Is Common Core A ‘Victory For Everyone’?
On Tuesday, Chester Finn and Mike Petrilli, from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, had an op-ed supporting the Common Core State Standards published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. They have placed this same op-ed in a half dozen other newspapers over the past few months. To which, Neal McCluskey and Ann Marie Banfield wrote an excellent response back in July.
Let’s start with Finn and Petrilli’s argument that [Missourians] should embrace Common Core in part because the state “has already invested time and money to implement the new standards.” Basically, Washington successfully coerced [Missouri] into sinking money into Common Core, so we had better stick with it.
McCluskey and Banfield note that the Fordham piece mischaracterized the nature of Common Core’s development.
Common Core was created by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, associations that neither represent states nor the people of [Missouri]. Legislators represent you, and the NGA doesn’t speak for states just because governors are elected. NGA decisions have no binding ramifications for states, and it’s doubtful anyone has ever voted for a gubernatorial candidate based on what they thought he or she would do in the NGA. Governors simply have very little incentive to care what the NGA does.
Next, the Obama administration didn’t just “promote” the standards, it coerced their adoption with real ramifications. At the nadir of the “Great Recession,” it told states that to fully compete in the $4.35 billion Race to the Top program they had to promise to adopt Common Core. That is exactly what most did, before the final standards were even published. Adoption was cemented by making it one of only two ways states could meet requirements for waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act.
Finn and Petrilli claim that the Common Core doesn’t dictate curriculum and is good for school choice.
That’s like saying that government requiring you to ride a bike, but letting you pick the color and a banana seat, doesn’t constrain your transportation options. Similarly, they suggested that because lots of people are scrambling to produce Core-aligned materials, it’s fostering innovation. That’s basically proclaiming that with all car and airplane manufacturers suddenly making bikes, travel innovation will explode.
Readers shouldn’t be fooled by the folks at Fordham; the Common Core is definitely not a “victory for everyone,” as they would have you believe.
(Hat tip to John Combest for pointing out all the places the Fordham piece was published.)