6 Reasons why the Common Core Standards are a big fail

The Common Core Standards:

  •  Had zero input from educators in the State of Washington. In fact, the Common Core “State” Standards were adopted by Washington State before the standards were completed and reviewed.
  • Dumbs down education by teaching to the test and the narrowing of curriculum.
  • Requires millions of dollars to provide books, teaching plans, handouts, tests and homework sheets. (See below.) This does not include the necessary upgrading of a school and District’s tech system, the cost of computers, downtime of librarians and teaching staff to proctor the exams and of course, class time. This is not a sustainable program in terms of loss of class time, staff and costs.
  • Does not allow for the development of creative and critical thinking skills.
  • Is high stakes. Low test results could lead to teachers being fired, schools closed or converted into charter schools per Race to the Top requirements. Chicago (Rahm Emmanuel) and New York are trying to convert the bottom 5% of all schools into charter schools with no allowances. High stakes testing also leads to unnecessary stress on the part of teachers and students.
  • Sets up a state data bank which provides any third party with an interest in developing “educational products” access to personal information of a student. This is part of the deal with Race to the Top funding prerequisites.

The connection between the Common Core Standards and the loss of student privacy is that the Common Core Standards testing consortia, PARCC and SBAC, are funded by the Race to the Top Assessment Grant Program with 360 million dollars for assessment (testing) grants. Race to the Top requires an enormous amount of data mining and gathering of personal information of students.

Cost Estimates for Implementing the Common Core State Standards in Washington State

From the editor of Truth in American Education and my Common Core Standards guru for Washington State:

The true cost of the adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards in Washington State is unknown. The legislature authorized the superintendent of public instruction to provisionally adopt the standard prior to any cost analysis. It does not appear that the legislature has done any cost analysis on their own but is relying on information provided to them by the superintendent and his office. To the state’s credit, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) did estimate costs for implementation. While the estimates may be questionable, at least they made some estimates. Most states did not consider costs at the time of adoption or even later.

Are the estimated costs questionable? The state spent more than $30 million for professional development when new math standards were adopted in 2008. In Jan. 2011, OSPI’s five year estimated cost for implementation of the CCSS was $182.6 million. If you factor in textbooks and materials, this cost would bring this estimate to around $300 million. This estimate did not include textbooks, technology, or assessments. Later, in Dec. 2011, OSPI produced another five year estimate of nearly $23 million. A lot of assumptions were made in this estimate.

For Seattle, the estimate is $15M for implementation and does not include technological upgrades.

From Stop Common Core in Washington State:

WA Five Year Estimated Costs for CCSS Implementation January 2011
 Five Year Total Percent
State Level Costs$17,100,0009.4%
District Level Costs$165,500,00090.6%
State Level and District Level Costs$182,600,000
State Level and District Level Costs$182,600,000
Add Textbooks and Curriculum Materials$300,000,000 TOTAL

Now the human factor in regards to the Common Core Standards:

The Common Core Is Tough on Kids With Special Needs

In a recent discussion board thread on reading comprehension challenges in autism, a special-education teacher commented that her students can’t understand the assigned reading passages. “When I complained, I was told that I could add extra support, but not actually change the passages,” she wrote. “It is truly sad to see my students’ frustration.”

Why must this teacher’s students contend with passages that are too complex for them to understand? She attributes this inflexibility to the Common Core, new standards—created in 2009 by a group of education professionals, none of them K-12 classroom teachers or special-education experts—that have been adopted by 45 states. Though most Common Core goals are abstract and schematic, collectively they constitute a one-size fits-all approach that, in practice, has severely straightjacketed America’s special-needs students.

To read more, go to The Atlantic.

Arkansas Mother Obliterates Common Core in 4 Minutes.


