At The Core of The Common Core

by Victoria M. Young

At The Core of “Teaching to The Core”
“The standards emphasize critical thinking and real-world applications of what students learn in math and language.” (Idaho Statesman, Bill Roberts, 3/9/14)

Critical thinking and real-world applications are not ideas that are properties of The Core. These things were the basis of the teaching philosophy of Aristotle and brought into the modern era by many including John Dewey (1933).

And significant research has been done on the topics surrounding what we are now calling “college and career ready” students with The Eight Year Study being particularly significant to our situation today.

What we are doing in reality, and this Robert’s article in Idaho Statesman plays right into the scheme, is now  racing to fill the need for new curriculum materials — to grow the education-industrial complex further.

We don’t need — and we have never needed — The Core to fill our students needs. We need to use what we know and use our heads!

At The Core of “Political, Testing Debates”
“The test is essentially a field trial to test the validity of thousands of exam questions to be used in 23 states, including Idaho, that have joined to create the exam through the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium [SBAC]…Scores will be used beginning in 2014-2015 to assess student, school and district performance, much as the Idaho Standards Achievement Test was used in past years. “

And the core of the problem here is that we have never had the political debate over tests, their uses, their purposes, their misuses, and their intentions. Instead, we are moving forward very quickly based on an assumption that “higher standards” and “better tests” will fix what ails us in education. And the basis of this new experiment has not been subjected to debate.

At The Core of the “Controversy”
“The Legislature approved the Idaho Core Standards with virtually no dissent in 2011.”

It was on August 11, 2010, that the Idaho State Board of Education approved Common Core Standards. Then on January 19, 2011, it was ONLY the Idaho Senate Education Committee that approved the Idaho State Board adoption of these new standards.

The Common Core standards were never up for discussion in front of the whole state legislature. The Common Core went through as a state board rule requiring a stamp of approval – an obvious formality. At this point, there should be some people feeling duped.

And the Roberts article went on to say, “opponents complain that the federal government had its hands all over development of the standards and is taking decision-making away from states and local school districts.” As an opponent to The Core, my objections run much, much deeper than what is stated by Bill Roberts or any “representative” of the People that I have heard thus far.

At The Core of “Investing in Learning”
“Giving students more authority over their learning, by working in groups and trying to solve real-world problems, pays off , Uriarte said.”

This type of learning, as stated already, is not a unique feature of The Core. It is nice that it has been recognized that the former standards and testing regime was a mistake that deprived students of opportunities and to see that this one piece (critical thinking and writing) is being put back into curricula. But our society has paid a huge price for that mistake. Now, we should not be paying the piper once more. We don’t need The Core materials.

At The Core of “Needed: More Materials”
“Idaho’s new standards have scrambled the math curriculum. “

Scrambled is probably a good way to describe the difference between Idaho’s old standards and the Common Core Standards. Things have been moved around so old materials no longer correspond, making new material purchases “necessary.” That is not “just” an observation. There is an official analysis of the difference (called a gap analysis) and there is very little in the way of overall “new” content differences – it is mostly just “scrambled”; good or bad, we do not know.

What is “new” (already disclaimed here as really being old and resurrected) is how that content is delivered which is part of the curriculum, the part not being mandated or scripted. That isn’t saying that it won’t be firmly directed by new materials and the tests.

Follow the money trail on this one. The same people who have directed education policy are posed to profit. That is the definition of the education-industrial complex — influencing policy for private monetary gain. British-based education publishing giant, Pearson, and Bill Gate’s Microsoft are the Halliburton’s of this

At the Core of “More Training Time”
“Any implementation of a new set of standards in K-12 is a huge task,” she said. “It takes some time for teachers to fully grasp all the nuances.”

Training, educating, informing stakeholders of best practices was always the problem. The Common Core does not get to THE core of the problem.

As Bill Roberts said on Idaho Reports, “I think it is an experiment.”

I think it is the wrong experiment to be doing. It is set to repeat the same mistakes as before — the ones we don’t talk about or debate.

Common Core isn’t just standards; it is a system, which is copyrighted and controlled by trade organizations and private companies and individuals, designed for training every public education stakeholder with The Core as the guiding force. Please think about that!


2 thoughts on “At The Core of The Common Core

  1. Mike

    Ms. Young, I have a daughter that is a junior at Timberline HS in Boise that is struggling with Accelerated Algebra 2. A recent discussion with her teacher has revealed that he believes that had she been allowed to take the regular/normal Algebra 2 she would have done fine, but alas, the Boise School District in it’s infinite wisdom made a unilateral decision to force all of it’s regular track juniors to take Accelerated Algebra 2.

    My daughter entered her Junior year with a 3.71 GPA and had received A’s and B’s in her previous math classes but we are seriously concerned that she might fail this class. I am trying to gather as much information as possible to organize a parent group to address the school board about it’s utter failure of it’s stewardship of my daughter’s education with regards to this fiasco.


    1. victoriamyoung Post author

      Your problem is being faced across the nation and state. You are doing the right thing in gathering parents and information. Idaho Reports did a segment on Common Core where the student they interviewed mentions this move to “accelerate” all. It is also beginning to cause an uproar in Kuna and I’m sure elsewhere.

      The philosophy of instruction is being pushed through the State Department of Education in cooperation with Boise State University mathematics department. Both those websites should have information but possibly under terminology “MTI” Mathematical Thinking for Instruction —appears they didn’t think implementation through very well.

      Hope this helps get you on the right track!



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