Common Core catastrophe?

States rushed the adoption of Common Core standards to be eligible for federal grants, Bill Evers, a former assistant secretary of Education, tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

. . . I really think it’s better to not have a national set of curriculum content standards. It’s better that various states try out their best idea of how to do these things, so maybe Pennsylvania will borrow some ideas from Massachusetts or Indiana, or try some ideas of its own.

Common Core is a “utopian project to align all the classrooms in the country to be doing roughly the same things,” says Evers. “Anything like that is just an unimaginably difficult, complex thing.”

The standards themselves, the standards are lists of topics that the child is expected to learn in each grade. The standards have some sloppiness problems and they have some, I guess you could call them doctrinal, problems where they are trying to teach a certain kind of progressive education. And that may not work out too well. . . . the previous attempts to do this sort of thing have failed. There was new math in the wake of Sputnik, there was an attempt at national standards by George H.W. Bush, and there were two attempts in the Clinton administration at national standards and testing and curriculum. They both failed.

Will it do more harm than good? “I think it has the potential to be catastrophic,” replies Evers.

Opposition to the new standards is growing, writes George Will. The Common Core is “designed to advance in primary and secondary education the general progressive agenda of centralization and uniformity.”

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