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What Common Core Looks Like In Desperation

March 25, 2014

It seems that the protests of the American citizen against the so-called Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has become proverbial grains of sand in the works of the mammoth corporate reform machine.

Die-hard supporters of CCSS are becoming desperate, and such is showing in their words and actions.

Consider Jeb Bush’s declaration, “In Asia today, they don’t care about children’s self esteem….”

This hard-nosed attitude is supposed to appeal to the American public and advance CCSS?

Jeb is definitely pushing CCSS whether America likes it or not– but he is becoming sloppy in his rhetoric.

He is not alone in his desperate, Save CCSS efforts.

Founder and director of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools Caroline Roemer-Shirley (sister to our state board of education president) wrote this op/ed for the Baton Rouge Advocate on March 24, 2014.

Not surprisingly, she is pro-CCSS.

Notice the authoritarian desperation in her closing statement:

It’s critically important that all of us — parents, educators, community leaders and businessmen — oppose efforts to derail the Common Core State Standards.

Good public education is the key to success for our children and we must help them get there by all means available. A quality education is one of childhood’s most basic civil rights. Our goal must be to get our children into the top tiers nationally. That means pushing aside anything or anyone standing in the way of their success. [Emphasis added.]

Roemer-Shirley equates CCSS with “a quality education.”

The same day at Roemer-Shirley’s op/ed, education historian Diane Ravitch posted a marvelous piece that unequivocally demonstrates CCSS as not even qualifying as standards given its secretive, controlled, stakeholder-absent creation and declared rigidity:

In the United States, the principles of standard-setting have been clearly spelled out by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  …

[CCSS] were written in a manner that violates the nationally and international recognized process for writing standards. The process by which they were created was so fundamentally flawed that these “standards” should have no legitimacy.

Setting national academic standards is not something done in stealth by a small group of people, funded by one source, and imposed by the lure of a federal grant in a time of austerity.

There is a recognized protocol for writing standards, and the Common Core standards failed to comply with that protocol. [Emphasis added and some text order reversed.]

Monday, March 24, 2014, also gave us blogger Peter Greene’s fine post on the purpose of CCSS to tag student data down to the very classroom assignment. 

Roemer-Shirley does not care for protocol that honors the democratic process, and she does not care about the invasive, science-fiction nature of CCSS data tagging. Instead, she is willing to “push aside anyone standing in the way of their (let’s be real, folks– she doesn’t mean students’) success.”


The creepy-desperate CCSS push does not stop there. On March 18, 2014, both national union presidents met with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO– one of the two CCSS copyright holders), with in attendance all desiring to save CCSS.

It seems that AFT members can expect their national president to cling to CCSS no matter what her constituency thinks:

Weingarten added that she expects that many of her members would call for outright opposition to the standards during the AFT’s summer convention, even though both the AFT and NEA support the standards and Weingarten said she wouldn’t back away from the common core[Emphasis added.]

If the AFT membership opposes CCSS “outright,” how is it, then, that “AFT supports the standards”?

Does a declared, “official” position outrank the desires of AFT’s own membership?

Apparently so.

NEA (not the membership, mind you) is right there with AFT in its protection of CCSS:

During the same discussion, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel… said the union remained squarely behind the standards themselves….

What is one to do in order to ensure CCSS support? Why, one must promote a positive CCSS message in the media:

… (South Dakota) Education Secretary Melody Schopp expressed concern that enough wasn’t being done to push more positive common-core stories to the public: “The media’s not hearing that.” [Emphasis added.]

All of this “pushing” so-called reform “to the public.”

Genuine standards are not “pushed.” Genuine standards are elicited.

Nevertheless, in our current, for-profit reform era,  it’s all about the spin. No organization knows that better than Stand for Children (SFC). (I debated SFC Louisiana twice on CCSS– see this link and this link.)

The question is, how far will SFC go in its CCSS-desperation spin?

Well beyond the ethical, it seems.

In their efforts to “push” a positive CCSS message, SFC Oklahoma decided “positive” need not necessarily be honest:

Some names on a petition, from a group hoping to keep Common Core, were faked. The group, Stand for Children Oklahoma, presented a petition to legislators in early March with 7,000 signatures, but many people whose names are on the list said they didn’t sign it.

Sherri Crawford is one of those. She’s adamantly against Common Core. …

When asked if she signed it, she responded, “No, absolutely not.”

Sherri found out her name was on the petition after a group of moms, who oppose common core, got a hold of it and started checking the names. They said they found not only several obviously fake names, like Barrack Obama, but more than a thousand they have personally verified didn’t sign it. [Emphasis added.]

