A Review: Myths and Facts of the Common Core State Standards

MythvsFact-We have some new readers tonight so I wanted to take time to bring to their (and our) attention some common myths put forth by the Common Core advocates and how they are debunked.

You can find the Myths and Facts page here for future reference and here they are below:

Myth .  Common Core (CC) was a state-led initiative.

Fact .  The CC standards were initiated by private interests in Washington, DC, without any representation from the states. Eventually the creators realized the need to present a façade of state involvement and therefore enlisted the National Governors Association (NGA) (a trade association that doesn’t include all governors) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), another DC-based trade association. Neither of these groups had a grant of authority from any particular state or states to write the standards. The bulk of the creative work was done by Achieve, Inc., a DC-based nonprofit that includes many progressive education reformers who have been advocating national standards and curriculum for decades. Massive funding for all this came from private interests such as the Gates Foundation.

Myth.  The federal government is not involved in the Common Core scheme.

Fact .  The US Department of Education (USED) was deeply involved in the meetings that led to creation of Common Core. Moreover, it has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the two consortia that are creating the national tests that will align with CC.  USED is acting as the enforcer to herd states into the scheme (see next myth).

Myth.  States that adopted CC did so voluntarily, without federal coercion.

Fact.  Most states that adopted CC did so to be eligible to compete for federal Race to the Top funding. To have a chance at that money, recession-racked states agreed to adopt the CC standards and the aligned national tests sight unseen. In addition, the Obama Administration tied No Child Left Behind waivers to CC adoption, making it very difficult for a state to obtain a waiver without agreeing to accept CC.

Myth .  Under Common Core, the states will still control their standards.

Fact.  A state that adopts CC must accept the standards word for word. It may not change or delete anything, and may allow only a small amount of additional content (which won’t be covered on the national tests).

Myth .  Common Core is only a set of standards, not curriculum; states will still control their curriculum.

Fact .  The point of standards is to drive curriculum. Ultimately, all the CC states will be teaching pretty much the same curriculum. In fact, the testing consortia being funded by USED admitted in their grant applications that they would use the money to develop curriculum models.

Myth.  The Common Core standards are rigorous and will make our children “college-ready.”

Fact .  Even the Fordham Institute, a proponent of CC, admits that several states had standards superior to CC and that many states had standards at least as good. CC has been described as a “race to the middle.”  And as admitted by one drafter of the CC math standards, CC is designed to prepare students for a nonselective two-year community college, not a four-year university.

The only mathematician on the CC Validation Committee said that the CC math standards will place our students about two years behind their counterparts in high-performing countries. An expert in English education said that CC’s English language arts standards consist of “empty skill sets . . . [that] weaken the basis of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework.” She also suspects from her analysis of work done so far on the standards that the reading level deemed sufficient for high-school graduation will be at about the 7th-grade level. And CC revamps the American model of classical education to resemble a European model, which de-emphasizes the study of creative literature and places students on “tracks” (college vs. vocational) at an early age.

Myth .  The Common Core standards are “internationally benchmarked.”

Fact .  No information was presented to the Validation Committee to show how CC stacked up against standards of other high-achieving countries. In fact, the CC establishment no longer claims that the standards are “internationally benchmarked” – the website now states that they are “informed by” the standards of other countries. There is no definition of “informed by.”

Myth .  We need common standards to be able to compare our students’ performance to that of students in other states.

Fact.  If we want to do that, we already can. In the elementary/middle school years we have the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test; in high school we have the SAT and ACT.

Myth.  We need common standards to help students who move from state to state.

Fact.  The percentage of students who fit that description is vanishingly small (much less than 2%); most families move, if at all, within states, not to other states. It is nonsensical to bind our entire education system in a straightjacket to benefit such a small number of students.

From the Stop Common Core:  Reclaiming Local Control in Education website page called Myths Verses Facts.  To download this in a table click here.

6 thoughts on “A Review: Myths and Facts of the Common Core State Standards

  1. The statement, “Ultimately, all the CC states will be teaching pretty much the same curriculum.” is an assertion and not a fact. The fact that almost every major curriculum publisher is now claiming that their curriculum is “common core aligned” is evidence that a variety of curriculum paths can all reach the same standards.
    The math standards specified in CCS are minimums required for high school graduation. Thus, it is appropriate that they are preparatory for a 2-year community college and not for a 4-year university. Students are still able to study math beyond the level required by the standards. This does not spell the end of Calculus in high school, but that level of math is not appropriate for all high school graduates.
    Likewise, an opinion by “an expert in English education” is also not a fact; it’s an opinion. Other experts in English education would differ with that claim, myself included.

    1. Jason, there are so many facets to this Common Core implementation, and I feel this was done by design. Opponents to CC can’t spin this many plates to keep track of it all and that makes it easier to force down our throats. You need to know that people that have never taught not only designed this thing, but here in NY, we have a supposed “think tank” of experts who are designing curricula and activities that have never been in a classroom, never taken the appropriate education or psychology classes to understand that they are not teaching “little adults” but kids whose brains are still growing! Then there is the Orwellian-like data-mining of personal data that goes far beyond what most people think. This is all a smoke-screen to get data on our kids, as Obama put it, “from the cradle to college” and it is giving our kids personal, identifiable information to people that want to crunch numbers and God knows what else. Also, the plan ,and I knew it when the Race To The Top contest was first introduced; they want to track our kids, just like many European nations do, by 6th or 7th grade they will be told what their future will be. They will in a science track, a math track, a vocational tack, etc. The people behind it had these grand ideas and just threw it all together – why? Because they have no idea about education – they just want to make money off it.

  2. Is it really less that 2% of students who move state to state? As a military family we have seen the education system prove troublesome for so many students, mostly the high performing ones. We finally gave up on the system and home school our children now as when we relocate every two years, the standards were always different, some of this has to do with the make up of the students in the community where we were though and we understand that. Our older kids could not get the AP courses they needed in one state as not enough kids were capable to take the course.

    1. Yes that is accurate. I have an article around that links to the census data. I would submit that military families still deal with a lot of the same issues as they did before.

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