Common Core: a PRAGMATIC observation for politicians.

The more astute ones will only need this to get my point…


…but let’s walk it through anyway.

This is not a post on the merits* of Common Core: it’s a post on how people are reacting to it. Which is to say, badly.

And it is. Colorado:

Conflict over Common Core, the widely adopted national math and language arts standards, spiked Wednesday as opponents brought their concerns to the state Capitol while backers countered with a campaign to support the continued rollout.

Outside, a group of self-described “moms” from across the state gathered to share their opposition to the standards that were introduced in most public school classrooms last fall.

Rhode Island:

PROVIDENCE — Across the country, elected leaders and educators have begun pushing back against a set of educational standards that have been adopted by 45 states, including Rhode Island.

Now, a burgeoning opposition movement is developing in Rhode Island, with teachers, parents and at least one school committee questioning whether the Common Core standards are worth all of the money and effort put into them.


Supporters of the new Common Core education standards adopted by 45 states say the standards hold American students to much higher expectations, and move curriculum away from a bubble-test culture that encourages test preparation over deeper learning.

But there’s growing backlash to Common Core, and conservatives and liberals increasingly are voicing similar concerns: that the standards take a one-size-fits-all approach, create a de facto national curriculum, put too much emphasis on standardized tests and undermine teacher autonomy.

Washington Post:

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) used an executive order to strip the name “Common Core” from the state’s new math and reading standards for public schools. In the Hawkeye State, the same standards are now called “The Iowa Core.” And in Florida, lawmakers want to delete “Common Core” from official documents and replace it with the cheerier-sounding “Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.”

In the face of growing opposition to the Common Core State Standards — a set of K-12 educational guidelines adopted by most of the country — officials in a handful of states are worried that the brand is already tainted. They’re keeping the standards but slapping on fresh names they hope will have greater public appeal.

There are more articles, featuring more states and organizations, but the gist is clear: there is a growing number of people in this country who absolutely HATE Common Core. And they are neither exclusively Republican NOR conservative: it turns out that liberals have kids, too – and that they hate seeing their kids cry in despair over their math homework just as much as we would. That combination – cross-spectrum people who are personally motivated on an issue, and by ‘personally’ I mean ‘right in the most primitive part of the brain’ – will be potent political mojo for any national politician who is ready to start shouting about the new federal standards, and how much/little they take into account local educational technicians.

And don’t get complaisant about this, either.  Sure, right now Democrats don’t want to attack the President over federal educational standards.  But Barack Obama won’t be President forever.  The next Democrat to run for President may not feel much need to pass up such a prime piece of populism…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*I write this, fully aware that many people would prefer that this be a post on the merits of Common Core. It’s not, sorry. This is strictly an unsubtle hint to anybody out there who already hates this thing, but might not be aware that he or she is hardly alone in hating it.

9 thoughts on “Common Core: a PRAGMATIC observation for politicians.”

  1. Everybody hates Common Core, but few ever point to specific things about it that are bad. As a product of liberal “education” establishment, I am highly suspicious of it. But I don’t have any arguments as to why.

    1. I’ve seen quite a few articles about poorly-written math problems, math problems that are wrong and the publishers reaction to it being “Hey, thanks for pointing it out. We’ll get around to correcting it later.” I’ve seen Civics lessons that have the students “rewriting” the Constitution but no explanation about why it’s written the way it is. I’ve seen a true/false question that said “Government officials should be obeyed at all times” and the answer was “true.”
      Then you get the parent in MD who was arrested because he was trying to protest Common Core and the Congresscritter who sneeringly told us how the protests were from “White Suburban Moms who were angry that their kids weren’t as smart as they thought.
      The federal government’s only role in this should be “We expect kids at this grade level to be able to do this” and then get out of the way.

      1. The problem is that the federal government started with the knowledge they expect a high school graduate to have, and drew a more-or-less straight trendline to zero at the beginning of kindergarten.
        And the metrics they chose to measure these are… Questionable.

          1. I had skimmed the Ace of Spades article, this encouraged me to go actually *read* it.
            I think I’m glad Junior Cat already survived public school.

    2. It’s New Math or Whole Language all over again, but crossing all disciplines.
      Here’s the deal. We’ve been teaching children basic math skills for roughly 5000 years. We’ve been teaching alphabetic writing for about 4000 years. We’ve pretty much gotten “best practices” hammered down by now.
      These aren’t.
      The impetus of Common Core seems to be “Bright kids figure out shortcuts to make problems simpler. So let us focus on teaching the shortcuts, rather than focusing on the foundational knowledge.”
      Ace of Spades dissects this at length on several occasions. They’re entertaining and informative. Here’s one of them:

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