Thursday, May 30, 2013


The beginning of Common Core’s trouble
Weekly Standard – Jamie Gass and Jim Stergios – 5/29/2013

Rather than learn from leading states like Massachusetts, Common Core draws from the so-called “21st century skills” movement, which elevates soft skills like global awareness, media literacy, cross-cultural flexibility and adaptability, and creativity to equal footing with academic content.  This less academic approach has, in fact, been road tested in places like Connecticut and West Virginia. Predictably, the results have been dismal.

West Virginia’s was perhaps the most enthusiastic embrace of 21st century skills.  As Matthew Ladner, a research scholar at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, has demonstrated, its impact on poor students is deeply troubling.  West Virginia is the only state whose NAEP reading and math scores for students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch fell between 2003 and 2009.  The major D.C.-based drivers of Common Core and national tests like the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Governors Association, Achieve, Inc., and the Obama administration all enthusiastically support 21st century skills.

Common Core’s problems, however, extend beyond academic deficiencies.  No estimate was ever performed to determine what it would cost to implement the new standards. In 2011, Pioneer Institute commissioned the first independent, comprehensive cost study, which showed that transitioning states to the new standards will be $16.7 billion, more than triple the amount of the federal Race to the Top inducements. Massive technology upgrades, training and support, together with the purchase of new textbooks and instructional materials, and professional development account for most of the expense.  

And yet Race to the Top favored a state’s grant application if it adopted Common Core.  The U.S. Department of Education subsequently awarded $362 million to directly fund two national testing consortia to develop common nationalized assessments. The consortia funding application clearly state that they will use federal funds to develop curriculum materials and to create a “model curriculum” and instructional materials “aligned with” Common Core.  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan himself noted that the consortia would develop “curriculum frameworks” and “instructional modules.” 

Northwoods Patriots - Standing up for Faith, Family, Country -

No comments:

Post a Comment