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Parents Have Been Right All Along About Common Core -- Officials Should Listen

December 13, 2018 - 6:00am

The enormous problems with Common Core Standards (CCSS) and accompanying tests have been obvious to parents and citizens groups since they first were imposed by states succumbing to federal bribery/coercion in 2010. Voluminous evidence continues to confirm those perceptive beliefs. 

Parents, along with many experts, saw the academic inferiority of CCSS immediately. Parents have been in the forefront of protesting the destruction of math education during the Common Core era. Not teaching standard algorithms, marking correct answers wrong because the student didn’t use Common Core methods, and developmentally inappropriate standards have made it impossible for parents, even engineers and professors, to help their children with math homework. The resulting distress has led to a mass exodus of both students and teachers from public schools.

In English, vocabulary-rich classical literature that both teaches students how to write well and important principles of Western Civilization has been replaced by dull technical manuals or psychologically manipulative texts. Snippets of classics are taught without context.

Data is vindicating these parental concerns in spades. Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project described a new Pioneer Institute study by Ted Rebarber of AccountabilityWorks and Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute, “Common Core, School Choice and Rethinking Standards-Based Reform,” that explains “how Common Core has not only damaged public education but also threatened the independence of private schools. How? By imposing government strings on the curricular autonomy of the schools that accept government funding via school-choice mechanisms such as vouchers. Rebarber called Common Core ‘the worst large-scale educational failure in forty years.’”

Undergirding that statement are the 2017 NAEP national results in math, which showed stagnation after declining for the first time in 25 years in 2015. Although Florida showed some improvement in math in 2017, Florida’s state test vendor  (American Institutes for Research) also performs “test development, psychometric analysis [and] validity studies” for the NAEP. So it is quite possible that Florida’s improvement has nothing to do with academic achievement, but with how its tests are written and validated. 

2018 ACT results also confirm the CCSS slide. The national average composite score was down one full point from 2017 to 2018, with declines in English, math, reading and science. The percentage of 2018 graduates meeting none of the ACT college readiness benchmarks rose from 31% to 35%. Florida’s 2018 average ACT composite score is nearly one full point below the national average and basically the same as last year’s score, with readiness benchmarks below the national average and stagnant since 2014.

The ACT and NAEP also show that CCSS is harming struggling students. Achievement gaps that were improving before CCSS are starting to widen again in Florida, and elsewhere. State test results for charter schools, which generally teach Common Core, show the same or increased percentages of D or F schools as the public schools teaching more struggling students with which they compete. These results confirm that CCSS has failed to produce promised celestial levels of improved college readiness and that “choice” programs, especially if CCSS are imposed, are likely not the promised silver bullet either. 

Parents have also long understood data privacy problems caused by CCSS. Legislators and the press mocked grassroots groups for concern that CCSS opened the door to Orwellian computer-based training, using devices that measure children’s heart rates and other physiological responses to computer lessons. But a 2013 federal report touted such “innovations” and linked them  to CCSS. Education technology companies brag about collecting millions of data points per student per day – using these same science-fiction devices -- yet policymakers ignore concerns and carry on. But parental privacy concerns were vindicated earlier this year when the FBI issued a public service announcement regarding education technology data privacy dangers.

Finally, parents have long understood CCSS introduces opportunities for indoctrination. Despite being mocked with “pants on fire” ratings from the press and ignored by legislators, they have been vindicated again. Richard Hess and Grant Addison of the American Enterprise Institute confirmed in National Review that teaching CCSS English and math lessons has taken a hard-left turn, reporting on at least one CCSS curriculum that slathers its Common Core [teacher] workshops with race-based rancor and junk science.”

They also say, “Once upon a time, Common Core critics were roundly mocked for fearing that the reading and math standards would somehow serve to promote sweeping ideological agendas; today, [these curriculum developers] are doing their best to vindicate those concerns.” 

Florida has suffered as a laboratory for CCSS and test-based accountability reforms for 20 years. Channeling Freedom Caucus principles, Governor-elect Ron DeSantis won the primary by twenty points partly due to his promise to “get rid of” Common Core. Backtracking to merely “review” CCSS as Governor Scott also did in 2014 before the rebrand almost cost both of them their gubernatorial elections. Supporting CCSS was a major reason Jeb Bush lost the presidential primary.

Parents justifiably hate Common Core, because it destroys their children’s love of learning. Instead of promoting school choice that will eventually result only in a choice of venue and not curriculum, Mr. DeSantis and education commissioner nominee Richard Corcoran, if appointed, should heed parents and make sound education standards, such as pre-Common Core Florida, California or Massachusetts standards and choice of classical curriculum available to all students. They also need to back down on invasive testing, profiling, and data collection. Education is not mere workforce prep and our children not just cogs in the machine.

Karen R. Effrem, M.D., is executive director of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, national education issues chairman of Eagle Forum and president of Education Liberty Watch.

