Rialto Unified’s idiotic essay assignment — is the Holocaust a hoax? — was justified as meeting the Common Core’s call for teaching “critical thinking” skills, writes Greg Forster on Jay Greene’s blog. The Core didn’t dictate the assignment, he writes. But it opened the back door.
When “you set yourself up as the dictator of the system, you officially own everything that happens in the system,” he writes.
This is simply what you get when you announce that you have set a single standard for a huge, sprawling, decentralized system with literally millions of decision-makers, very few of whom have much incentive to do what you want, but very many of whom have some pet project they’d like to push through using your name to do it.
If Reform X is truly voluntary, fewer systems adopt it, “but those that adopt it will really adopt it.” Or it’s possible to “force, bribe and cajole systems to adopt Reform X,” then tell them exactly how to run their schools to enforce the reform.
Common Core standards used the “force, bribe and cajole” strategy to get states to say they’re adopting the reform, then let them implement it, Forster writes. The result: Everyone will adopt their preferred fads and “call it Reform X.”
Implementation — how a thing is done day by day in the real world — is everything, writes Peggy Noonan.