George_WillI am a huge George Will fan so you can imagine how excited I was to see his piece on Common Core in the Washington Post on January 15th. It was even more encouraging to read him citing the same facts that we have been talking about with groups around the state. (I just made a list today of all the presentations that Missouri Coalition Against Common Core members have made around the state and we are just about to pass the 100 mark!) Those who have really been following and studying common core won’t find many new facts in his piece, but George’s ability to succinctly state the problem can never be outdone.

Nevertheless, what begins with mere national standards must breed ineluctable pressure to standardize educational content. Targets, metrics, guidelines and curriculum models all induce conformity in instructional materials. Washington already is encouraging the alignment of the GED, SAT and ACT tests with the Common Core. By a feedback loop, these tests will beget more curriculum conformity. All of this will take a toll on parental empowerment, and none of this will escape the politicization of learning like that already rampant in higher education.

Common Core’s biggest problem is that it is based on a convoluted series of lies that cannot be overcome by best of marketing: the non-existent research, the claims that they are both the best standards we can offer our kids and also the floor, that they will make kids college ready but not college like most people think college, that they won’t dictate curriculum except that they will tell science and history teachers to teach reading and writing components, that the federal government had no role in their development except to pay for the first three years of operation of SBAC and PARCC and then only provided waivers to the NLCB mess if states agreed to use the standards. You see the problem here.  How is anyone supposed to know what to believe? Who wants to buy, let a lone use a product with such dubious claims?

Third, political dishonesty has swift, radiating and condign consequences. Opposition to the Common Core is surging because Washington, hoping to mollify opponents, is saying, in effect: “If you like your local control of education, you can keep it. Period.” To which a burgeoning movement is responding: “No. Period.”

Well said Mr. Will. Well said.



Anne Gassel

Anne has been writing on MEW since 2012 and has been a citizen lobbyist on Common Core since 2013. Some day she would like to see a national Hippocratic oath for educators “I will remember that there is an art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding are sometimes more important than policy or what the data say. My first priority is to do no harm to the children entrusted to my temporary care.”

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