Common Core

Common Core's Corporate Backers Admit Widespread Failure of Textbooks

Central planning sucks.



States that adopted the Common Core national education standards still can't provide textbooks that actually teach what the standards require. That's a big problem for students who have to take Core-mandated standardized tests that are misaligned with their teachers' instructional materials.

An eye-opening investigation by Matt Collette of The Daily Beast reveals that most textbooks don't fully meet the standards, despite advertising themselves as Core-aligned. Collette consulted EdReports, a non-profit that evaluates textbooks; the group recently reviewed more than 80 textbooks and found that only 11 of them matched Common Core requirements.

Most damning of all was the fact that Pearson—a publishing giant with significant Common Core ties and exclusive contracts to develop testing materials for some Core-compliant states—"had zero textbooks evaluated as being aligned with the Common Core," according to Collette. This means, in a sense, that the gigantic corporation making the tests is also producing textbooks that don't teach to those tests.

Additionally ironic—and certainly noteworthy—is the fact the EdReports is funded by the Gates Foundation, an organization that funded and developed the Common Core and lobbied for its widespread adoption. I would thus expect EdReports to err on the side of favorable coverage for Core-related matters. That even a Gates-funded endeavor has serious concerns about textbook compliance suggests to me that concern is indeed merited.

The degree to which misaligned textbooks are a huge problem for students and teachers can't be overstated. From The Beast:

Cheryl Schafer was a veteran math teacher by the time Common Core arrived in New York back in 2010. It was apparent to her almost immediately that teachers didn't have the materials they needed to teach to the new national standards.

Take a middle school staple like the Pythagorean Theorem: "One text series had it as a sixth grade unit, one had it at eighth grade, and the Common Core wanted us to teach it in seventh grade," Schafer recalled. "So it didn't matter what you were using: there was disagreement all over the place."

In response to the new standards, textbook publishers touted new editions they said were aligned to the Common Core. But nearly all of them were just repackaged versions of earlier books.

And even five years later, the vast majority of textbooks say they're aligned with the Common Core when they actually aren't, creating a huge burden for teachers whose performance is often tied to their students' test scores based on those standards.

If Common Core puts the Pythagorean Theorem on the test for seventh graders, but the textbook doesn't teach it until eighth grade, students are going to be screwed over by low test scores. That's not fair to them, and it's not fair to teachers whose salaries and job security rely on their students scoring well.

It would appear a massive federal takeover of K-12 education that was subsequently outsourced to a confluence of pseudo-government and crony corporate interests isn't delivering a very practical product for American children. Now who would have expected that?

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  1. Enjoy your lonely common core ice floe, Jeb Bush.

    1. I hope the polar bears eat him.

      1. But he’s so fatty… Pastrami he is.

        Why do you hate teh Polar Bearz?

  2. air on the side of favorable coverage

    Or, they could err.


    1. Thank you. It’s a dirty job, but I didn’t want to have to do it.

    2. And they had the nerve to fire Lucy?!?

      Yeah, I said it.

      1. DON’T TALK ABOUT LU…I give up.

      2. I had no idea.

        This is why you should always sleep with the boss (looks knowingly at Robby)

      3. You know, she was before my tenure time. is it grammarian assholishness, or just the garden variety?


            *pours a sip for LUCY my homies*

    3. You’re not being an asshole on that one. It reflects very poorly on all English majors from Michigan.

      1. Thank you…

        /wipes tear from eye

      2. He ain’t even got no journalism degrees from Columbia or nothin.

    4. To air is human

      (insert 1980s Michael Jordan Nike commercial)

      1. Isn’t ‘err’ usually pronounced as “urr” rather than “air”?

        1. I’ve always pronounced it like “air”

        2. Not that I’ve ever heard. I certainly say “air”.

            1. To err is to pronounce “err” using a computer synthesizer.

              1. That’s not just *any* computer synthesizer, bub. That’s Emma, the single most sophisticated accent-free articulation device since… well, Roger, the 1980s computer, who for some reason added a Buffalo NY accent to everything,… but seriously! Its the final word on everything. EVERYTHING If Emma doesn’t say it, its not even a word.

