Guest Column: The outing of Common Core Standards (Part 2) - The Explorer: Northwest Chatter

Guest Column: The outing of Common Core Standards (Part 2)

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Richard D. Brinkley

Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 5:28 pm

Two individuals who were members of the Common Core validation committees refused to endorse the standards. Dr. Jim Milgram, Stanford University, was the only professional mathematician and expert on content on the review committee.  He has a background in writing standards and evaluating international standards for leading countries. His review of Common Core standards resulted in his following conclusion:

“Besides the issue mentioned above, Core Standards in Mathematics have very low expectations. When we compare the expectations in Core Standards with international expectations at the high school level we find, besides the slow pacing, that Core Standards only cover Algebra I, much but not all of the expected contents of Geometry, and about half of the expectations in Algebra II. Also, there is no discussion at all of topics more advanced than these . . . 

“The Core Mathematics Standards are written to reflect very low expectations. More exactly, the explicitly stated objective is to prepare students not to have to take remedial mathematics courses at a typical community college. They do not even cover all the topics that are required for admission to any of the state universities around the country.

“Realistically, the most likely outcome of the Core Mathematics geometry standards is the complete suppression of the key topics in Euclidean geometry including proofs and deductive reasoning  . . .”

Sandra Stotsky, Professor of Education Reform, 21st Century Chair in Teacher Quality, University of Arkansas, has extensive experience in development of K-12 standards in Massachusetts, Texas and Common Core. Her comments on Common Core included:

“I was the only English language standards person on the [review] committee . . .

“The standards which I have analyzed in detail many times over, do not signify readiness or authentic college level work, at best they point to readiness for a high school diploma . . . Professor Milgram says the same thing about the mathematics standards. We’re talking about the Common Core’s standards. Neither of them make us competitive with other countries that have high expectations for their high school students.

“Common Core’s ‘college readiness’ standards for English language arts and reading do not aim for a level of achievement that signifies readiness for authentic college-level work. They point to no more than readiness for a high school diploma (and possibly not even that, depending on where the cut score on tests based on these standards is set). Despite claims to the contrary, they are not internationally benchmarked.”

Why, then, is the Obama administration pushing Common Core standards that essentially dumb down K-12 education, that essentially lower educational standards in America and that make us less competitive with other countries?

The answer lies in the so-called progressive mind-set that this is not about education but about creating education haves and have-nots: Wilson’s elites versus non-elites.  

To ensure the outcome, Common Core has been copyrighted to the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), which are private trade groups that received extravagant funding from private entities like the Gates Foundation.  Unless the states reject Common Core, local school boards and parents will have been cut out of the education picture.

Stimulus money for Common Core will cease in September 2014, meaning Arizona will have to pick up the cost. Has the Arizona Department of Education notified the Legislature of this impending expense that could rise in the hundreds of millions of dollars?  

Issues of cost, and population tracking and control are why states are beginning to back away from Common Core. As more states back away from Common Core, the cost to the remaining states will increase proportionately.  

Common Core Standards are a disaster for parents, local school districts and our children.  Arizona must reject this egregious gambit. Common Core will not produce the best and brightest but jabbering parrots, qualified only to be a Wilson non-elite as a low-paid employee in a static job.

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