Monday, July 8, 2013

Some observations about the Common Core State Standards Initiative

·         It was developed in the private sector with economic (and political) objectives: “Common Core State Standards will prepare all children to be successful in a competitive global economy”

·         It was imposed by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices; the Council of Chief State School Officers; and Achieve, Inc. without proper examination of consequences

·         It is not a grassroots movement

·         It is a proposed “Free Market” solution for problems in education

·         Its chief advocates favor privatization of public education through charter schools, online learning and vouchers

·         It is linked to federal funding

·         It is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

·         The Initiative will be a bonanza for the education entrepreneurs

·         The Initiative assumes that national assessment and standards will raise achievement, despite the past failures of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top

·         It is an untested “same skills” or “one-size-fits-all” approach to curricula, with a focus on only those skills that can be “tested with pre-packaged tests”

·         It assumes that test scores are related to “earning capacity, productivity or other measures of success in life”

·         It ignores “non-cognitive” skills that are essential for “success in life”

·         It emphasizes “abstract” concepts and arbitrary ratios (for example, the emphasis on teaching “non-fiction”)

·         It assumes that informational texts will help students learn

·         It is a no-choice method, without sufficient research and experienced teachers’ input

·         It ignores the fact that students learn at different rates

·         It ignores the fact that students have different learning styles

·         It ignores the fact that effective classrooms often work in spontaneous and unpredictable situations

·         It undermines the way children learn

·         It de-emphasizes playtime for kindergarten children

·         It promises that prescribed standards will make students “college ready”

·         It will create wasted hours of test preparation in classrooms

·         It will create a punitive high-stakes testing methodology without adequate preparation and professional development for teachers; moreover, there are many school districts in Illinois that lack the technology and funding that are necessary for implementation of CCSS

·         It will set up students, teachers and schools for failure and blame; thus, it will promote the reform agenda for the privatization of public education 

Common Core does not address the significant societal problems such as poverty, dysfunctional families, parental unemployment, gangs and illicit drugs: the issues that cause “marginalized” students to fail continuously. 

-Glen Brown


  1. It takes a professional experienced teacher to know the concept of "grade level" is an arbitrary designation that should be put aside in favor of the best interests of individual students in the grade. It takes a professional educator to see that once a student graduates their bliss, their interests, their joy is what will create their future and the best education systems nurture the individual person. The Common Core calls for "rigor" as if hard is always a good aspiration. It calls for "punishment" for those who don't measure up. And it calls for "accountability" for professional teachers who recognize the humanity of their students as a kind of control. It really makes sense for Puritanism and austerity, the religion of self-denial the public schools are to impose on children.

  2. Thank you for this carefully considered analysis. CCSS' corporate backers have painted opponents as a narrow group on the right, while the broader group of progressive objections like these have been ignored.