More Abracadabra

conceptual image of an alarm clock showing that you are too late

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

Further to Jay’s point about the magical thinking behind Common Core: In his response to that Politico story, Mike Petrilli seems to concede the point that whatever the origins of Common Core, the Feds are determined to colonize and control it – and there is really not much that can be done about that at this point:

In my view, the federalism concern is the one that carries the most urgency, since it’s driving almost all of the backlash on the right…But frankly, it’s also the hardest one to fix. We can’t go back and undo Race to the Top; we can’t take away the millions of federal dollars that have already flowed to PARCC and Smarter Balanced. And, as has become painfully clear, Arne Duncan and his minions—not to mention the White House—seem all but uncontrollable in their passion to make Common Core resemble their creation even when it wasn’t.

Far from predicting these efforts will diminish, Petrilli thinks the Feds are only going to work harder to take over Common Core:

Secretary Duncan…may be about to make matters worse. Will the Department now revoke Oklahoma’s ESEA waiver because the state no longer has “college- and career-ready standards”—even though this requirement is never mentioned in ESEA and is probably illegal if not unconstitutional?…By punishing Oklahoma (or any other jurisdiction) for repudiating the Common Core, they would cement the view—and the reality—that the federal government is driving this train.

Another looming disaster is the Department’s plans to “peer review” the new assessments under development—PARCC and Smarter Balanced but also the other exams that some states plan to use to assess student performance in relation to the Common Core.

So what is to be done? Petrilli makes it clear there is only one option: appeal to Arne Duncan’s “good sense.” Other than that, there’s nothing to be done. But thankfully, Duncan’s good sense will save us. (Apparently Arne Duncan is now Captain Hammer.)

In other words, it’s far too late at this point for CC to end up as anything other than a wholly controlled tool of the Feds.

Oh, if only someone had warned them that once federal power has been used to promote CC, the federal connection is irreversible!

Talk about a day late and a dollar short.

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8 Responses to More Abracadabra

  1. matthewladner says:

    Put me down for “nothing of any consequence is going to happen to Oklahoma.”

    Duncan either will or won’t mess with their waiver. Obviously he should not, but whatever he decides doesn’t really matter. If he doesn’t they go on their merry way with their own set of standards. Their old tests looked good vis a vis NAEP, so bully for them,

    If he does- who cares? Washington state already voluntarily dropped their waiver to the consternation of approximately no one. Rather than standing on the cusp of federal overlordship, Secretary Duncan has been bluffing with a weak hand, one which Washington already called.

    • Greg Forster says:

      Which, if true, only brings us back to the folly of even trying something like CC in the first place.

      • matthewladner says:

        So if in fact approximately nothing happens to OK as a result of their decision to ditch CC, can we send the federal overlord narrative down to Yellow Alert? Sensors should detect something if you are going to stay at red alert.

      • Greg Forster says:

        Notice I said “if true.” And if the short-run result is nothing happens, that may prompt a renewed effort to secure federal control by deploying larger weapons.

        But yes, in the end, if CC ends up being a meaningless piece of paper, I’ll be (very!) happy to say so.

  2. Chan S. says:

    Less Captain Hammer than the unintended consequences of Dr. Horrible’s Freeze Ray after his Brand New Day fantasy. Don’t have a dog in this fight – I’m for academic standards – but the incuriosity of CC proponents to whether these (or any other) standards have any reasonable prospect of actually making it into the classroom (and why or why not) tells me this debate is orthogonal to, y’know, actually helping kids learn.

  3. Christopher says:

    Anyone interested in responding to the claim that charter schools increase segregation (hard to believe anything could increase segregation in urban areas, right?), made by a education researcher in WaPo
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/08/03/fact-checking-campbell-brown-what-she-said-what-research-really-shows/?hpid=z5

    citing this piece, which cites some others:
    http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/02/01/kappan_rotberg.html

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