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Common Core Comments: Pro and Con

“Our educational system has become so tangled in experiments and exams and excuses that we’ve drifted away from the basis of what makes education great: learning to think critically and solve problems. 

“We have drifted away from the fundamentals of what makes a great teacher: the ability to light a fire in a child, to develop in him or her a level of intellectual curiosity, the grit to persevere and the capacity to expand. Great teachers help to activate a small thing that breeds great minds: thirst. 

“The Common Core is meant to help bolster those forms of learning and teaching. 

“The Common Core is for the common good, if only we can get our act together and properly implement it.”

— Charles M. Blow, Op/Ed columnist for the New York Times.  


“Why in the world would he enthuse about the Common Core tests? As we saw recently in New York, the new tests widened the gaps between affluent and poor, between black and white, between English language learners and native speakers, between children with disabilities and those without. Common Core has no evidence to support its claims. The Common Core tests are deepening the stratification of society and falsely labeled two-thirds of the state’s children as failures. ‘Harder’ tests do not make kids smarter. It will take smaller classes, experienced teachers, and a greater investment in the neediest children to do that.’’

— Diane Ravitch, an education historian and former U.S. secretary of Education, responding to Blow’s comments.   



“What happened was far beyond anyone’s expectations: 45 states and D.C. voluntarily adopted these new standards. Nobody foresaw that development in 2009. It’s a testament to the courage of these state leaders and the power of a good idea whose time had come.

“It was powerful for two reasons: because these standards were rigorous enough to prepare students for the real world, and because they would be shared among a number of states. Here’s what that means:

“Today, I believe, literally for the first time in American history, a child in Mississippi will face the same expectations as a child in Massachusetts. 

“Today, a fourth grade teacher in New Mexico can develop a lesson plan at night and, the very next day, a fourth grade teacher in New York can use it and share it with others if she wants to. 

“Today, the child of a Marine officer, who is transferred from Camp Pendleton in California to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, will be able to make that academic transition without a hitch, instead of having to start over in a widely different place academically. 

“When these standards are fully implemented, a student who graduates from a high school in any one of these states — who is performing at standard — will be ready to attend and succeed in his or her state university without remedial education. Historically, in far too many communities, more than half of those who actually graduated from high school needed remedial help in college.”

— Arne Duncan, U.S. secretary of Education 



“Common Core means federal control of school curriculum, i.e., control by Obama administration left-wing bureaucrats. Federal control will replace all curriculum decisions by state and local school boards, state legislatures, parents and even Congress because Obama bypassed Congress by using $4 billion of Stimulus money to promote Common Core.

“It’s not only public schools that must obey the fed’s dictates. Common Core will control the curriculum of charter schools, private schools, religious schools, Catholic schools and homeschooling.

“The control mechanism is the tests. Kids must pass the tests in order to get a high school diploma, admittance to college or a GED. If they haven’t studied a curriculum based on Common Core, they won’t score well on the tests.

“Don’t be under any illusion that Common Core will make kids smarter. The Common Core academic level is lower than what many states use now, and the math standards are so inferior that the only real mathematician on the validation committee refused to sign off on the math standards.”

— Phyllis Schlafly, conservative political analyst, writing in the Christian Post

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