                Also, she turns me on. I keep listening to “Err” over and over again.

                1. Speed it up and whack to it?

                2. I didn’t know Buffalo had an accent until I moved away and years later my company acquired a Buffalo office and I call them and HOLY CRAP.

                  1. Yeah. It’s part of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift. I can’t add the link here, but go read the Wikipedia entry for Northern Cities Vowel Shift.

                    I’m sure the Heroic Mulatto could explain it better. But basically those “North Coast” accents (Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland, Detroit, Wisconsin, Iowa) are becoming the “standardized” American accent. Useful for national advertising, books on tape, public speaking, etc.

                    1. Oh, I know all about that (I studied linguistics in Buffalo…). I have to slightly disagree about the “standardized” American accent. Iowa, yes. I agree that “standard American” (or “General American”) is found in that area (and stretches across a large portion of the country from about Iowa all the way to the west coast). But trust me, what comes out of Buffalonians mouths would not be considered “standard” by any American who is used to listening to network TV and news programs. When you hear it, it resembles a mixture of strong Chicago + Fargo characters.

          1. I pronounce it as I do the word error, but stop juuust before that second syllable.

        3. If you’re as pretentious and aristocratic as I am, of course!

          (rubs monocle)

          But this is America, friend.

        4. So when one makes a mistake it’s not an “urr or” then.

          1. Another lesser known proper-pronunciation ?

            Era –

            “eeer-ra”, not “Air-ah”

            But why am I bothering with you commoners? Please, continue with your silly way of saying things. Its makes delightful musical theatre.

            1. Air-ah?

              That’s how Ted Kennedy started all his sentences, amirite?

              1. Pretty sure most of Ted’s sentences started with


          2. “So when one makes a mistake”

            Sorry, I wouldn’t know anything about that.

  3. “Aligned”. They’ve got the Weasel Word standards correct.

  4. Clearly what we need is the federal government to intervene to address its failure of intervention.

    1. If you think the end game isn’t the ultimate death of local control of education and fully Federalized “Ministry of Education” you haven’t been paying attention. Marc S. Tucker has basically admitted it.

      1. Of course. This was the goal when Premier Carter of the Democratic People’s Republic of the United States created the Dept. of Education in 1979. Common Core is simply the latest in a series of molestations of schools by the Feds: Improving America’s Schools Act, No Child Left Behind Act, Higher Education Reconciliation Act, America COMPETES Act, Race to the Top….etc. etc…ad nauseam ad mortem.

    2. Let’s just get the Department of Education to write the textbooks!

      1. Just have the DNC do it and cut out the middleman.

      2. That’s no joke, dude. I’m betting that the proponents of Common Core will blame every single negative outcome on those evil, conniving, malicious corporations. I’m sure these people get all warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about the federal government writing every textbook.

    3. Does anyone know if Common Core is a federal program or an interstate compact?

  5. Common Core has been a pain in my and my husband’s asses. Not the good kind, either. And I hate it with the fiery hatred of a thousand burning suns, and it’s just been getting worse. Female Tax Deduction went into middle school this year and it has been a fucking nightmare of a transition academically.

  6. If Common Core puts the Pythagorean Theorem on the test for seventh graders, but the textbook doesn’t teach it until eighth grade, students are going to be screwed over by low test scores.

    What’s stopping them from deriving it from first principles? If the Greeks can do it, America had damn well better be able to!

    1. The Greeks, you say?

      You know what other thing they invented, right?

    2. The Greeks, you say?

      You are aware of other things they invented, aren’t you?

      1. There are just some days….

        F’n sqlrz….

      2. It’s funny because it’s true.

  7. I didn’t see it mentioned in the piece…

    …isn’t it relevant that every State & County Board of Education has its own (@#*@$ textbook committee?

    And that any Federal attempt to impose national curricula is naturally stepping all over the school district’s Petty Bureaucracy-toes, and that no one would ever grant the slightest lessening of their power, so effectively the idea of any one-size-fits-all approach is dead in the cradle?

