Core values or rotten to the core? Georgia and Common Core praised for their math and English standards

As have 27 other states, Georgia has adopted the new national math and English/language art standards wrapped in the more palatable name of Common Core State Standards. (The phrase “national standards” gives too many people the willies.)

Now comes the hard part, getting students up to speed on the greater rigor embedded in the standards so they can pass the national tests that will eventually be developed. States can expect to see them in 2013 or 2014.

The expectation is that the  tests will be a shock to many parents whose children are now being assessed on easier-to-pass state exams.

The battery of national tests based on the new standards will be the first opportunity American parents will have to see how their schools and their children stack up to counterparts elsewhere in the country.

Now, we now have 50 sets of standards and 50 sets of tests.

The transition to national standards will not be as rocky for Georgia as our standards — and presumably our CRCTs — are already aligned with the Common Core State Standards, which were developed by a consortium, including the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

And it isn’t just the state Department of Education that thinks so.

In its new evaluation of  individual state standards and the Common Core, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education policy think tank in Washington, D.C.,  awarded the Georgia Performance Standards and the Common Core Standards the same high grades: A-minus in math and B-plus in English/language arts. (Full disclosure: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was a funder.)

In its 370-page report, Fordham notes, “With some minor differences, Common Core and Georgia both cover the essential content for a rigorous k-12 mathematics program.”

“Georgia is neck to neck with the Common Core Standards,” said Michael J. Petrilli, vice president for national programs and policy for the Fordham Institute.

In a media conference call this week that I joined, Fordham Institute researchers praised the Common Core Standards for giving U.S. schools strong guideposts to what students need to know to be ready to do college-level work or to obtain a decent job. That judgment didn’t come as a surprise as Fordham has long advocated national standards.

“That’s provided they’re good standards,” said Chester E. Finn Jr., president of the Fordham Institute.

“There is nothing to be gained to move to bad national standards. These have turned out to be pretty darn good, as good or better than what is used in most states today,” he says. “Odds are the country is going to be better off.”

It’s not a sure bet that the Core Standards will improve American academic performance because the hard part is ensuring that the curriculum, teachers and tests embrace the raised bar.
And that has been one of the chief complaints against Georgia’s revised math standards, that they were rolled out without adequate training of teachers. It is likely to be a complaint about the Common Core Standards since they demand a lot more of students.

“I would have a problem with the Common Core Standards in math and probably in upper level English,” admits Finn.

Now, Georgians have no ruler with which to gauge how their schools are doing compared to New York or California. National standards — bolstered by testing — would make it quite clear which states and school districts were failing their students.

But a strong national curriculum is only half the battle; the other challenge is creating a teaching force capable of teaching to those higher standards.

States want federal money to invest in teacher quality. Many, including Georgia, are hoping that adoption of the Common Core Standards will enhance their chances of winning a Race to the Top grant, a bonanza of federal millions that will go to states whose reform plans impress the U.S. Department of Education. Georgia narrowly missed winning a grant in the first round this spring.

Even without Race to the Top grants, which will only go to a few states when they are awarded in September, Petrilli says states can still improve their teaching forces.

He cites Massachusetts, which has witnessed better student outcomes since it imposed both challenging tests on high school students to graduate and on new teachers to land a job.

“Massachusetts has gotten a lot of traction from setting its test for new teachers at a higher level,” he says.

“It comes down to doing education well,” Petrilli says. “Regardless of the economic climate, we need to find a way to do it.”

86 comments Add your comment

cobb mother

July 22nd, 2010
3:06 am

Why not just use the IOWA tests and the SSAT like all the better private schools do. My kids do just fine on them. Of course the State of Georgia could not dummy those down like they did the CRCT.

We have to get rid of MATH 123 first and go back to standard Math series, teach what Westminster, Marist and all the prep schools teach to get the kids in the IVY league.

Then public schools need at least two different diploma’s a Regents ( College Prep and a General that those who later decide that they want to go to college could still go to college after going to community college, and a Votech that would allow Juniors and Seniors to Spend 1/2 a day in their last two years in a Votech school so by the end they would have a Vo-tech certificate. The Vo-tech program could be tied into HVAC training, Auto mechanics, Culinary, CNA, Nail tech, Hair/Barber. The Vo-tech could also be a path to a futher two year degree is skilled technical training. Computer Manufacturing, Robotics Manufacturing; of course this might cut down on the need for the for profit rip off schools, that leave people hopelessly in debt.

