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Whatever Will We Do If We Dump Common Core?

March 31, 2014

A component of pushing the so-called Common Core State Standards (CCSS) involves panicking the public into believing that in the absence of CCSS, states will have no standards.

This message is promoted in the Associated Press. On March 30, 2014, Melinda Deslatte offers the following If Not CCSS, Then What? message in her coverage of the Louisiana capitol:

Lawmakers can only take one approach to make critics… happy: Get Louisiana out of Common Core and its related testing.

But if legislators do that, what education standards do they put in place? How quickly could they develop them? How much would state-specific standards cost? And how disruptive would a change be in schools already transitioning to Common Core? [Emphasis added.]

Allow me to expose this nonsense for what it is.

First of all, no one advocating for CCSS was educated via CCSS. Conversely, every corporate reformer, every promoted of for-profit education, every test-driven, disruptive-education promoter was educated under some educational umbrella (whether called “standards” or not) other than the Core.

If self-declared “reformers” promote non-CCSS education as substandard, and all of these “reformers” lack a CCSS-based education, then they declare themselves as substandardly educated– in which case, why should anyone bother heeding any advice they should push onto the public?

In short, they declare themselves as not educated well enough to listen to.

Great irony, isn’t it?

Let’s take it a step further.

Every corporate reformer’s child who currently attends an elite private school is exempt from CCSS. Note that none of the top 50 best private day schools in America (as rated by advertise adherence to CCSS.

They do, however, advertise “a huge array of special programs to ensure that students develop their interests outside the classroom”;  “the musical groups on campus are impressive: a glee club, an a capella group, a junior chorus, a jazz band, and various chamber ensembles are available for student participation”; “many study abroad and exchange programs”, and “seek[ing] to educate the whole person inside and outside of the classroom: In addition to offering an assortment of co-curricular activities, students are required to pass a swim test, learn CPR, and complete community service hours as part of their graduation requirements.”

There is much more available for those privileged enough to attend these elite schools– but there is no CCSS.

CCSS-“potted meat” education is for the masses.

And according to Deslatte of the Associated Press, whatever will states do if the dump CCSS?

Well, Melinda, before there was CCSS, every state had standards in place.

In its unrelenting push for CCSS, in July 2010, the Fordham Institute graded the standards for all states and compared their grades to the grades they gave CCSS.

Now, the Fordham Institute pushes CCSS for all states– yet they graded CCSS English Language Arts (ELA) as a B-plus and CCSS math as an A-minus.

“Not perfect”– Fordham’s own words– yet Fordham promotes CCSS as The Answer– a promotion that Deslatte also advances via her “whatever will we do?” stance in the absence of CCSS.

Moreover, Fordham actually graded three states/districts as having both math and ELA standards superior to CCSS– California, Indiana, and DC.

Of course, Fordham does not advertise this information. it would be bad for CCSS business.

And yet, in another irony of late, CCSS-superior Indiana has pretended to dump CCSS in order to have “its own” state standards– which has amounted to little more than an attempt to covertly retain CCSS.

Allow me to reiterate: The Fordham Institute– an organization that wants CCSS– graded Indiana’s standards as superior— and yet Indiana chose not to simply return to its former “CCSS-superior” standards– though it could have done so.

And, Melinda, Fordham gave Louisiana’s ELA standards the same grade as it gave CCSS ELA– a B-plus– so it seems that pro-CCSS organizations like Fordham have no justification for promoting CCSS ELA as “superior” to Louisiana’s ELA standards.

Nevertheless, CCSS is sold to the American public as both necessary and “superior”– further proof that CCSS is not a set of standards but a political ploy.

Now, to return to Deslatte’s “the sky is falling” questioning as presented at the opening of this post.

I will answer each– and I will do so using a mind educated via non-CCSS imposition.

But if legislators do that (dump CCSS), what education standards do they put in place?


Legislators need not “put standards into place.”

