It is here. in an article by Anthony Cody.  Just published this past weekend…  For many of us, Common Core has been like fighting a hydra; as soon as one arm is discovered, another one shows itself… There is so much wrong.  Those reading here for some time, have heard all the arguments before.  But Anthony Cody puts them all together and does so succinctly.  Whereas I only write,..  this is a work of art.

In a tip of the hat to Diane Ravitch, he organizes his list around 10 errors of Common Core…..  with a brief twerk of each…  Here they are….. I would certainly hope that locally, this could become a template for launching a non-stop  bombardment of letters to the News Journal… Let those bastards see how wrong they are in supporting Common Core.  Let them feel the wrath of 100,000 Delawarean moms and dads…..

Error #1: The process by which the Common Core standards were developed and adopted was undemocratic. 

It was developed by these 27 people in a closed room secured by confidentiality agreements.

Error #2: The Common Core State Standards violate what we know about how children develop and grow. 

The key concerns raised were:

1. Such standards will lead to long hours of instruction in literacy and math.
2. They will lead to inappropriate standardized testing
3. Didactic instruction and testing will crowd out other important areas of learning.
4. There is little evidence that such standards for young children lead to later success.

In New York, their prophecy devastatingly came true.

Error #3: The Common Core is inspired by a vision of market-driven innovation enabled by standardization of curriculum, tests, and ultimately, our children themselves.

The first is to create a system where learning outcomes are measurable, and students and their teachers can be efficiently compared and ranked on a statewide and national basis. The second is to use standardization to create a national market for curriculum and tests.  Previously, these markets operated on a state-by-state basis, and often on a district-by-district basis. But the adoption of common standards and shared assessments means that education entrepreneurs will enjoy national markets–Joanne Weiss is the Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan ..

Error #4: The Common Core creates a rigid set of performance expectations for every grade level, and results in tightly controlled instructional timelines and curriculum.

Every student, without exception, is expected to reach the same benchmarks at every grade level. Early childhood educators know better than this. Children develop at different rates, and we do far more harm than good when we begin labeling them “behind” at an early age.

Common Core also emphasizes “measurement” of every aspect… Ranking of the “complexity” of novels is derived from an algorithm that looks at sentence length and vocabulary. Publishers submit works of literature to be “scored“, and we discover that Mr. Popper’s Penguins is more “rigorous” than Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.

Error #5: The Common Core was designed to be implemented through an expanding regime of high-stakes tests, which will consume an unhealthy amount of time and money. 

As Bill Gates’ remarks in 2009 indicate, Common Core was conceived as a vehicle to expand and rationalize tests on a national basis.  The Pioneer Institute pegs the cost of full implementation of the Common Core at $16 billion nationally – but if others follow the Los Angeles model (free iPads) those costs could go much higher.

Error #6: Proficiency rates on the new Common Core tests have been dramatically lower—by design.

Only 31 percent of students who took Common Core aligned tests in New York last spring were rated proficient. On the English Language Arts test, about 16 percent of African American students were proficient, five percent of students with disabilities, and 3% of English Learners. Last week, the state of North Carolina announced a similar drop in proficiency rates. Thus we have a system that, in the name of “rigor,” will deepen the achievement gaps, and condemn more students and schools as failures. Because of the “rigor,” many students—as many as 30 percent—will not get a high school diploma. What will our society do with the large numbers of students who were unable to meet the Common Core Standards?

The number is a result of where the all-important “cut score” is placed. If you want more to pass, you can lower that cut score, as was done in Florida in 2012. The process to determine cut scores in New York was likewise highly political, and officials knew before the tests were even given the outcome they wanted. 

Error #7: Common Core relies on a narrow conception of the purpose of K-12 education as “career and college readiness.”

In Common Core there is little question about the utilitarian philosophy at work. Our children must be prepared to “compete in the global economy.”   Ugh. This runs against the grain of the historic purpose of public education, which was to prepare citizens for our democracy, with the knowledge and skills to live fruitful lives and improve our society.

Error #8: The Common Core is associated with an attempt to collect more student and teacher data than ever before.

There are legitimate privacy concerns, for both students and teachers, as data, once collected, can be used for all sorts of purposes. The vision that every student’s performance could be tracked from preschool through their working lives may be appealing to a technocrat like Bill Gates, but it is a bit frightening to many parents.

Error #9: The Common Core is not based on any external evidence, has no research to support it, has never been tested, and worst of all, has no mechanism for correction.

The “Memorandum of Understanding” signed by state leaders to opt in to the Common Core allows the states to change a scant 15 percent of the standards they use.There is no process available to revise the standards. They must be adopted as written.

Error #10: The biggest problem of American education and American society is the growing number of children living in poverty.  

Ironically the huge collection of data by Common Core has proven this beyond a shadow of a doubt.  Here in Delaware, individual parents took the data off the State Website and made a excel charts showing this correlation beyond a shadow of a doubt.   When children from poverty enter kindergarten with a 5000 word vocabulary compared to an affluent child’s normal 50,000 word one. there is no way that testing that child 40 million times is going to help him…. (slight exaggeration over the number of tests)… Common Core expands the achievement gap, not closes it.  A quick look at the Delaware’s DOE expenses from our state checkbook, shows that Common Core is diverting scarce resources and time into more tests, more technology for the purpose of testing, and into ever more test preparation.

In conclusion: Common standards, if crafted in a democratic process and carefully reviewed by teachers and tested in real classrooms, might well be a good idea. But the Common Core does not meet any of those conditions. 

Again, hat’s off to Anthony Cody for beginning the Bible Against Common Core.

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