The School System needs to be like Germany’s three tiered system, where children are tested for aptitutude and desire at the end of elementary/middle school.

We need to take the Politics out. The large schools and large school districts are nothing but set ups for failure. They are too large. Not even the largest Universities have more than 35,000 students. Special Ed and ESOL students need to be taken out of the general population. We are spending too much money spreading out the money and resources mainstreaming and then the regular and bright kids get short changed. Classes should be segregated based on ability and performance. It does not benefit anyone to be in a class that is not at the right level for them. Everyone looses with the current system where we try to be politically correct. If we don’t want to make these changes then give everyone the real chance to go to the school of their choice with vouchers but with the real cost of what School costs. Use what the Catholic Schools charge, they basically charge the cost of education, no a profit like other private schools, and are a good model for a solid education.

We need to fund education even if it means raising taxes or Georgia will cut off the growth, if it already hasn’t destroyed itself.

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July 22nd, 2010
5:46 am

Has anyone paused to think about the cost? While cuts are made inside the classroom – from instruction hours to teachers to classroom materials – the government decides to spend money on this? I just don’t get it.

Imagine that you are asked to build a house. However, you will be given less materials than needed, less manpower than required, AND you will be assessed every week on your progress – and you will be fired if you don’t pass the mustard.

Honestly, does this make sense to anyone at all?


July 22nd, 2010
6:12 am

Three points:
* States that decide to adopt the CCSS should adopt it word for word – whether you agree with it, the authors of the CCSS have carefully thought about the coherence of the document. As soon as we start tinkering with it, the coherence is lost.
* The testing requirements for the NCLB should be suspended until 2014-15 school years so that states (those that chose to adopt the CCSS, not others) can carefully implement the CCSS (and all involved have a better sense of the new tests).
* The key is teachers – teachers with strong subject matter knowledge and clear understanding of the CCSS. There should be a much more detailed and careful elaboration of the CCSS.


July 22nd, 2010
6:48 am

The state of Georgia cannot pay its teachers already. How are they going to pay for the professional learning involved in rolling out yet another set of standards in a 10 year period? I teach math in middle school and from what I can tell there is no increased rigor AT ALL in the Common Core. Skills are simply jumbled up amongst the grades. For example, dilations and translations are moved from 7th to 8th grade. Several probability standards have been moved from 8th to 7th grade. SAME SKILLS folks!! They are just rearranged. As far as I can tell, when our students leave 8th grade, they will leave knowing the exact same things they know now- they will have just learned them at different times than current students do. Expensive proposition in my opinion!

Teacher #3

July 22nd, 2010
6:52 am

With or without the CCSS, we need prfessional development. So, the money for pd cannot be the reason for or against the new standards.

Re-arrangment of topics in K-8 is much more significant than HS portion, which probably requires minimal changes – I do, however, think that the state needs to bring back the third option the original GPS had for non-college intending students (or even those college intending students who know for sure are not going into a math-heavy discipline).

No test is inherently easy/hard to pass as passing is simply a function of the cut scores – a policy decision.

Mid-South Philosopher

July 22nd, 2010
6:53 am

This is all absurdity wrapped in idiocy and packaged in vanity.

After years of applying “Minimum Foundations”, “Adequate Program for Education in Georgia”, the BST, the CRT, the Goals 2000, the A + Education Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, Georgia Performance Standards with the CRCT/GHSGT, we are now arriving at the Common Core.

It is all an absurd application of effort by egotistical idiots, who think too highly of themselves and, just like the current faltering progress of AYP in Georgia, this Core Crap will blossom, bloom, and wither away in the face of some other, yet to be developed, educational panacea.

high school teacher

July 22nd, 2010
7:09 am

Does this mean that the entire nation is moving to our Math 1, 2, 3, 4 system?


July 22nd, 2010
7:11 am

Real shame it takes a Washington intervention to wake up the ignorant masses that drive this state.


