Putting Education Reform To The Test

Common Core Defenders To Critics: Knock It Off, Guys

Knock it off.

That’s the tone in a series of exasperated editorials aimed at critics of new education standards known as Common Core.

David Castillo Dominici / freedigitalphotos.net

Supporters of the Common Core have taken an exasperated tone with critics.

Florida has been leading the consortium of 45 states who are developing Common Core standards for education. In the past few weeks, objections to the new national benchmarks—and the new standardized tests that will accompany them—have been getting louder.

Last week, students in New York sat for the state’s first standardized tests tied to Common Core. The New York Times was among the publications that reported on complaints: Tearful students, not enough time to finish the exams, parents who didn’t want their kids to be guinea pigs for the latest in standardized testing.

Even so, the editorial that ran in The New York Times over the weekend summarily dismisses the parents and activists who are outraged by the Common Core:

“They shouldn’t be: the tests, which measure math and English skills, are an essential part of rigorous education reforms known as Common Core that seek to improve reasoning skills and have been adopted by 45 states. … The Common Core standards were the product of a heavily researched, bipartisan effort pioneered by the National Governors Association in collaboration with the Council of Chief State School Officers.”

The Times editorial board points out there’s since been significant agitation from the political right to put the kibosh on Common Core:

“The Republican National Committee has attacked the standards, arguing that they usurp state authority. Last week the Alabama Legislature took up a bill that would roll back the standards.

But if the country retreats from the Common Core reforms, it will be surrendering the field to competitors that have already left it behind in math and science education, which are essential to participation in the 21st-century work force.”

The Times isn’t the only publication to push back against the pushback. In a pro-Common Core column in the Orlando Sentinel, Beth Kassab hones in on the irony that the resistance comes from the right:

“If you buy into their paranoia, then you also have to believe that conservative stalwart Jeb Bush is out to brainwash our children with leftist ideals.

And you’d have to buy into the idea that the Republicans over at the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the conservatives at the Fordham Institute and even free-market champion Rick Scott are co-conspirators. … we have officially arrived at Crazytown.”

Benjamin Riley, the policy and advocacy director for NewSchools Venture Fund, has an even snarkier takedown of the Common Core critics from the political right. In a satirical email addressed to “All members of the Illuminati Common Core-spiracy,” Riley laments that a small group of “American patriots” are catching on to the evil plot behind Common Core:

 “As you know, we intend to shred this country’s fabric of freedom through a complex, multi-pronged assault on everything this nation holds sacred – starting with cursive handwriting. … Likewise, we are in real trouble with our plan to create a single, national curriculum that will turn America’s freedom-loving children into France-admiring cheese-eating surrender monkeys.”

Tongue firmly in cheek, Riley goes on to pass the hat for nefarious Common Core indoctrination schemes:

“Please deposit 5% of your net wealth forthwith into our Cayman Islands account so that we may maintain our control over the American education system, Wall Street, Hollywood, the International Baccalaureate program, and other global systems of power.”

What do you make of the argument over the Common Core? Let us know in the comments or @StateImpactFL.


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