Each state can return to the standards in place prior to the CCSS bait-and-switch.

How quickly could they develop them?

This push for “quick development” is a major flaw of CCSS. “Quick development” seems to happen via secretive committees and clandestine arrangements– certainly not the way standards should be developed.

No need to re-invent. Each state already had a set of standards in place. Once freed of CCSS, the education stakeholders in each state are then able to revisit and modify its standards as each state sovereignly sees fit.

How much would state-specific standards cost?

No one seemed to investigate this question prior to and regarding CCSS implementation.

Concerning its former standards, each state already has such information since each state has already utilized its standards prior to the CCSS imposition.

And how disruptive would a change be in schools already transitioning to Common Core?

It is CCSS that is “disruptive” as evidenced by the nationwide pushback from stakeholders forced to use CCSS by those above CCSS consequences– and yet benefiting from CCSS profits.

It is foolish to argue that states should keep the rigid, CCSS non-standards only to avoid change.

Revisiting education systems and assumptions is necessary– but it must emerge from the stakeholders. In order to improve the educational standards of any state, those with a vested interest in the quality of education for their children must be the ones to initiate, navigate, institute, and evaluate the standards (and curriculum and materials, and assessments) based upon outcomes they determine to be meaningful.

Such cannot be accomplished from some controlling “top” and forced upon some helpless “bottom”– which is exactly what CCSS enforcement demands.

Thus, I agree with another of Deslatte’s statements previously highlighted in this post:

Lawmakers can only take one approach to make critics… happy: Get Louisiana out of Common Core and its related testing.

Proverbial nail hit squarely on its proverbial head.

  1. Excellent information, as always. Thank you for your blog!

    • Also, Dr. Stotsky (author of Massachusetts’ top standards) and Dr. James Milgram (the folks on the Common Core validation committee who wouldn’t sign off on it) have previously volunteered to help any state or school who back out of CommonCore to help them create state standards.

      They have also posted free standards here (these would have been Massachusetts new standards if the Governor wasn’t in the can for Obama and Common Core:

  2. Michael permalink

    People do not need standards- States do.

    People are not machines.

    • indeed

      Standards are for specs to be entered into CNC milling machines for the production of identically machined screws.

      Kids are not screws.

  3. Chris Van Arsdale permalink

    I’m with Michael. From the classroom perspective, any externally produced standards, when associated with test and data driven ‘accountability’, lead to the same end result. As long as we are teaching to tests, we will produce a generation of widget makers. Will a generation of widget makers be able to return us to a country of divergent thinkers? Local control, please.

  4. Gosh, before I had David Coleman to do my thinking for me, I had to try to do that myself. Can you imagine??!!! Thinking is so HARD.

    Fortunately, Achieve appointed Lord Coleman absolute monarch of English language arts instruction in the United States, and now I can all just do as I am told.

    And after all, Lord Coleman brought such VAST experience as an educator to the task of turning education in English into a Powerpoint bullet list to tag Gates’s and Pearson’s and Amplify’s software to!

    I know that some haters have claimed that Lord Coleman didn’t have the right experience for the job. Haters gotta hate. But I have it on excellent authority that he actually once applied for teaching jobs for a while. So there!

    And such PROFOUND scholarship! Lord Coleman has actually CLOSELY READ King’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail. Wow! So many big words in there! What’s the Lexile on THAT???!!!! Before Lord Coleman, I and my students just tried to struggle our way through the big letters on the outside of cereal boxes.

    Lord Coleman. The man just kinda takes your breath away, huh? Listening to him is up there with reading one of those profound philosophical pieces in the Reader’s Digest back in that day! What a mind! They sure do turn out some impressive Rhodes Scholars these days!!!

    Where could Achieve have possibly found another such towering intellect? The author of The Secret is just too busy, and the only comparable thinker might be, say, GW Bush, but he’s now retired after his careful stewardship of our country in the war on turrur. You never would have caught me misunderestimating that one!!!