July 22nd, 2010
7:18 am

Teacher quality is the key- the best teachers can adjust to new standards after given a day to study them. Delivering inspiring, engaging lessons comes from the talent and skills within an individual. Georgia, put the focus on having the best in the classroom, which includes administrators who can lead and support them by managing resources,
PAY teachers, don’t keep throwing money into the program of the day, and then, you will see Georgia move ahead.
btw- AYP is meaningless in Georgia as long as we have the current model. Let’s see how our children progress over time.


July 22nd, 2010
7:20 am

There’s nothing wrong with the current standards, the problem is that we don’t ensure that students have mastered them before promoting them to the next grade.

THAT problem starts at the top – from the DOE setting the bar too low with its state-developed tests, to administrators forcing teachers to promote students who haven’t learned anything as well as students who haven’t even tried to learn anything.

Educator for ever

July 22nd, 2010
7:24 am

50 sets of standards and 50 tests for 50 states doesn’t make sense economically or educationally. One set of standards and assessments will allow us to compare our Math 1,2,3 to other states to see if the Georgia implementation of the standards works. We should be putting our efforts into supporting instruction not creating standards. The move from GPS to Common Core should be as seamless as a precision review. The false argument that states are vastly different just doesn’t hold water. The difference between Cobb and Irwin counties is much greater than the difference between Georgia and Delaware. Standards should be the simplest part of the curriculum. The resources, delivery of instruction, focus and student activities should be the focus of our work.

Also, keep in mind that the Common Core are created by a consortium of states not the national government.

Fed up

July 22nd, 2010
7:27 am

If Georgia adheres to a common standard, then we will be compared with other states and our failings will be revealed. We are always ranked in the 40s (out of 50 states) on the SATs. Why would we expect any different at any other grade level?

The CRCT has only three grading levels: meets standards, exceeds standards, and needs improvement. If my kid is in the 95th %ile, what is the shame in saying so? Are we afraid of excellence because it would make other people feel bad?

Once upon a time I wanted to teach high school physics. I took the GACE (Georgia teacher examination) and got a score of ++++. No numbers, no percentiles, no explanations. Just a “good job” and a smiley face sticker. (touch of sarcasm) GREAT! I did better than the morons who showed up for the test with unsharpened pencils. There’s a difference between scoring an “800 on the SAT math” (yes, I did) and a “++++ you’re-better-than-the-unwashed-masses-now-don’t-let-it-get-to-your-head”


July 22nd, 2010
7:40 am

Education suffers because salaries are based on seniority, not merit. This excludes career changers and discourages those who perform well.

Mike Honcho Himself

July 22nd, 2010
8:00 am

“a bonanza of federal millions that will go to states whose reform plans impress the U.S. Department of Education”

A bonanza of federal millions. Magical federal millions from the magical land of China I guess.

Dunwoody Mom

July 22nd, 2010
8:17 am

The opposing point of view:

““With almost two decades of experience with standards-based accountability systems, we have no clear evidence that they are particularly effective,” it says. “Beneficial effects on average test scores are minimal and some troubling evidence suggests negative effects on the achievement gap and the drop-out rate.”

“Without addressing both the in-school and out-of-school influences on test scores, common core standards are not likely to improve the quality and equity of America’s public schools,” Mathis explains.

Cindy Lutenbacher

July 22nd, 2010
8:42 am

Well, but…
Too bad that standardized tests have never been shown to correlate with anything but the economic status of the families.
Too bad that if Georgia should “win” a Race to the Top grant, we will have to spend much more adhering to its requirements than the grant would “give” us.
Too bad journalists listen to conservative think tanks like the Fordham Institute, with its cadre of corporations as board, leadership, raison d’etre.
Too bad the only entities who will benefit from new, improved (think laundry soap ads) standardized tests are the corporations who create the texts and tests.
Too bad we’ve forgotten that the only factors that have been shown to matter in real education are smaller class size and loving, savvy, educated, committed teachers.
Too, too, too completely nightmarish for our children.

