Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Common Core Curriculum Coalition

Who's on board?

What brings liberal policy wonks together with corporate reformers and right-wing think tankers -- Linda Darling-Hammond, to Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., to Randi Weingarten, to Chester Finn, to Kati Haycock, in common cause? Why it's common core curriculum of course. This broad coalition is now represented as a list of signers on a statement drawn up by the Shanker Institute, the AFT's think tank. Missing as one might expect are Deb Meier along with many of the sharpest standardized testing critics. Diane Ravitch's name is also conspicuous in its absence. On the other side, where's the charter school and voucher organizations? I guess, since they're excluded from all such requirements, they probably couldn't care less.

I haven't seen anything like this since the bipartisan coalition behind NCLB during the early days of the Bush era. But there are so many conditions and escape routes written into the statement just to get some of the big-name skeptics on all sides to stick their big toes into the common core water--an obvious case of same bed -- different dreams. A lot like No Child

The framers of Common Core, including the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, purposely left things vague and voluntary--and that's good. But lurking behind the scenes of course is Arne Duncan's test-and-punish, Race To The Top,  federal funding reform strategy. Voluntary is never really voluntary these days. Is it? And how can you have a national curriculum without national, high-stakes, standardized testing?

Look out, kids.


  1. The NEA also in on board with Common Core: http://tinyurl.com/3z5p294
    As you say, the wording of their support is so vague as to be meaningless. But the NEA has found itself on a very slippery slope before, such as when they supported Race to the Top.

  2. Mike.

    At a panel I was recently on, the proCommonStandards/Curriculum proponent told the audience that there was a consensus on the standards of all parties--governors, legislators, educators, foundations, etc. I love these phony consensus claims. But there has been, I pointed out, zero conversation in America about these--by parents, teachers, communities. Zero. It's a shallow top-down elite consensus which seems to pass these days for "the people". And none of them will look at the tests that will be developed on the basis of the "standards".

    That's when the rubber will hit the road--when teachers know what is on the tests. My "opponents" think that's the very point of the exercise.



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