The Trouble with Common Core

by Maggie Gallagher

As the Core hits the classroom, the Federalist reports something predictable: It’s not going as predicted:

Close reading is now all the rage not just in Bensenville and school districts it influences, but across the nation, thanks to Common Core. But Pondiscio, a Common Core supporter and former employee of Hirsch’s foundation, nevertheless was aghast to see a model Common Core lesson in New York using close reading.

“Excerpts. No complete works. Bleeding chunks of literature chosen because they presumably offer opportunities to learn and practice a reading ‘skill,’” he complained. “If nothing else, [Common Core] should mean a transition from skills-driven literacy to curriculum-driven literacy . . . Given the opportunity to show what a great reading lesson might look like under Common Core, [model lesson-giver Kate Gerson] offered up something dull, uninspiring, and not that much different than what too many teachers are doing today.”

Common Core advocates blame “implementation.”  But that’s what happens when you impose standards that have never been validated on almost 50 states at once. The problems were completely predictable.