A study affirms that Common Core – yet another liberal social justice education reform – is a waste of taxpayer funds and benefits only those who devised the program.
Americans were told that the Common Core standards would close the achievement gap between white and minority students and make U.S. students “college and career ready.” Yet, a new study validates what grassroots parent groups have known all along: the federally funded program, which most states lapped up for a quick infusion of federal cash, has bombed.
In a study released in September at Education Policy Analysis Archives, authors Mindy Kornhaber, Nikolaus Barkauskas, and Kelly Griffith examined both the “federal and philanthropic funding for the reform” and conclude:
In essence, those who set directions for the Common Core and those who provided resources for its implementation have benefited, even as potential benefits to schools, educators, and students are elusive, and the entire claim may ultimately be empty.
In a review of the study, titled “Smart Money? Philanthropic and Federal Funding For the Common Core,” Teresa Mull of The Heartland Institute writes at the Washington Times:
None of this is news to anyone who has paid attention to the tremendous costs of Common Core or the devastating consequences it’s had on U.S. education. It would be fun to say, “We told you so,” but we can’t get our money back or our children’s lost educational opportunities — at least, not in time to regain what was wasted in the years they sat in classrooms in which they were taught confusing math problems and downright dangerous literature.
The Common Core is a federally promoted education initiative introduced in the Obama administration’s 2009 stimulus bill through a competitive grant program called Race to the Top (RttT). States could apply and compete for federal grant money and waivers from federal regulations as long as they adopted a set of uniform standards and aligned curricula and tests, agreed to a massive system of student data collection, and signed onto teacher evaluations that would be based on student performance on assessments aligned with the standards.
The standards were developed by three private organizations in Washington D.C.: the National Governors Association (NGA), the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and progressive education company Achieve Inc. All three organizations were privately funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and none of these groups are accountable to parents, teachers, students, or taxpayers.
There is no official information about who selected the individuals to write the Common Core standards. None of the writers of the math and English Language Arts standards have ever taught math, English, or reading at the K-12 level. In addition, the Standards Development Work Groups did not include any members who were high school English and mathematics teachers, English professors, scientists, engineers, parents, state legislators, early childhood educators, and state or local school board members.
The state boards of education of 46 states signed onto the unproven Common Core standards with little, if any, public or media scrutiny prior to even seeing the standards themselves.
Parent activist groups have met with substantial resistance from both Republican and Democrat governors and state legislators in their quest to repeal Common Core in the states. The fact that political pressure from big business groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – a major supporter of Common Core – and the threat of having federal funds pulled from their states, led most state lawmakers and governors to dismiss parental concerns.
Only three states have officially repealed the standards, but at least two of those simply “rebranded” them, or – save for a few tweaks – essentially gave the same standards a different name to appease grassroots parents’ groups.
Nevertheless, the annual Education Next poll shows that public support for the Common Core State Standards has fallen to a record low.
According to the survey, support for the Common Core education plan dropped to 50 percent this year, down from 58 percent in 2015 and from 83 percent in 2013.
The poll finds that, among teachers, support for the program has dropped from 87 percent in 2013, to 54 percent in 2014, to 44 percent in 2015, and continuing at that level in 2016.
The poll surveyed 4,181 adults, aged 18 and older, including oversamples of 1,571 parents and 609 teachers during May and June.
In addition, since 2011, state membership in the two federally funded consortia developed to create Common Core-aligned tests has dropped by 62 percent.
In June, a report by ACT – the nonprofit that developed the college admissions and placement test that is administered to more than 1.8 million high school graduates annually – found college professors and employers voicing concern that Common Core failed in its primary goal: to prepare students for college and careers.
ACT found that only 16 percent of college professors said their incoming students were well prepared overall for college-level work, down from 26 percent in 2009 and 2012.
The Federalist’s Joy Pullmann also reported in January that Common Core is estimated to have cost the nation as a whole $80 billion, in addition to the costs to individual states that have seen the tab for the education reform skyrocket.
The researchers of the Smart Money study also show how many are profiting off of Common Core, except for our kids, of course. “The claim stakers are the federal government and philanthropies that have staked out the Common Core for public policy,” wrote the researchers. “To work that stake, they incentivize states and school districts to mine the Common Core and get higher measured achievement. To do so, the miners need equipment. The vendors who sell the equipment profit in the short term, even if their tools rarely enable the miners to get the sought-after results.”
Buying and selling textbooks, digital learning tools, and technology has been the name of the game with Common Core.
In a Breitbart News exclusive, James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas investigated the corporate cronyism embedded in the Common Core reform. The investigative researchers discovered that textbook publishing giant Pearson Education, for example, won the $1.3 billion contract to put Common Core-curriculum-loaded iPads into the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), despite the fact that other publishers outpaced Pearson in their bids for the contract.
Writing at The Pulse 2016, American Principles Project education fellow Jane Robbins says that while philanthropic organizations such as the Gates Foundation, the federal government itself, and education nonprofits, such as Achieve, Inc. have all been “winners” in the Common Core game, the “losers” are students, parents, taxpayers, and local school districts.
Another major loser, Robbins adds, is “the Constitution and our federalist system, both of which were designed to protect state and local control over issues such as education.”