    Something like that.

    1. States get a large share of their education funds from the fed. And the state legislatures are the ones who voted to adopt Common Core standards, so there’s really nothing the textbook committees can do about it.

    2. Nah, we just need to spend more money.

  8. So I was just watching a documentary about the Korean War.

    And it occurred to me = The Yellow Sea sounds to me like a particularly racist body of water.

    1. Goddamn Orientals will piss anywhere!

      1. I used to think that Coke thing was just a rumor. But then I went to china. Oh, they play joke indeed.

        1. Ha! I remember when the Village Voice devoted the cover to a big whine by Jeff Yang about how Asians were just as oppressed (or more!) as any aggrieved minority because kids used to chant that at him in school.

          1. I had to google that – maybe it’s a west coast thing? Cuz I’ve never heard of this before.

    2. You think that’s bad … what about the Black Sea? If cartographers had a shred of decency, they’d rename it the African-American Sea.

      And the Red Sea? Certainly it should be renamed the Native American Sea.

      But, that’s not the worst name by a long shot. What about the White River? How exclusionary and privileged it must be!

      1. Yeah! And bald eagle is offensive to those suffering from alopecia!

        And humpback whale is insensitive to those with kyphosis!

        1. And the Sperm Whale….


          nothing. We should probably celebrate it.

        2. Birds lay eggs. Eggs are the main ingredient in mayonnaise. Nothing is whiter than mayonnaise. Therefore, all birds are racists.

          1. What if the eggs are organic, GMO-free, and it’s artisanal mayonnaise.

            1. The only way to make mayo not racist is by dunking a smoked chicken in it. By killing the bird you cleanse the mayo of it’s racism.

              1. A smoked chicken?! Do you have any idea what firing up a smoker does to your carbon footprint? You’re raping Mother Earth!!

                1. Have you seen how that bitch was dressed? Gaia had it coming.

  9. “That’s not fair to them, and it’s not fair to teachers whose salaries and job security rely on their students scoring well.”

    The Teachers Union would like a word.

  10. Take a middle school staple like the Pythagorean Theorem: “One text series had it as a sixth grade unit, one had it at eighth grade, and the Common Core wanted us to teach it in seventh grade,” Schafer recalled. “So it didn’t matter what you were using: there was disagreement all over the place.”

    This reminds of a comment I read last night regarding Janet Napolitano’s immigration quip “Show me a 50′ wall and I’ll show you a 51′ ladder”. “She doesn’t understand the Pythagorean Theorem”, wrote the commenter. Well, she might, but sure hasn’t ever climbed a leaning ladder.

    Anyways, the whole concept of common core, as best I can understand it, is that you learn a topic when you’re ready, whether that’s in 3rd grade or 8th grade is supposed to be flexible.

    1. Anyways, the whole concept of common core, as best I can understand it, is that you learn a topic when you’re ready, whether that’s in 3rd grade or 8th grade is supposed to be flexible.

      You’re probably thinking of competency-based education. In fact, what you describe is the exact opposite of the Common Core’s intent. The Common Core are a set of standards describing what a student should know at a particular grade level. This goes hand-in-hand with a program of accountability, that is, if a kid isn’t meeting the standards of the grade he or she is in, (this is determined by performance on standardized tests), the teacher has some explaining to do.

      1. *Common Core State Standards are….

      2. So… it’s a complete and utter rejection of the way that kids actually learn. Especially if by “common” they mean *every* kid has to participate.

          1. Except what was working there (and doesn’t here) is due more to cultural factors that both sides seem to want to ignore. I have my doubts that our “feel good” approach will work there.

            1. I have my doubts that our “feel good” approach will work there.

              Based on youth suicide rates in both China and Japan, I think they could do with some more good feelings.

              1. Yeah, you’ve got a point there. Maybe there’s a “third way”… I thought the German approach seemed about right when I lived there in the 80s.

