(Guest post by Greg Forster)
Two outstanding posts today on the flimsy basis of Common Core are very much worth your attention. At NRO, Jason Richwine notes an academic article that examines anonymous interviews with Common Core’s leading designers:
McDonnell and Weatherford are clear that research evidence did play a role in Common Core’s development, but almost all of the evidence was used either to identify problems (such as America’s poor ranking on international tests) or to generate hypotheses (for example, that higher achieving countries have superior standards). When it came time to actually write the standards, the developers could not draw from a large store of empirical evidence on what works and what doesn’t. They had little to go on except the standards of high-performing nations and the “professional judgment” of various stakeholders.
Professional judgment – where have we heard about that before?
One member of the validation committee admitted that “it was pretty clear from the start that nobody thought there was sufficient evidence for any of the standards” but defended them as “thoughtful professional judgment, applied systematically.”
The academic article also notes that CC designers were aware CC could not succeed without certain “enabling conditions” in place, but chose to ignore this fact for political reasons:
Common Core advocates understood what researchers were telling them about enabling conditions. However, during this stage of the policy process, they chose to downplay them because they would complicate the agenda at a time when a policy window was opening but might not be open for long.
Also very much worthy of your attention is this handy overview of five CC “half-truths” from Rick Hess. He demonstrates the lame rationalization behind claims that:
- CC is “internationally benchmarked” (nope)
- CC is “evidence-based” (nope)
- CC is “college- and career-ready” (double nope)
- CC is “rigorous” (only if your definition of rigor is unrigorous)
- High-performing nations have national standards (so do the low-performing nations)
Based on Rick’s review, they look more like non-truths than half-truths to me.