Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan just wrote a new memoir entitled How Schools Work: An Inside Account of Failure and Success From One of the Nation’s Longest Serving Secretaries of Education. In it, he discusses the Race To The Top program that contributed to foisting Common Core onto the states.
He has no regrets.
Education Week provided a highlight:
Duncan wrote that he loses sleep over some of the things that happened during his tenure in Washington, but not Race to the Top, or at least not anymore.
Race to the Top, which was created through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, rewarded 12 states with for adopting the common core standards, teacher evaluation through test scores, dramatic school turnarounds, and more.
Duncan said the program “changed the education landscape in America. … Since Race to the Top, 46 states
andthe Washington, D.C., [school system].. have either adopted commoncore or developed their own high standards.”
It’s true that the common core is still on the books in more than 30 states and the District of Columbia. And plenty of states have kept teacher evaluations through student outcomes—although six states have ditched them since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which prohibited the federal government from monkeying with teacher performance reviews.
Duncan writes that he tried to stay out of the political fray when it came to the common core standards. But the secretary—and especially Obama, in his re-election campaign—took credit for the widespread adoption of the common core. That’s part of the reason the standards ended up facing such widespread opposition
I am still waiting to see some tangible, documented positive results demonstrating the effectiveness of Common Core. I’ve heard talking points and warm fuzzies from teachers who like it, but there has not been any data that has demonstrated that this widespread, top-down reform has made a positive difference. I have seen stagnant NAEP scores and a widening achievement gap though.
As far as Duncan trying to stay out of the fray I think there are some white suburban moms who feel differently.
Read other highlights here.