              2. The high suicide rate is due to those places being awash in guns. Geez, they invented the cursed things.

                1. I thought they invented African-American powder but guns came from someone else.

      3. From your first link:

        Q: What are the Common Core State Standards?

        A: The standards spell out, grade by grade, the reading and math skills that students should have as they go from kindergarten through high school.

        I had a first grader this past school year. He graduated! A chip off the old block. I am only repeating what his teacher’s understanding of the Common Core was. There might be a marketing problem here.

  11. I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned Richard Feynman yet.

    1. I didn’t know that was available on-line and trying to explain it from the book wasn’t gonna happen. It had to be in his words.

    1. You just have to rephrase like so: 75% of Americans want to encourage tax-free black markets.

      1. “D’oh! I mean, hey!”

    2. Buttsex and motorcyles are also unhealthy. 21 it is. Why 21? Why not just ban it? This is bit of tin-foil hat theory of mine, but the motorcycle helmet laws were the beginning of the end. California began its fall into the abyss at exactly the time helmets were required. That’s putting effect before cause, but I did nothing when that happened other than to sell my motorcycle. It’s my fault.

      1. So that’s why people buy motorcycles, for the sex? Interesting, in an abstract way.

    3. “Three out of four Americans favor raising smoking age to 21”

      I think there is probably a political-science algorithm which could be used to demonstrate that when a minority cohort falls from 20%+ to sub 20%, that suddenly the majority “respect” for that group tends to fall from Strong (or at least passive, grudging acceptance) to Weak (open contempt & distaste) very quickly.

      What I mean…sort of like the recent case study (mostly faked) that showed if gays went door to door and talked to people face-to-face that they had a very high rate of changing people’s ‘stated opinion’ re: Gay Marriage. Because suddenly the stranger’s issue was something more real and tangible, and people are generally nice and well disposed to people they *meet* (this is why salespeople go for *meetings* because you dont get anyone to do deals by phone or by mail. You close face to face). It doesn’t last forever, though. Its just a temporary change of category.

      My theory behind the 20% threshold is similar – its about how many people you know in your own circles and how you subconsciously categorize them. When the ratio of smokers/total-acquaintances falls to where they represent less than 1-5, you start to think of them differently; as socially aberrant rather than merely ‘an alternative’.

      I think it might have something to do with how he human brain has a way of retaining things in relational clusters.

      1. I don’t know if it helps with smokers, since face to face they smell like smoke, may possibly smoke around you, may stink up your house or car, etc., whereas abstractly you can be philosophical about it.

  12. The Trump is being interviewed by some NBC skank and he is just owing it. If NBC wanted to undermine him they should have sent a better interviewer. Instead they gave him free power-up.

  13. WTF is going on at the NYSE? I go to bed and when I get up I see a “glitch” has shut down trading. “He’ll come like a thief in the night.” *clasps rosary to chest.

    1. Pay no attention to the hacker behind the curtain.

      1. We’ve got to synchro-modulate the URL to avoid crashing the BUS into the mainframe server STAT!

      2. Behind the Iron Curtain? Are you blaming Snowden?

        1. Why, not at all, comrade.

          1. Ok then, I guess I won’t bury you.

    2. WTF is going on at the NYSE?

      The inscrutable China-men?

    3. My theory is that the Chicoms want to stop the outflow of capital from China to the US and other countries. Wealthy Chinese love Western finery – German cars, San Marino mansions, and Italian wines. I was driving up hiway 1 near El Capitan today and passed a Bentley. The driver was a Chinese woman. Not surprised.

      1. The Swiss took a small hit when they de pegged from the Euro, but long term it’ll help. Wonder if the Chinese are waiting to see how that turns out.

  14. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  15. Apparently they don’t really care about either the quality of education or our kids’ future. The whole common core ting went wrong even though with a little effort it could actually benefit learners. Apart from textbooks there are a few aspects that separately need change. For instance, students have no idea how prepare for assignments and usually come up with senseless papers. They are tested over and over, and instead of thinking they simply cram the material to pass these endless exams. Teachers should be there to help them develop critical thinking.

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