Dennis A. Rice

July 22nd, 2010
8:50 am

A “Core” curriculum needs first to consider what “skills” are “necessary” for “average daily living” in English, arithmetic, science and history. We should include cooking, minor household repairs, how to handle minor medical emergency situation, how to care for a baby. how to interview for a job and how to safely change a tire.

That ought to get us through the seventh/eight grade.

Afterwards if you want to include algebra, more science, history and language arts, then go for it.

The problem(s) come when bureaucrats continue to change the curriculum or create a new test every two years because they need to show they’re “doing something.”

And, although the “business minded” will complain, let’s not forget music, art and P.E. instruction beginning in kindergarten.

Education ought to be about people, not profits.

high school teacher

July 22nd, 2010
9:04 am

I forgot to add to me previous comment: exactly why is Bill Gates considered an education guru? He didn’t finish college. Why does the Gates Foundation drive new movements in education?

high school teacher

July 22nd, 2010
9:05 am

uh, make that “my…” oops!


July 22nd, 2010
9:06 am

I’m distrubed by this sentence in the article: “National standards — bolstered by testing — would make it quite clear which states and school districts were failing their students.”

Wouldn’t it make it clear which STUDENTS are failing? I know we have some bad teachers out there, but I think it’s a leap to say that schools and districts are failing their students based on the scores of those students.

Also, this would not be the first chance parents have to see how their kids stack up against other kids in the country. Cobb County has used the Iowa Test of Basic Skills for a while, and that correlates to national percentile. It’s a very helpful score to have, and gives much more information than the CRCT scores. I suppose the silver lining with a new national test is that we’d get rid of the CRCT? We’d have to be real about what our students are doing, not pretending they are proficient in math if they get 45% of the questions right.

Dunwoody Mom

July 22nd, 2010
9:15 am

@high school teacher, The Gates Foundation is “driving” education reform because of the $$$$ he is throwing around. My respect for Bill Gates is quickly fading. If you want to make a significant contribution to education with your funds, wonderful – go for it. But, make sure you, Bill Gates, don’t attach your own views and wishes to that money – especially when you have no background whatsoever in educational issues.

You Asked

July 22nd, 2010
9:23 am

The conventional wisdom that Georgia will fare poorly on nationally standardized tests is based on the flawed statistic that we are somehow ranked 48th in the country. Georgia encourages all students to take the SAT not just college prep students like many other states. There really is no broad “apples to apples” comparason of students around the country.

Georgia Tech, UGA, Emory, Morehouse and a host of other nationally recognized colleges attest to the fact that Georgia students who make up the bulk of their student population are getting a good foundation.

Is there room for continued improvement? Yes, but I suspect our numbers will fare pretty well when compared with other states on a standard and level platform.

Beck/Fulton Teacher

July 22nd, 2010
9:25 am

Cobb mother,

Please put your personal prejudice towards Special Ed and ESL students aside. Those students are not mainstreamed until they are capable. Now, whether or not they choose to do the work and then succeed or fail is a choice, JUST LIKE IT IS WITH ANY OTHER CHILD.

I cannot tell you how many children with a learning disability, or 2 or 3 who work their a$$e$ off in my class, have been some of the better students through the years. Being designated as a Special Education student means that a student not only has learning weaknesses, but strengths as well. I will love and cherish any child who comes to me with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn, but it’s the children who have IQs around 70, with no significant strengths, who will NEVER qualify for SPECIAL ED, who are slowing down things in the classroom.

Also, I’ve had very few American children come through who were already bilingual, trilingual, etc.but plenty of kids who were born somewhere else and were learning ESL. Several years ago I had a student who was a Bosnian refugee who spoke 6 languages including ASL because he was deaf, in addition to having several learning disabilities. He was smuggled out of Bosnia the day before his village was attacked and had eventually gotten to the States. I’ve had student after student from war-torn regions of the world who add a great deal to World History class.

I’ve had great students who didn’t fall into either of these categories as well and horrible ones who were just lazy/spoiled and born here. Please stick to your original premise of the multi-tiered diploma and vocational technical classes and leave your personal prejudices aside. Let the kids show you what they can and will achieve and learn from them.

Ole Guy

July 22nd, 2010
9:27 am

Before advancing, onward and upward, to the greater rigors in life, should not the kids of this Great Country be compelled to master the lessor rigors at which they seem to be failing?

