Common Core Nation

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In this discussion I talk with Professor Sandra Stotsky who has emerged as one of the leading critics of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Stotsky has testified before numerous state legislatures and has written reports and op-eds documenting its deficiencies. Common Core aims to be a national solution to the problems of performance that have dogged education in America. As such, its scope is comprehensive in its attempt to impose education standards, testing requirements, teacher and student evaluations, among other items, on all 50 states. Currently, 45 states have accepted the standards and are implementing curricula around them. But do the standards actually raise the knowledge bar? Stotsky, who was for a time a member of the validation committee, argues the opposite. Educations standards are lowered by the Common Core in an attempt to get to the next-best result. Its own writers seem to agree.

This process, as noted by Stotsky, has never been driven by the states. Rather, it is the outcome of philanthro-policy making, notably the Gates Foundation and the National Governors Association, and a heaping dose of cartel federalism courtesy of being tied to the Obama administration’s Race to the Top legislation. As Stotsky and I discuss, slighted by the process have been parents, teachers, and local school boards who have somewhat helplessly watched their State Boards of Education adopt the standards, in many cases before they were even finalized, in order to receive largesse. States accepting the Common Core standards and testing apparatus received money and a waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements—the last successful attempt at national education policy.

In almost 4 years, the Common Core standards have swept the country and only now is a real push-back beginning to occur.

Sandra Stotsky

Sandra Stotsky is professor emerita at the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform. Stotsky is credited with developing one of the country’s strongest sets of academic standards for K-12 students as well as the strongest academic standards and licensure tests for prospective teachers while serving as Senior Associate Commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education from 1999-2003. She is also known nation-wide for her in-depth analyses of the problems in Common Core’s English language arts standards.

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Comments

  1. Denise says

    Excellent interview. A lot of information to absorb and more work that needs to be done if we are to be rid of Common Core, and as Prof. Stotsky eloquently stated, all it’s “tentacles.”

  2. Teacher says

    Wondering if the implementation of poor quality curricula or complete lack of curricula for the last decade or so was by design to set schools up for Common Core and programs aligned to it.

  3. says

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    But so what, it was still worth it!

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