Common Core Loved Less?

Everyone wants to know what’s up with the Loveless take on Common Core and there is even a bit of panic. I guess it shows my perspective on all this but I didn’t even think the Common Core analysis was the most noteworthy part of this year’s Brookings report.  Seemed mostly obvious and given the nature of today’s debate (why oh why can’t we just be more like Finland….) I thought the cautions on international comparisons mattered more.

Anyway, of course Common Core standards by themselves won’t improve achievement. There are a whole host of elements that matter, too, from the assessments to attention to professional development and human capital.  It’s why standards alone don’t drive performance now. But, I think a big, arguably the biggest, overlooked benefit of Common Core is that we have a national education problem but it’s hard to have a national strategy for addressing it, a real market for greater innovation, and scalable strategies to support teachers absent substantially greater commonality than we have today. Most of the arguments about what other countries do on standards, what standards do and don’t do, the variance in standards between states now, and so forth are overblown or misconstrued in the public dialogue. The Common Core folks probably ought to do more to help explain that.  The devil is not in the details.  Rather, it’s in the implementation – which is no small detail. Still, that’s hardly an argument against the Common Core itself.

5 Replies to “Common Core Loved Less?”

  1. Yeah, this bit seemed obviously aimed at the Diane Ravitch crowd:

    “It is misleading, as shown with the case of Poland, to pull one policy from a country’s entire reform agenda and proclaim that it alone produced a change in test scores. It is also misleading to focus on rankings. Add to those two errors the practice of focusing on a single policy from a single country at the top of the rankings—and a triple mistake has been committed. That’s what some people do (mostly pundits, but, sadly, a few researchers who should know better) when they say “Country x is doing something I favor, and Country x scores at
    the top on TIMSS and PISA; therefore what I favor is a good idea.'”

  2. Are the specific common core standards “perfect”? Probably not, but they are a huge step in the right direction. Are they going to be hard to implement? Is it going to be hard for teachers to change their practices to meet the demands of the CCSS? Sure. But does that make it a bad idea? Not in my opinion. It’s time for the United States to UNITE on what we believe students should know and be able to do (standards). It just seems so obvious to me, I can’t understand why it has taken so long for us to do it…..

    Tamra Ranard
    Director of Tecnology for RBBCSC
    Owner NoMocho, LLC

  3. I would argue that the CCSS, in and of themselves, are not intended to raise student achievement; it’s what we do with them that will determine such outcomes. Implementation is key. If we take the traditional approach of simply informing teachers about the standards — placing the full burden of implementation on their shoulders — then much of the potential of this paradigm shift will be squandered, and increases in student achievement limited. If, on the other hand, we seize this opportunity to embrace innovation — technological, pedagogical, or otherwise — in the classroom, the strides our students make are likely to be substantial.

  4. “Rather, it’s in the implementation – which is no small detail. Still, that’s hardly an argument against the Common Core itself.”

    Speaking of implementation … did you mean the focus on “mathematical practices” rather than on content that we see coming from Linda Darling-Hammond and her crowd (the Smarter Balanced consortium)? Or did you mean the math “reformers” (aka “fuzzy math” proponents) like Everyday Mathematics Andy Isaacs who makes the Talmudic argument that even while the Common Core does not mention calculators until grade 7, it would be a “disservice to students” NOT to feed them calculators from Kindergarten and hence “CCSS writers could have had no such thing in mind”?

    And that doesn’t even don’t touch on the illegal federal encroachment on curriculum making. I guess I don’t blame you — with our current knowledge of civics, why would anyone worry about what the Constitution or the law say?

  5. Jay Mathews is not onboard:

    Virginia, take a bow.

    While Maryland, 44 other states and the District are spending billions of dollars to install new national standards for their schools, Virginia has stuck with the standards it has. Mounting evidence shows Virginia is right, and the others wrong.

    Common Core standards are the educational fashion of the moment, but your child’s teacher can name many similar plans that went awry.

    I have interviewed hundreds of teachers who significantly raised student achievement. Not one has ever said it was because of great state learning standards. Good curriculums help, but high-minded, numbingly detailed standards don’t produce them.

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