I am in complete agreement that kids should be challenged, however, this ill-conceived notion will only set kids up for failure…something at which they already seem to be familiar.

Anybody ever heard of the CRAWL WALK RUN concept of training?

Maureen Downey

July 22nd, 2010
9:29 am

@Dunwoody Mom, It may well be that Gates is wrong on his approach, but I think he can claim background in education issues. He created his education foundation years ago, staffed it with educators and then began to look at the issues, visit schools and study what works. He has made this a personal mission and clearly has immersed himself in it, when you read his commentaries and listen to his speeches.
The notion that only a classroom teacher or someone with a degree in education can offer solutions is shortsighted. Gates has been able to sit down with the lead researchers in the field. He has probably obtained the equivalent of a doctorate in what he has learned firsthand about education not only in this country, but around the world. He also clearly knows what it requires today to be educated and work in 21st century disciplines.
I think he has a lot to offer, and we ought to listen, even if we don’t agree.

Dunwoody Mom

July 22nd, 2010
9:31 am

Every year, we hear the same old excuses from the GADOE of why the test scores are low, “we’ve made the tests harder, blah, blah, blah,…” Well, here is a novel idea, let’s make sure our students are mastering the subject material BEFORE we move on and make it harder. These children will not do better on the harder tests if they cannot even grasp the material to pass the “easier” tests.

Dunwoody Mom

July 22nd, 2010
9:32 am

I understand what you’re saying Maureen, I just have a hard time with anyone who donates money with the caveat that you have to spend it “my way”.

Old School

July 22nd, 2010
9:35 am

Got word yesterday that the vocational classes at my former high school will have upwards of 30 students in them. That might work okay for contained classes like Health Occ. or Home Ec. but for the heavy shop classes (Metals, Construction, Auto Mechanics, etc) it is ridiculous and unsafe. Those labs were designed and built in the early 70s for a maximum of 18 students and one instructor. Now they will have 30 with that one instructor?

Some of the across the board changes are fine for ALL subject areas but 30 students in each shop class is asking for accidents. Enough with the broad brush/one size fits all!

Concerned 1

July 22nd, 2010
9:35 am

The guy who founded Facebook was a Harvard drop out too. Do you think he will start dabbling in education too? With 500,000,000 users he probably is an expert on something.

rigor mortis

July 22nd, 2010
9:35 am

I think we should rigorously pursue rigor, as a precursor to applying the rigor needed for the rigorous standards that call for increased rigor.

Maureen as an advocate of rigor, can you please ask Matt at DOE if Brad Bryant, to promote rigor, would be in support of requiring high schools to add the word rigorous to their team names, so team names like the Rigorous Lions, the Rigorous Bulldogs, and the Rigorous Raiders could encourage high school students to rigorously think about rigor?


July 22nd, 2010
9:38 am

Dunwoody Mom:

I have long disliked Bill Gates. But if you claim that he has no background whatsoever in educational issues, then you need to do a bit of research. Gates has been running charter schools – including one in Atlanta – and scholarship foundations for years. He has also been very involved with universities, both in building his Microsoft workforce and for other reasons – and knows what those universities are looking for. Gates has also worked on international education projects. Look, back when everyone was still trying to claim “everything’s fine!” with our public schools and wanting schools to focus more on multiculturalism and social justice, Gates was sounding the alarm on how weak the math, science and analytical skills our school products were, and how it was making it so hard for Microsoft to identify quality tech talent. Again, I don’t like Gates and especially don’t like his politics. But the guy knows much more about education – and is willing to tell the truth about it – than virtually anyone in the education-government complex. Again, Gates was talking about kids’ not knowing basic math and science – let alone how to analyze and reason – while the educational experts were more interested in handing out birth control to middle schoolers.

An advocate for public education change & choice

July 22nd, 2010
9:48 am

@ Katz – Besides test scores, what measure(s) are to be used to evaluate teachers?

@ High School Teacher – You are the 2nd person I recall posting on this blog questioning the influence of the Gates Foundation on public education policy across the nation. Very well placed question, that has me keeping a closer eye on what they are doing.


