NOT be what you think they will be.
Power to the people (right on).
End of update.
I'd been meaning to do this for awhile but every single day - in multiple news outlets - there are stories about Common Core. I occasionally see some "good news" ones but frankly, those mostly come from Gates Foundation funded groups (or more often than not, seriously, in Forbes magazine).
Let's be clear - this is not some small-scale, scattered uprising. It is happening everywhere in this country and there are those with a lot to lose. The loss is time, effort, resources and, of course, revenues.
Never, ever doubt the will of people who have a lot of money to lose.
Problem is, you can never, ever doubt the will of parents to protect their children. And voters to protect constitutional guarantees.
Quite the deathmatch, no?
Here' the latest one that caught my eye. This weekend was the "New Hampshire Freedom Summit" co-sponsored by no other than the Koch brothers and their "Americans for Prosperity" group. (I know I make Bill Gates sound like a problem - these brothers are magnitudes of scale much worse and more dangerous to public education and this country. I'm not kidding.)
This story was in service to the idea that the Bushes as a political family are going to have a fight on their hands if they push Jeb Bush (but I'm going out on a limb - right now in 2014 - to say the next Bush with a real chance is Jeb's son. He's also - God help us - another George Bush. Young, smart and part Hispanic.)
So the "summit" was a round-up of likely conservative candidates for the 2016 Republican nomination for president. And a more hilarious bunch you cannot find - Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, etc. (Honestly, I think the next election will be more fun than a chameleon in a bag of Skittles.)
And what got criticized a lot? Common Core. One House Representative said, "We need to replace Common Core with some common sense."
NBC’s Kasie Hunt says Common Core was the loudest applause line at the confab.
The Bushes support Common Core education standards, but at the New
Hampshire Freedom Summit, Common Core is seen as a dangerous part of a
This was also noted:
The Bush administration launched expansive government surveillance
programs as part of a sweeping counter-terrorism agenda, but at the New
Hampshire Freedom Summit, the right has suddenly decided it finds such
Well, if conservatives don't like expansive government surveillance programs, they are NOT going to like the tracking their kids in public schools from preschool to 20 a la Duncan's new idea. (Works for me as that will only gain more calls for student data privacy.)
So what else is new with CC? (I'll also have a "learning about CC" roundup soon.)
- will the uprising against Common Core be news for the mid-term elections?
"You really have a populist reaction, and that's true on the left and
the right," says Tom Loveless, a senior fellow with the Brown Center on
Education Policy at Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C.
"Those populist candidates are running against the Common Core, and they
are going to say Washington is interfering with children's schooling
and that teachers, parents and principals at the local level are better
equipped to decide on what kids learn," he said.
Indeed, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who faces a primary challenge
from four candidates, wasn't even aware of the Common Core when asked
about it at a Republican Party meeting last year.
Now do I ever quote or even believe much of what Fox News has to say? I do not. But on this point - a populist uprising against Common Core is happening - they do happen to be correct.
- what is happening legislatively - state by state? Here's a handy round-up of bills from Ed Week. (Does not include all the student data privacy bills rising up from Common Core including NY State, Georgia, Colorado and others. Here's hoping next Washington State legislative session, there will be a student data privacy bill.)
- so you might have seen Stephen Colbert's take on Common Core. It was funny and, as Melinda Gates pointed out in a tweet, not entirely accurate. (No kidding, it's a comedy show.) But boy, did he get the confusion aspect of it right. Gates tries to say there is no CC curriculum (true) but sorry, any company can put CC on their sheets if it follows the standards.
Colbert said that Common Core, "prepares our kids for what they will face as adults - stress and confusion."
What's also funny is how the Gates Foundation - via its myriad of groups they fund including Ready Washington - is saying, "don't listen to those people who don't like Common Core" and "don't repost any of these bad stories on Twitter or Facebook." Why? Because it might give people pause on Common Core and ask more hard questions?
There's a published article on this issue that's been going around. The first example in the list of why you shouldn't spread "misinformation that could harm your child's math education" is "credentials are not a trump card." (One link was to a math problem that a person calling him/herself "frustrated parent" chimed in on, saying he/she has a bachelors of science in electronics engineering and he/she can't explain this math thinking.)
Well, if someone with a college degree, in science, can't use their degree or background as a trump card, neither can Bill Gates in his push for Common Core (and he doesn't even have a degree).
Then there's "it might be a bad worksheet" but not that the standards are bad. If the curriculum is bad, it doesn't matter how great the standards are (see Everyday Math).
Did you see Mad Men last night? I haven't watched the latest episode yet but I do know that in advertising you rebrand and rename all the time. So it is with Common Core. This from The Foundry.
Florida is renaming it “Next Generation Sunshine State Standards;”
the Hawkeye State is going with “the Iowa Core.” Arizona simply removed
the words “Common Core” from its standards altogether, and Louisiana is
considering following suit.
To correct the image problem, “we will probably do something really
silly like changing the name of it to something else,” Rep. Walt Leger, a
Democrat from New Orleans, remarked at a legislative breakfast earlier
this month, according to The Louisiana Times-Picayune. Former
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee suggested a similar path to pacify parents
during remarks to the Council of Chief State School Officers, advising
them to rebrand Common Core, The Washington Post reports.