Comments

You are complaining about LOCAL choices, LOCAL lessons & LOCAL grading policy. You don't seem to have even read the requirements No wonder U.S. ed fails when fake news dominates over legitimate definitions & laws.!

It is incorrect to qualify Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as a "liberal agenda." CCSS, along with charter schools, vouchers, standardized tests and invalid teacher evaluations are all tools that facilitate both the liberal and conservative agendas. Once we all realize that, we can begin to focus on things that actually improve student outcomes and not serve political agendas. Ganey Arsement www.educatelouisiana.org

I agree. It's bi-partisan malpractice.

I live in MD where CC is the standard. The math bugs me the most. My 10 y/o had a math problem the other day...”to find the sum of 8x5, multiply 5x2, then double, double, double”. The wording alone confused me. It took me a couple of “re-reads” to even process what the suggestion meant & I’m 45 y/o, college educated! Why are we changing the equation all together in order to find the correct answer?! I’m moving to FL in June & praying for a better outcome!

To dumb down our kids.. have time check out the new world order...agenda21 UN. Once they brought it in our schools have come Down... it is so hard most parents can’t help their children..so the kids have only their teachers.....not teaching cursive ... spelling.... typing, short hand, using calculators, Most kids can’t count money back to you...those are what we learned... my mom only had an 8 grade education but could add rolls of numbers perfect... my 22 yr...can’t read or write cursive...she couldn’t understand from than and then....when she was 13 .....now she works at subway... finally learning but machine does most of what is needed...

Sorry but you will find the same garbage in any state you move to including FL. I suggest a private school that has not bought into CC or home school. Freedom Project Academy is inexpensive, teacher led, on line private school that uses classical education. No CC and NO DATA COLLECTION. No alternative life styles either.....that stuff is for parents to teach.

It is all wrong. We need to go back to reading, writing, math, science, history and civics. Let teachers teach, give students books that match what is being taught and educate, not indoctrinate students. When this was done, students were educated. Now people with college degrees don't know the real if any history of this country, have no idea what the Constitution says or why it was written. They don't know what congress does besides spend tax payers money( ok no one knows what congress does besides spend tax payers money, because that is all they do anymore). All they know is what some liberal teacher says they should agree with. Students no longer know how to think for themselves, all they know is take notes and memorize. They no longer are taught to understand and think. These are what is wrong with education today. We need to go back to the " old ways" of teaching and thinking.

Yes! And I ‘m a teacher. Less liberal agenda promotion, including I.b., and more life skills, literacy, civility

The day the common core book in elementary math asked the question “Which numbers are symmets?” I knew this was garbage. Made up words for numbers? (The book said symmets are numbers that, when a line drawn thru them makes both sides equal. Such as 8,3,or11.)

Outstanding, Dr.Karen. We've been proud to work with you fighting CC for a long time, and I think finally we're going to see some victories.

Great article Karen, thank you. Now that you know...what will you do? Is America worth saving? If yes, will you take an active role in exposing this travesty? FS 2017 #989 gives every Florida resident the ability to challenge the texts. FloridaCitizensAlliance.com is setting up grass roots committees to tackle texts, school boards and legislators. Will you help? How many more generations of children will education destroy before we "fix" education. Join the Alliance. "It's the curricula stupid."

Either way, public education in this country has been in a decline for a good 40+ years. And, the southern states have clearly made the poorest showing.

Public education has been declining since the feel good 60s when the far left took over where anything goes and there are no standards, nothing "judgmental." The far left mantras have killed it, and now we reap the whirlwind. Your prejudice against southern states is blinding. Look if you have the stomach and the will at the scores of the disadvantaged kids in the northern and western states. It will destroy your false narrative.

This is a quote from my son's third grade math, "4 times as many as 6 equals 24." That someone would write that in a math lesson for third grade tells you how wrong the program is. Thank God we are getting rid of CCSS.

How do you figure anybody is "getting rid of CCSS"?? It is firmly entrenched in ESSA. Many states have SAID they're getting rid of it but all they've done is rebranded and tweaked a word here and a phrase there. It is SO not gone.

This is true! Here in Texas, teachers and parents actually believe there is no common core. The standards and curriculum match CCSS exactly.

I gave a talk on math education and a portion was on Common Core. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlLbXZOoAMU -- my comments on CC start at minute 19:25.

I've always found it amazing how schools tell the parents to be involved in the child's education. Work with them on their homework. Yet they change the way how the work is to be done. Mark wrong answers that are right mathematically because the process is NOT the preferred method. If the method used is a valid method and the answer is correct, the goal is not to educate but to change the the way the child thinks and remove the parent from the educational process....Leaving the education totally in the hands of the government. Hummmmmmm - I'd call that indoctrination not education.

Yes, and they can’ bring the texts home, and the worksheet doesn’t show the process or rubric

A set up piece. "Privatization" of education is the problem, not the solution to this country's educational failures.

Either you are proof of the articles premise with your government school education, displaying a complete inability to propose evidence based and coherent oppositional commentary, or you are just an idealogue.

No way! We all deserve a troph!

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