    Whatever would I do if I had to go back to deciding for myself what learning progressions to follow, what outcomes to measure, and how those outcomes might be formulated operationally?

    I might have to fall back on, uh, my teaching experience, my knowledge of kids,my scholarship, the vast research literature in each domain of the English language arts, my creativity, my colleagues, my professional judgment.

    But lucky for me, none of that matters anymore. I have Lord Coleman’s BULLET LIST.

    This testimonial from a REAL TEACHER is brought to you by the AFT and the NEA propaganda ministries of the Common Core Curriculum Commissariat and Ministry of Truth. CCCC MiniTru, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

  5. John Young permalink

    Reblogged this on Transparent Christina.

  6. Beth permalink

    “There is much more available for those privileged enough to attend these elite schools– but there is no CCSS.”
    My son attends a private, non-diocesan, Catholic school that offers all the elite programs listed above. They do not advertise the use of CCSS, but they are adhering to the standards in order to remain a competitive college-prep school. Just sayin’ :-).

  7. Peggy S permalink

    Whatever happened to the standards from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) that were developed with input from teachers, students & parents between 1994 & 2011???? There’s a good place to start. These rigorous & comprehensive standards were in place & working well for disciplines across the curriculum. The public seems to think we are writing on stone tablets in the classroom….

  8. Laura h. Chapman permalink

    Ohio currently has 3,203 standards on the books, including 1,600 CCSS (counting parts a-e). That’s about 267 per grade level. The effective instructional year in our state has dropped to 167 days, from 180 days. I will let you do the math on how many standards a day ( on average) must be addressed.

    We are drowning in standards created by discipline-centered groups who have written standards in the hope that grade-level (not grade span) standards will command more curriculum time.

    I do not want suggest that emphasizing the so-called “21st century skills” is an alternative because that is just a meme conjured by PR expert Ken Kay, who put some “human relations” and corporate language into circulation with considerable support from tech companies. The standardization of education along disciplinary lines is, by design, intended to kill off any remnant of the progressive impulse to frame education around problems or broad themes.

    It is instructive to take a retrospective look at the standards written under the Goals 2000 Educate America Act (H.R. 1804, 1994), At that time, K-12 standards were written in 14 domains of study, 24 subjects, then parsed into 259 standards, and 4100 grade-level benchmarks.

    A dispute over the status of history versus social studies ended in no “approved” standards for the latter, but 87 standards and 1,281 grade level standards for history. In those history standards, facts are supposed to matter. Even so, students were (falsely) expected to know that Mary Cassatt was a famous American Regionalist painter. (Wrong. The artist she lived most of her life in Paris, is best known as an Impressionist). That is just one of many other questionable standards, never subjected to independent review. Source: Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education, “Process” Midcontinent Research for Education and Learning, (2011),

    If Ohio’s current standards are typical, there has been no crosschecking of the sets of standards for duplications, synergies, contradictory expectations, feasibility, developmental coherence, or simply dead wrong content. These standards are surrounded with all of the mandatory rhetoric of the day. They are strictly academic. They are rigorous. Students must master them on time, grade-by-grade with no regard for incremental understandings that may later produce insight and understanding. Our spreadsheets and checklists for mastery must be complete or we, and our students have failed.

    n the context of k-12 education, I believe that standards should be re-conceived as a combination of principles, best guess guidelines, and rules of thumb, not treated as seems “common” today as inflexible and of one size for all.

  9. What to do without Common Core? Teachers go back to real teaching. While we’re at it, get rid of testing mandates brought on by NCLB, too. Then, teachers could really, really teach and students would truly be free to learn.

  10. NY Teacher permalink

    I just started this at Petition2Congress. It is very easy to sign, copies are automatically sent to President Obama, and your own senators and your representatives. Please take the time to read and the petition entitled: STOP COMMON CORE TESTING. Thank you.

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