First Obamacare Implodes, Now Common Core?

A very interesting read from no less than the Washington Post about the disaster of Common Core.

Here are a few pull quotes. First, our Education Secretary had this slam:

Arne Duncan told a group of state schools superintendents Friday that he found it “fascinating” that some of the opposition to the Common Core State Standards has come from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”

This should be circulated on every news cast (doubtful), newspaper (if so, it will be buried), and internet site (just the conservative ones will). I’d hope the GOP would message this, but that’s probably as unlikely as me twerking.

Surprisingly, even supporters are disillusioned. Here’s what American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, a Core supporter, recently compared it to another particularly troubled rollout:

You think the Obamacare implementation is bad? The implementation of the Common Core is far worse.

And in New York, the first state to implement the standards, the result was terrible. Scores plummeted. “State officials had predicted the scores would drop 30 percent — and that’s exactly what happened,” says the Washington Post.

So how does the administration respond? Duncan slams Americans:

The Common Core has become a rallying cry for fringe groups that claim it is a scheme for the federal government to usurp state and local control of what students learn. An op-ed in the New York Times called the Common Core “a radical curriculum.” It is neither radical nor a curriculum. … When the critics can’t persuade you that the Common Core is a curriculum, they make even more outlandish claims. They say that the Common Core calls for federal collection of student data. For the record, it doesn’t, we’re not allowed to, and we won’t. And let’s not even get into the really wacky stuff: mind control, robots, and biometric brain mapping.

Article author Valerie Strauss responds:

There are people on the political fringe, right and left, who oppose the Core initiative for different reasons, but that’s not where most of the substantive opposition is coming from. Educators and researchers questioned the way the standards were written (whether, for example, there was any or enough input from K-12 classroom teachers) and some criticized the content of the standards (while others praised it). Some critics don’t believe in standards-based education, and others felt it usurped local authority. More recently, tea party members have accused the administration of a federal takeover of public education, extreme right-wing rhetoric that clouds a real discussion about the Core. This year some states led by Republican governors began to pull away from the standards.

Protests by educators, parents, students and others began to grow as it became clear that the Core implementation was being rushed, and some students were being given tests said to be Core-aligned even though teachers hadn’t had enough time to create material around the standards. That’s why Duncan announced in June that he was giving the 37 states plus the District of Columbia, which had won federal waivers from the most egregious mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act, an extra year to implement teacher evaluations linked to new assessments that are supposed to be aligned to the new Common Core State Standards.

Duncan has repeatedly said the new Core-aligned standardized tests — being designed by two multistate consortia with some $350 million in federal money — would be light years ahead of the current tests. As it turns out, neither the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium nor the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers have had enough time or money to develop truly “game-changing” exams in terms of how they can really measure the broad range of student abilities, according to a report by Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education, a panel of educational leaders, which said:

The progress made by the PARCC and Smarter Balanced consortia in assessment development, while significant, will be far from what is ultimately needed for either accountability or classroom instructional improvement purposes.

She’s hardly a right wing, fringe person now is she?

More attention needs to be put on this issue. It seems headed for disaster just as Obamacare is.

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