The trouble with Common Core

The people who developed and created Common Core need to look now at themselves. Who is responsible for the nonsensical test questions? Who oversees the test makers? Do the questions themselves reflect the guidance given to teachers—i.e., was the teaching itself nonsensical? How was implementation of the overall scheme supposed to work? Who decided the way to take on critics was to denigrate parents, who supposedly don’t want their little darlings to be revealed as non-geniuses, and children, who supposedly don’t want to learn anything? Who among these serious people chose sarcasm as a strategy? Who decided the high-class pushback against the pushback should be defensive and dismissive? Did anyone bother to get actual parents in on the planning and development? Were women there, and mothers? Maybe parents with kids in the public school system? Who even picked the ugly name—Common Core sounds common, except to the extent to which it sounds Soviet. Maybe it was the people who dreamed up the phrase “homeland security.”

The irony is that Core proponents’ overall objective—to get schools teaching more necessary and important things, and to encourage intellectual coherence in what is taught—is not bad, but good. Why they thought the answer was federal, I mean national, and not local is beyond me. Since patronizing people you disagree with is all the rage, I’ll have a go. The Common Core establishment appears to be largely led by people who are well-educated, well-meaning, accomplished and affluent, and who earnestly desire to help those in less fortunate circumstances, but who simply don’t know enough about normal people—how they live, how they think—to have made a success of it. Also they don’t seem to know that intelligent Americans, exactly the kind who quickly become aware of and respond to new federal schemes—sorry, I meant national ones—have become very, very wary of Washington, and the dreams of its eggheads. How they could have missed that is also beyond me.