July 22nd, 2010
9:49 am

The fallacy in this is that it presumes that California, New York, Texas, Florida, Kansas and West Virginia have the same economies and cultures and therefore need their educational systems to emphasize the same things. For that matter, even in California, it assumes that Beverly Hills and Oakland schools need to emphasize the same things. Look, not everybody is going to matriculate at Stanford and get a job at a high tech firm in San Bernandino Valley. More important, not everyone has the economic or cultural background to make such aspirations realistic. Using a “national standards” system to pretend otherwise is ridiculous. For wealthy students who attend great suburban public schools that send 95% of their graduates to competitive universities, any national standards test will be too easy to be meaningful. (For instance, we are seeing so many perfect scores on the SAT that UCLA has to reject some of them.) By contrast, for students from cultures who don’t value education and who have been socially promoted year after year, it is just another barrier that they don’t need to escape such a background and head to the military or to a vocational school where they can finally start getting a real education.

This really is horrible educational policy. I am appalled that Georgia – which has some of the biggest divides between wealthy Atlanta exurban and poor “black belt” districts in the country and needs to be trying to find a way to get both the Forsyth and Webster County students to perform better according to realistic expectations – is buying into this nonsense. This really is liberalism at its worst. Sorry to play the ideology card, but it is. The idea that kids in Oakland ought to be competing with kids in Beverly Hills is fantasy.

Dunwoody Mom

July 22nd, 2010
9:50 am

Actually, more and more outlets are beginning to question Bill Gates influence on education in this country.


July 22nd, 2010
9:50 am

Maureen..I disagree with you concerning Gates. I don’t have a problem listening to Gates’ ideas or thoughts. I do have a problem with the fact that he is actively (perhaps forcibly) using his financial muscle power to change education. Also, how many ideas/innovations concerning education has the Gates Foundation supported and then abandoned? Does Gates listen to ALL sides or only the research that supports his current (but often changing) platform regarding education?

Please forgive those of us in the education trenches who don’t quickly swallow every word that comes out of Gates’ mouth. In the business world, he is known to be ruthless. I somehow doubt he is any less ruthless when it comes to pushing his education agenda. I doubt he plays by a different set of rules when it comes to education. I am very wary of the Gates Foundation. I don’t think their motives are completely pure and unselfish.


July 22nd, 2010
9:53 am

this filter thing is so annoying :P


July 22nd, 2010
9:58 am

rigor mortis- LOL- you are at it again


July 22nd, 2010
10:03 am

Old School

July 22nd, 2010
10:12 am

Maureen, please fish me out of the filter!

What works

July 22nd, 2010
10:13 am

First off, stop pretending we are 100% committed to finding out “what works”. We aren’t. Look at Ron Clark. The AJC ran a front page story, and if I’m not mistaken Maureen has even referenced Ron Clark and his Oprah money, the implication being you couldn’t achieve this success with other disadvantaged kids without the great influx of money.

But here’s what Maureen won’t talk about; has she ever mentioned, as was mentioned in the front page of the AJC, Ron Clark’s stand on supporting the teacher? While everybody was focused on Oprah money, a child in the article distilled the secret of success:

“We weren’t even allowed to talk the first two weeks, unless we were working in small groups, or the teacher spoke to us first.”

Bingo! The school administration, from the beginning, establishing the primacy of the teachers as the adult authority figures in the room, and presto, great things happen. Oh I’m sure Maureen has been more than willing to talk about Ron Clark’s money, but have you ever heard her reference his support for teachers in matters of discipline, something that you can do for free?

Maybe one day on this blog, “Let’s discuss” won’t be codespeak for “Let’s pretend”


July 22nd, 2010
10:22 am

Most of these students taking the crct in GA already take IOWA itbs testing 3, 5, 8th grade. They exceed with flying colors on crct but parents wonder why they don’t do very well on itbs. Yes, one is percentile based itbs other state basic based to see what they learned in same year, however, if you are truly doing exceeds in all areas on crct you should be in the 90th to 95th percentile on itbs. Saidly, these crct are doing such a diservice to our students. This will be a shock when these students are tested nationally every year itbs or whatever they will us. Susie won’t seem as bright!!! The private schools in GA won’t and don’t use crct. They have always tested to a national test so these parents and students have always been able to tell how they rank up. Can’t dumb down the national test!!!!! Gifted us to mean 2% student population at one given school, now up to 20 t0 25% of students in a given school is in the gifted program. I don’t think so. Also, tell me how 60% of students at a public high school graduates with honors. Really, no grade inflation. We all need to wake up!

