While nearly all states in the US implement Common Core standards as well as brace for the so-called “next generation” high-stakes tests guaranteed in their wake, the debate around CC has increased. Most people fall into one of three camps—CC advocates, Tea Party/libertarian CC detractors who see the standards as liberal “big” government intrusion, and educators, academics, and researchers who reject CC as more of the same failed accountability paradigm.
Early and often, I have stood firmly in the third camp, entirely rejecting CC. I remain troubled by the number of educators who say they support CC, but reject the high-stakes testing and accountability linked to the new standards. I also remain troubled that the tremendous investment of public funds and time benefitting directly private corporations feeding off new standards and tests appears to concern few people.
However, I am now prepared to compromise and support CC implementation under the following conditions:
- Adopting CC in all states is part of a complete repealing of No Child Left Behind.
- New federal education legislation fully funds CC implementation and bans any public funds being spent on private corporation materials or tests.
- All CC materials and resources will be produced, distributed, and monitored by the USDOE, and funded by federal and state resources allocated for education.
- The USDOE will create a centralized web-based clearing house for educators to upload lesson plans and other resources for all teachers to implement CC.
- States accepting federal funds and implementing CC must end immediately all high-stakes testing and linking teacher evaluations and pay to test scores.
- NAEP assessments will be aligned with CC and then administered in 3rd, 8th, and 11th grades to random samples of students in all 50 states to create a data base for examining the effectiveness of CC.
Under these conditions, adopting CC would represent real reform and would be a needed mechanism for ending the worst aspects of the accountability era over the past 30 years.
As long as CC remains central to maintaining the status quo—notably as a cash cow for private corporations to feed off public funds—I cannot support them in any way.