These conservatives want to keep America stupid by criticizing Common Core

So let’s take a look at this fiendish federal plot to brainwash our children.

First, it is not federal. President Obama has used Race to the Top money to encourage states to embrace higher standards, but the Common Core was written under the auspices of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, an effort that began in 2007, before Obama was elected. Some advocates of Common Core have actually implored Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, just to stop talking about it, because their endorsement feeds the myth that this is a federal takeover.

Second, there is no national curriculum. The standards, which you can read here, describe a reasonable progression of learning from grade to grade, but leave it to state and local school officials to get there. The Common

Core is not an attempt to pack kids’ heads with an officially sanctioned list of facts, but to assure that they are able to read a complicated text and understand it, to recognize a problem and know how to solve it.

So, to pick an example at random, the Common Core says a third grader should be able to “describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.” By eighth grade the student should be able to “analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character or provoke a decision.”