Dr. Marc Tucker gave a great presentation and answered questions for another 45 minutes in the legislative education session held on October 29 by House Education Committee chair Mary Gile. He stuck dodged no issue and gave what looked to me like an accurate picture of the Common Core and where it fits into American public education.
In response, opponents are firing back in characteristic style. Dr. Sandra Stotsky – who is a minority of one, the only critic of the English Language Arts standards I ever see quoted – calls Dr. Tucker a liar. Count one of the indictment is that Dr. Stotsky disagrees with Dr. Tucker (and Jeb Bush and most everyone else) on who is really a mathematician. Count two is something to do with…oh, I don’t know. It’s hard to tell. You’d have to read it yourself. And count three is that Dr. Tucker and anyone else getting money from the Gates foundation must be lying. She says:
…More important is the documented fact that Achieve, Inc., Fordham, and the MBAE all received funding from the Gates Foundation, directly or indirectly, for this purpose. It is also well-known that a Race to the Top grant for $250,000,000 was promised to Massachusetts if it adopted Common Core’s standards…..
Aside from the fact that the Gates Foundation was eager to promote adoption of Common Core’s standards by Massachusetts and that it has also given millions to help Marc Tucker promote his own ideas on education in recent years, there are several reasons for viewing Tucker’s comments about these “comparisons” with cynicism….
And Rep. Jane Cormier (R-Alton) weighs in, calling Dr. Tucker a socialist and charging him, among other offenses, with not answering her questions:
When I asked Dr. Tucker about specific information regarding the so-called “testing” and “benchmarks” of the Common Core Standards, he again said he “didn’t know which countries were included in the testing”. I may believe this because I do not believe the Common Core standards were EVER benchmarked. It doesn’t matter how many times the “Powers That Be” say these standards have been “tested”. We cannot find any verification of such (and neither could Mr. Smarty Pants), so they are empty words for me.
Actually, I answered Rep. Cormier’s question in the panel discussion after Dr. Tucker’s speech and offered to send her the details but she hasn’t followed up. Comparisons have been done by some very impressive folks, including the authoritative and unshakably balanced PISA testing guru Andreas Schleicher of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
It is certainly possible to debate education policy with Dr. Tucker and to differ with him on strategy, but to suggest that he would compromise a reputation built over a long career to do the bidding of one of many of this funding sources doesn’t make sense to me.
At this point, Common Core opponents’ narrative begins to come into focus. Opponents’ affiliations and prowess – and their funding from Koch and Walton – makes them credible, while supporters are bureaucrats and lobbyists plotting a socialist takeover funded by Bill Gates.
This is the debate we are actually engaged in about the future of American education.