The more the pro-Common Core crowd doubles down, the more traction the opposition gains. And I can’t say I’m terribly disappointed. Snarky online quizzes that studiously avoid the term “Common Core” aren’t helpful for making the case to back national standards.
On the other hand, Rick Hess’ clever and insightful satire (I hope that debating federal policy with a UFO is indeed satire) sheds some real light on why their effort is spinning its wheels at best, and more likely starting to spin out of control:
Standards are fine, but their value depends on everything else that happens when it comes to assessment, implementation, public acceptance, and the rest. Why the big push to have a lot of states do a half-assed job at that? We’d have all been better if two dozen states had done the Common Core of their own volition, and we saw how things shook out. You’d hear a lot less concern about massive federal overreach, or skirting statute that restricts federal activity on things like curricula.
“Federal overreach”: That’s where my issues with Common Core have begun. I like accountability. But the way this thing has been rolled out and adopted, it feels increasingly out of balance. (We now hear it’s too late to pull out of Common Core, but one prominent critic says otherwise.) And it’s not exactly the mark of excellence some used to tell us.
You hardly even hear any more claims made about the standards being “internationally benchmarked” — and with good reason. I’ve told you before how skeptical I am that Common Core will lead to any real or substantive improvement.
That’s the best-case scenario for all the dollars driven into the Common Core. Into the fray steps a bevy of some respected national education reform leaders saying that the push for increased “compliance to the state reduces accountability to parents.” To the extent that is true, this little edublogger is extremely concerned. Reading that article, I could see the doors opening to another huge philosophical debate (for another time).
Back to the here and now.
As implementation grows closer and closer in Colorado, efforts to pull the plug or at least stop the clock grow more intense. A growing number of parents and charter school leaders are speaking out with concerns about how the process is leading to a narrower curriculum and an overly burdensome testing regime.
On Tuesday, the chair of the State Board of Education encouraged a resolution to the legislature to pull out of the PARCC testing tied to Common Core. Where that will lead, who can tell at the moment? But at the rate we’re going (or not going, as the case may be)….
There are too many unanswered questions, too much distrust. When you see numbers of well-informed, well-educated parents looking at their options to disconnect from the education system, the case for calling a “timeout” on Common Core grows stronger.