Dunwoody Mom

July 22nd, 2010
10:25 am

“Gifted” status is tied to a national norm test such as the ITBS, not the CRCT.


July 22nd, 2010
10:26 am

I humbly submit that what made this country great was the individual and by association individual communities coupled with the freedom afforded to individuals to be so.

This national standards curriculum seems to me to just be a very direct attempt to further the standardization of the population. No more individualism (or at least the suppression of )seems to be the very real future outcome.

Attentive Parent

July 22nd, 2010
10:33 am

The Gates Foundation has donated $35 million since January 2009 to the CCSSO and the NGA Center for Best Practices to finance the development of Common Core.

In the same time period it donated $12.6 million to Achieve for the same purpose.

I do not understand why the story says we need the Common Core standards to allow comparisons state to state.

Isn’t that the purpose of NAEP?

That’s also inconsistent with the declared intent under Common Core of moving to subjective performance based assessments for measuring students. How will that allow valid comparisons?

In fact one of the primary purposes for developing Common Core was to finally move US public education away from objective measures of student knowledge and achievement.

Attentive Parent

July 22nd, 2010
10:34 am

That initial date should be January 2008.

Attentive Parent

July 22nd, 2010
10:44 am


There was an education story on another thread talking about how the Gates Foundation has courted the media to share its educational vision.

Given your able defense of Bill Gates’ qualifications, could you disclose if you’ve ever attended any of those Gates Foundation programs?

I especially like your definition of expert, by the way, because it means that a fair number of dedicated parents would also qualify.

rigor mortis

July 22nd, 2010
10:47 am

We need a new federally funded Race-to-Rigor program, whereby teachers who have demonstrated proficiency will be allowed to legally add the name Rigor to their surnames, so that Ms. Jones will be known as Ms. Rigor-Jones, and Mr. Smith will be known as Mr. Rigor-Smith.

I also think the federal government should fund Rigor Trading Cards, similar to baseball cards, with a picture of each rigor teacher on the front and a rigorous standard they teach on the back, with suggestions on how the students can pursue the standard rigorously.

These cards will be a hit with the kids, and they’ll have fun trading them with their friends while they are talking about how to rigorously master the rigorous standard of rigor on the trading card. Sure, you could say that the federal government is in enough debt, but this is for a future of rigor! Money well spent.

Besides, would Bill Gates fund this, or knowing how successful it would be, would he be afraid kids would stop playing with their X-Boxes and play and trade the rigor cards instead? I think this is a legitimate conflict of interest question, and I hope this blog has the courage to tackle it.

How ever it’s funded, what better way to make kids excited about rigor!

Maureen Downey

July 22nd, 2010
10:52 am

@Attentive Parent, I have never attended a Gates funded program, but I did talk to the head of the Gates Foundation when he came to town once. I also receive all their press stuff. I have read a bunch of the Gates materials and studies, and I have met principals of Gates schools at other conferences.
I have no ties to Gates, but I respect his dogged and long efforts on behalf of schools. This is his avocation, and again, while I think it’s great for people to disagree, I don’t dismiss his expertise or his commitment.

What works

July 22nd, 2010
11:05 am

Maureen, I know you have mentioned Ron Clark plenty in the past, and mentioned the donations he has received from people like Oprah, but have you ever discussed how Ron Clark supports his teachers by establishing the primacy of the teacher as the adult authority figure in the classroom?

Surely if you’re as committed to “what works” as you claim you are, you would mention the quote from your very own paper from the student who said that they weren’t even allowed to talk the first two weeks unless in small group or spoken to first by the teacher, and how that establishment of the primacy of the teacher as the adult authority figure with polices such as that have been a key to “what works” at RCA.

Let’s discuss.