Common Core Is Having a Bad Week


(Guest post by Greg Forster)

When Locke first meets Walt, he says something about Walt getting back to his mother soon, and Walt tells him that his mother died two weeks ago. Locke looks around at the deserted island where they’ve all just crash-landed and says, “you’re having a bad month.”

Common Core is having a bad week. Pop some popcorn and enjoy watching the excruciating downfall of civilization with your host, Andy Smarick. Line for the ages: Smarick links back to an old post of his where he predicted this would happen and then says, “I can’t help but wonder: If some dude blogging from a coffee shop could see this coming, why in the world didn’t Common Core’s and common assessments’ powerful, well-staffed, and deep-pocketed backers get ahead of this?” He should check out the latest medical literature on PLDD.

In the meantime, the argument that Common Core is bad for school choice seems to be getting some traction, to judge by the increased level of desperate insistence (unconnected to logic or evidence) that Common Core is really great for school choice. Hope you’ve got more popcorn, because master magician Jason Bedrick is here to cut those arguments in two. Unfortunately for CC supporters, he hasn’t learned the part of the trick where they go back together.

You still have more popcorn, and you’re tired of knock-down, drag-out knife fights for the fate of the world on the edges of slowly crumbling cliffs? Don’t worry – we have the lightsabers you’re looking for.


14 Responses to Common Core Is Having a Bad Week

  1. Jason Bedrick says:

    Greg, if I’m a “master magician,” I guess that makes you, Jay P. Greene (PBHN), and James Shuls the rabbits that I pull out of my hat!

  2. Matthew Ladner says:

    No fiery response from me. My experience living here in Arizona with a set of meh standards and a very crappy state test is that they are basically irrelevant to school choice. I haven’t looked it up lately but I think we are getting on 600 charter schools, we have tax credits and ESAs and I fully expect PARCC to be a school choice non-event.

    I take your point on SAT/ACT but I cannot help but to wonder whether their Common Core alignment amounts to much more than the thousands of “Common Core” bumper stickers that textbook companies slapped on their products before anyone had ever seen the standards. The changes in these tests do bear monitoring however.

    • Jason Bedrick says:

      So in other words, school choice advocates only have to fear Common Core if it works as intended… but it probably won’t.

      • Matthew Ladner says:

        I can’t see how CC is much more threatening to school choice than 50 sets of state standards as long as we remain vigilant that school choice is an opt out of the public school system rather than an extension of it into private schools.

        In Arizona as in many states the Wall Street stock picking chicken could pass the state test on a good day. This has devolved into a bad joke with too many districts teaching to test items through excessive item exposure. High performing AZ charter schools basically ignore the state standards and do next to nothing to prepare for the test, which suits me fine. There is little useful and certainly nothing sacred about this overall but it has almost nothing to do with school choice.

        If CC turns out to be worse than AIMS- which would be quite a feat-I volunteer to join the army trying to get us out. We like many states have basically nothing to lose on this front.

      • Jason Bedrick says:

        How can school choice serve as an “opt out” if the college entrance exams are “aligned” with CC? To the extent that such alignment means that schools that are aligned with CC will produce students who, on average, perform better on the the exams, then private schools will have to conform. However, if they’re just adding a meaningless “Common Core” bumper sticker but not really changing anything, then why are we spending so much money to align with CC?

  3. Matthew Ladner says:

    How much do schools really “align” to SAT/ACT?

    • Jason Bedrick says:

      At present, to my knowledge, they don’t. But that’s pre-CC. I could think of at least two scenarios where this becomes problematic:

      1) The SAT/ACT are aligned to CC in some meaningful way such that schools that are also CC aligned have an advantage. In that case, private schools will face tremendous pressure to adopt CC.

      2) The SAT/ACT alignment is “in name only” but there is a generally perception among parents that the bumper sticker means something, which means that private schools will face tremendous pressure to adopt CC. The question there is whether implementing CC only requires a bumper sticker for the schools or serious curricular changes, and that might vary significantly.

      • Matthew Ladner says:

        It seems likely that the non-CC states would drop SAT/ACT if those scenarios developed. One of those states has 5 million students and is on the way to 7 million.

  4. Greg Forster says:

    As I wrote last time, the SAT/ACT “alignment” is unlikely to amount to much in practice, but it does illustrate the technocratic, anti-choice nature of the whole CC enterprise.

  5. Common core isn’t crumbling according to Checker Finn. He says it is “right sizing”. Similarly the Roman Empire did not fall; it was just right-sizing to some scrolls in the cellars of an Italian monastery.

    The worst thing about common core is the abuse of the English language and clear thought that it requires. It will leave little lasting effect on the education system since it will turn into yet another fad of slogans that never change practice. But the abuse of thought and language it requires will further degrade what passes for political and intellectual discourse.

    • Greg Forster says:

      After its “fall,” Rome left behind an empire in the east that stood for another thousand years. CC will leave behind an empire of nonsense – language debauched by lies and weaseling, spurious “research” findings – but I doubt it will last as long.

  6. A really bad week — July 9, 2015

    Common Core Math exposed as not requiring Adding and Subtracting with Standard Algorithm until grade 4.
    Internationally competitive? No Way.

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