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At the Chalk Face: Whatever Will We Do If We Dump Common Core?

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.

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Mercedes Schneider

Mercedes Schneider is a Louisiana public school teacher and education activist. She holds a Ph.D. in applied statistics and research methods and has taught for th...