The Common Core Standards are the subject of a raging war in the blogosphere. There is much heat and not enough light.
This morning linked from her blog Diane Ravitch shares an address she recently presented to the Modern Language Association on the subject of the Common Core. The link directs you to her blog, where you will find a link to the address.
In the address, Ravitch examines the policy context in which the Common Core Standards and their accompanying standardized tests were developed, how both standards and tests were developed, who paid for all this, how the tests will be graded, and what Ravitch believes will be the long and dangerous consequences.
She correctly, I believe, locates the primary problem. The Common Core Standards and tests are one more chapter of America’s current commitment to high-stakes standardized testing, using fear as a supposed motivator for educators, and obsessing about data. All this seems intended to suck the humanity right out of the schools that serve our children and adolescents.
And then there is the detail that surprised me (because clearly I have not been paying enough attention): the group that created the Common Core has ended its tenure. If the educators tasked with implementing the standards discover problems, there is no designated body to which they or anyone else can petition for revisions or improvements.
The address is 18 pages (double spaced). As an address, it is not footnoted. It represents Diane Ravitch’s conclusions about the Common Core Standards. I happen to share Ravitch’s assessment of the history and policy context and I also worry about who seems to be buying federal policy these days. What Ravitch describes, sadly, seems too typical of the very rushed and ideological way policy in education is being made these days. I recommend reading Ravitch’s speech if you are willing to devote a few minutes.