The conservative National Review ran a calm and well-grounded piece from the also conservative Fordham Institute and Manhattan Institute scholars back in April taking on Common Core critics point-by-point. When you get down to it, no one is buying what the tea partiers are selling. Here’s the beginning, but the whole thing is worth reading:
The new Common Core math and reading standards adopted by 45 states have come under a firestorm of criticism from tea-party activists and commentators such as Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin. Beck calls the standards a stealth “leftist indoctrination” plot by the Obama administration. Malkin warns that they will “eliminate American children’s core knowledge base in English, language arts and history.” As education scholars at two right-of-center think tanks, we feel compelled to set the record straight.
Here’s what the Common Core State Standards do: They simply delineate what children should know at each grade level and describe the skills that they must acquire to stay on course toward college or career readiness. They are not a curriculum; it’s up to school districts to choose curricula that comply with the standards. The Fordham Institute has carefully examined Common Core and compared it with existing state standards: It found that for most states, Common Core is a great improvement with regard to rigor and cohesiveness.
For decades, students in different states have been taught different material at different rates and held to radically different standards. Several years ago, a small group of governors joined together in an effort to align their states’ standards and assessments. This group expanded through the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. In 2007, curriculum experts began to devise the new Common Core standards. Drafts were circulated among the states, comments received, and the standards adjusted. So far, 45 states and the District of Columbia have signed up to implement these new expectations.
Now let’s address the false claims circulated by the most vocal critics of Common Core.