“Common Core is not state-led, rigorous, or internationally-benchmarked, and it poses a grave threat to family, local, and state sovereignty,” said Joy Pullman of the Heartland Institute during a public hearing for the Pennsylvania State Senate Education Committee back in May 2013.
It seems that much of what Common Core advocates have been telling us is either deceptive or factually unfounded.
For instance, the very idea that the program is a “state-led” initiative is misleading at best.
The Common Core was created by groups that are funded by the federal government, private foundations (notably the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and big businesses. This is interesting, given that most school-choice opponents think that big business is involved in charter schools when really it seems as if big business is actually much more involved in the standards and curriculum of traditional public schools.
It is also worth mentioning the lack of transparency in creating the standards. The decisions were made hidden away from public eye, and it’s not certain who the key decision makers for the Common Core standards really were.
The public does not have any assurance whatsoever that the experts who were present for the meetings actually had a say in creating the standards. Pullman did say that, according to validation committee members, four lead writers with no background in K-12 education — who were not even from Pennsylvania — had the final say in creating the benchmarks for the state.
During the hearing, Pullman made a reference to research from Bluegrass Institute’s education analyst Richard Innes. As Pullmann tells it:
“In the 1990s, Innes called out the Kentucky department of education for a jump in the numbers of students excluded from taking state tests, which caused higher overall student test scores. To attempt to prove him wrong, the department hired a researcher to extrapolate what scores on state tests the excluded kids would have gotten by pulling their results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. One problem: NAEP scores are anonymous. No problem. Simply by comparing basic demographic data from both tests, the researcher was able to attach student names back onto their original test scores with an 86 percent accuracy rate.”
And while many aspects of the Common Core can be debated, it is irrefutable that, at the time of implementation, there was no evidence to say that Common Core had benefited students anywhere in the world.
How do we know? Because it was an entirely experimental endeavor, Pullman pointed out in her testimony.
In other words, states across the country, including Kentucky (the first state to adopt Common Core), implemented this program without any idea of whether or not the program would work.
Jason Zimba, one of the two Common Core math writers, said that the Common Core prepares students “for a non-selective community college.” So much for the Common Core standards being rigorous, college- and- career- ready, and internationally benchmarked.
Elaina Waters, BIPPS Intern