And this from a Principal:

‘I was naïve about Common Core’

When I first read about the Common Core State Standards, I cheered.  I believe that our schools should teach all students (except for those who have severe learning disabilities), the skills, habits and knowledge that they need to be successful in post secondary education. That doesn’t mean that every teenager must be prepared to enter Harvard, but it does mean that every young adult, with few exceptions, should at least be prepared to enter their local community college. That is how we give students a real choice.

I even co-authored a book, “Opening the Common Core,” on how to help schools meet that goal.  It is a book about rich curriculum and equitable teaching practices, not about testing and sanctions. We wrote it because we thought that the Common Core would be a student-centered reform based on principles of equity.

I confess that I was naïve. I should have known in an age in which standardized tests direct teaching and learning, that the standards themselves would quickly become operationalized by tests. Testing, coupled with the evaluation of teachers by scores, is driving its implementation. The promise of the Common Core is dying and teaching and learning are being distorted.  The well that should sustain the Core has been poisoned.

I hear about those distortions every day.  Many of the teachers in my high school are also the parents of young children.  They come into my office with horror stories regarding the incessant pre-testing, testing and test prep that is taking place in their own children’s classrooms.  Last month, a colleague gave me a multiple-choice quiz taken by his seven-year old son during music.  Here is a question:

Kings and queens COMMISSIONED Mozart to write symphonies for celebrations and ceremonies. What does COMMISSION mean?

  • to force someone to do work against his or her will
  • to divide a piece of music into different movements
  • to perform a long song accompanied by an orchestra
  • to pay someone to create artwork or a piece of music

Whether or not learning the word ‘commission’ is appropriate for second graders could be debated—I personally think it is a bit over the top.  What is of deeper concern, however, is that during a time when 7 year olds should be listening to and making music, they are instead taking a vocabulary quiz.

To read this article in full, go to the Washington Post.

And from a high school student,

Tennessee high school senior student decimates Common Core


An excerpt from:

Everything you need to know about Common Core

by Diane Ravitch

The Common Core standards were written in 2009 under the aegis of several D.C.-based organizations: the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve. The development process was led behind closed doors by a small organization called Student Achievement Partners, headed by David Coleman. The writing group of 27 contained few educators, but a significant number of representatives of the testing industry. From the outset, the Common Core standards were marked by the absence of public participation, transparency, or educator participation. In a democracy, transparency is crucial, because transparency and openness builds trust. Those crucial ingredients were lacking.

The U.S. Department of Education is legally prohibited from exercising any influence or control over curriculum or instruction in the schools, so it could not contribute any funding to the expensive task of creating national standards. The Gates Foundation stepped in and assumed that responsibility. It gave millions to the National Governors Association, to the Council of Chief School Officers, to Achieve and to Student Achievement Partners. Once the standards were written, Gates gave millions more to almost every think tank and education advocacy group in Washington to evaluate the standards—even to some that had no experience evaluating standards—and to promote and help to implement the standards. Even the two major teachers’ unions accepted millions of dollars to help advance the Common Core standards. Altogether, the Gates Foundation has expended nearly $200 million to pay for the development, evaluation, implementation, and promotion of the Common Core standards. And the money tap is still open, with millions more awarded this past fall to promote the Common Core standards.

For additional information on the Common Core Standards, see:

The Trouble with the Common Core published in Rethinking Schools

Truth in American Education

Stop Common Core in Washington State

Join us on Wednesday, March 26th when Jesse Hagopian and I present information on the Common Core Standards, high stakes testing and opting out at the next Seattle Education Meetup.

I will leave you with this:

Dr. Megan Koschnick presents on Common Core at APP Conference


Submitted by Dora Taylor

Post Script:

The data board shown above was incorrectly captioned by me. If you go to http://livingthefocus.blogspot.com/2008/11/posting-goals-data-and-celebrating.html you will see how I made the mistake.

Unfortunately, these data boards are popping up in classrooms around the country where test results  and “data” is what education has become.

A few more examples, without schools names attached, are below:

data wall
A data wall using numbers instead of students' names.
No student can leave home now without their "Data Notebook".

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