Is Common Core on the Ropes?


Dietmar Temps / Foter

Opponents of rigid and controversial Common Core education standards just may be winning the battle. That pending victory is something Reason has pointed out in the past, as we've urged that libertarians should cheer for such an outcome, and work instead for expanded flexibility in education, and more consideration for the diversity of the kids on the receiving end of educrat ambitions.

It's impassioned moms who are defeating Common Core, suggests Stephanie Simon at Politico, overwhelming "sedate videos" and "talking points."

Honestly, though, Common Core supporters have also resorted to less cerebral tactics, such as condescension and political smears.

Simon's article is tilted more than a little toward the idea that Common Core has the facts on its side, while opponents are driven by emotion.

Teachers who like the Common Core say it's revolutionized their classrooms, prodding students to read texts more closely and think more analytically. But it's hard to convey that in a tweet. Really good sixth-grade essay questions rarely go viral. A nonsensical math problem might, whether or not it truly has anything to do with the Common Core.

In fact, though, while some of the arguments against the standards—as with anything coming from a grassroots movement—can be a little wild-eyed, opponents raise serious concerns about the way the standards were developed and their one-size-fits-all nature.

In the Washington Post, teacher Edward Miller and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, an academic specializing in early childhood education, questioned the appropriateness of the standards for younger students. "It appears that early childhood teachers and child development experts were excluded from the K-3 standards-writing process."

The Cato Institute's Jason Bedrick focuses on the standards' rigidity, warning that "Common Core-aligned tests (particularly college entrance exams) will essentially dictate content: what concepts are taught when and perhaps even how."

Which is to say, moms (and others) may have good reason to be pissed off.

Whatever the arguments wielded by the opposing sides, though, though, opponents seem to be gaining the upper hand. The public is still split, but opposition to the standards is on the rise in places like California and New York. Nationally, Republicans take a dim view of the scheme.

EdWeek tracks state efforts to ditch Common Core, though its tracker isn't up-to-date. Oklahoma isn't even listed, though that state's Supreme Court recently upheld the legislature's torpedoing of the standards.

Simon says that Common Core supporters "consider it a victory that just five states, so far, have taken steps to back out."

Well, that's a start.