Yes, my fellow lovers of the democratic process, we have indeed become grains of sand in the greasy wheels of the pro-CCSS engine.

The very idea makes me smile.


  1. Hannah permalink

    ” ‘ Consider Jeb Bush’s declaration, “In Asia today, they don’t care about children’s self esteem….”'” …. That, in an of itself if VERY telling. Granted, many folks in America see the problem of the “self-esteem movement” that ignores actual accomplishment; however, what’s the point in having a populace of children with no self-esteem????? That’s just WRONG! It makes no sense that a whole continent doesn’t care about their children’s self-esteem… and he wants Americans to do the same???? WHAT PLANET HAVE I LANDED ON??? To me, it just says that the spirits of all children must be broken… sick, sick, sick. SMH.

  2. I get sick of hearing this nonsense about how it isn’t important to care about kids’ feelings of self worth.

    Utter rot.

    That childrens’ self confidence is extraordinarily important to their performance is one of the most robust of findings of cognitive science. And it’s just plain sense. And decency to care about it.

    It’s typical of JB to envision his vile deforms as opposed to concern about childrens’ self esteem.

    Well, Yolanda hates herself and wishes she were dead, but she answered all the ESBR and MC questions on CC$$.Literacy.ELA.RL.8.3-6 correctly. So, that teacher is a roaring success.

    • Hannah permalink

      (sarcasm alert) Oh! But all children must develop “grit!” Your spirit and self-worth doesn’t matter! Take the abuse and learn to be grateful for it!!!!

  3. I imagine the lords gathered in their Echo Chamber, planning all this to begin with:

    “The Lefties and intellectuals, that bunch of Commies, will howl about intellectual freedom and compare our takeover of education to the enclosure of the Commons!

    “The boobs in the Tea Party will howl about States’ Rights.

    “I know. Let’s call these ‘Standards’ for the training of the children of the proles that Bill has asked us to create ‘Common’ and ‘State!’

    “And what was it Hirsch calls his Sequence?

    “Oh, yeah. Let’s call them ‘Core’ too!

    “Control the language people use to talk about this stuff, and you can get them to buy anything.

    “It’s all about branding, boys.

    “Buzz Bill and tell him we’ve got it. And tell him to wire more funds.”


    Common. Vulgar, base, pedestrian

    Core. Of the pit, the indigestible part of the fruit

    State. Of the leviathan

    Standards. Specifications for product uniformity

  4. Howard Beale permalink

    The CCSS PR campaign is going to kick into high gear soon. Smarter Balanced just issued a 5 million dollar contract to Measurement Inc and CTB/McGraw Hill for standard setting and communication services. The third partner in the contract is RF Binder, a New York based PR firm.

    Let the spin begin.

  5. I’ve been grinning ever since I read this. 🙂

    I love to see them scrambling.

  6. permalink

    Education is free. Freedoom of education shall be enjoyed under the condition fixed by law and under the supreme control of the state
    –Karl Marx

  7. Howard Beale permalink

    Here is the link to the SB contract:

    Click to access SmarterBalanced21Proposal.pdf

  8. Harlan Underhill permalink

    Me too. A new sense for the word “grit.”

  9. The PR presses are really going to be rolling over the coming months, boys and girls. Get your waders on.

  10. John Young permalink

    Reblogged this on Transparent Christina.

  11. Reblogged this on Crazy Crawfish's Blog and commented:
    Don’t stop at being grains of sand. Be the gum, pebbles and wrenches as well.

  12. Mercedes, last year, in my blog I criticized Michael Mulgrew of the UFT when he stated a Delegate Assembly meeting that teachers created the common core. I sent him a letter in which I broke down his argument point-by-point. I ended up having one of his underlings call me basically ordering me to desist. By the way, I am a chapter leader for a school. I said to this underling that a union is supposed to be a democratic institution and he should follow the wishes of the members. Interestingly, in our last Delegate Assembly meeting, a teacher from Stuyvesant High School, which is one of America’s highest achieving public schools, wished to talk about the Common Core and how it was a maneuver by the corporate elite to dismantle public education. He had this person shouted down and then lambasted by a member of his executive board. Like Chicago, the membership must regain control of the union to reflect the interests of the city’s teachers. Unfortunately, most teachers really do not understand what is happening.

  13. Reblogged this on The Public Educator and commented:
    This is an excellent article by Mercedes Schneider showing the totalitarian nature of those who support the common core and the corporate takeover of public education. One conclusion that can be drawn is that teachers must regain control of their unions if we have any chance in this fight for the heart and soul of public education.

  14. Janna permalink

    The reports have just come out about CCSS and according to SREB it is a fabulous success. No whisper of any set backs or anything not working well.

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