Are We Focusing Too Much on Common Core?

by Colette Moran

Eric Hanushek at U.S. News & World Report thinks we are.

The continuing emphasis on Common Core is often interpreted as indicating that these standards are a really big deal in school reform. The data suggest otherwise. Indeed, moving to these new, untested tests may make it impossible to continue to hold schools accountable for the results. At the very least, it will lead to a halting of state accountability programs even though these programs have had a consistently positive impact on student performance.

One might interpret the emphasis on developing the Common Core curriculum as an effort to divert debate away from more intractable fights over bigger reform ideas like improved teacher evaluations, expanded school choice or enhanced accountability systems. While I support better learning standards, we cannot be distracted from more fundamental reform of our schools. The future economic well-being of the United States is entirely dependent on improving the academic achievement and skills of today’s students, but Common Core will do little to ensure this.

Hanushek has really good points here. But then again, we shouldn’t take our eye off what is being pushed by Common Core. An example of what Common Core is including in our kids’ homework was brought to light on Twitter. This is a third-grade grammar assignment! 

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