Why Common Core is doomed to fail

Common Core standards are doomed, writes Jay P. Greene. The political backlash “will undo or neuter Common Core.”

With the U.S. Education Department, D.C.-based reform groups and state school chiefs on board, Common Core supporters thought they’d won a “clear and total victory.” (He compares it to the early victories by opponents of gay marriage.)

(They) failed to consider how the more than 10,000 school districts, more than 3 million teachers, and the parents of almost 50 million students would react.  For standards to actually change practice, you need a lot of these folks on board. Otherwise Common Core, like most past standards, will just be a bunch of empty words in a document.

It’s too late for supporters to convince the public and to “love” the core, Greene writes. Reforms like the Common Core have a fatal flaw.

Trying to change the content and practice of the entire nation’s school system requires a top-down, direct, and definitive victory to get adopted.  If input and deliberation are sought, or decisions are truly decentralized, then it is too easy to block standards reforms, like Common Core.  

But the brute force and directness required for adopting national standards makes its effective implementation in a diverse, decentralized and democratic country impossible.

Common Core didn’t need to start as national standards. It’s a shame the feds got involved instead of letting the standards truly be voluntary. I think some states will drop the core, weaken the standards or fudge the tests. But if half-a-dozen states implement the standards  and tests well, that will be educational.

The Federalist Debate features Fordham’s Mike Petrilli and Heartland’s Joy Pullman discussing  the Common Core standards — without getting nasty.

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  1. Ruth Joy says:

    And then there’s the concerns about the collection of personal information.

  2. Ann in L.A. says:

    I was talking to a public school parent yesterday who was very upset. Her kid is a high achiever and is on track to take algebra in 7th and geometry in 8th. Her school district (Santa Monica) is nixing the fast track for achievers. Her kid will either have to spin their wheels for two years waiting for everyone else to catch up, or–more likely–take additional math outside of school and stay ahead.

  3. And there are still MILLIONS more parents who don’t even know about this yet. These oligarchs completely underestimated the power of a parent who feels that their children are threatened. Once the “results” are in, and children are “prescribed” fixes, parents will fully understand they are being fooled. There will be no stopping the revolt them.

  4. It’s not doomed here in California, where anything advertised as “progressive” is hailed as the 2nd Coming. I predict Common Core’s banners will fly high from California’s ramparts for many years to come–the crazies here are too *emotionally* invested in it.