From the perspective of a retired educator, I would like to share some facts about the Common Core standards that cause me concern.
The 2009 stimulus bill allocated $435 billion for the Race to the Top incentive. In order to compete for the money the states had to agree to adopt the Common Core State Standards Initiative sight unseen. Forty-five states adopted CCS before the standards were even written. Keep in mind that in 2009 states were desperate for education dollars. Also, state legislatures are not normally in session at the time the grants were issued and returned. The timetable of events was:
January 2009: Stimulus bill
November 2009: Grants to apply for money for Race to the Top were released
January 2010: Grants were due
March 2010: Preliminary standards released
June 2010: Final draft of standards
Common Core standards have not been field-tested nor are they supported by research. Their standards are actually well below current standards of high-performing countries or the best state standards. There will be significantly less reading of the classics and more informational or technical texts. Math standards are not up to current expectations. For example, when I was teaching the students mastered multiplication skills in fourth grade. With Common Core, that is now a fifth-grade skill and division a sixth-grade skill.
Common Core standards were developed by three private organizations: Achieve Inc.; National Governors Association; and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Achieve is part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; the other two are private trade associations out of Washington, D.C. States will have very little involvement in the program. They agreed to implement Common Core standards without deviation, with one exception … states may add to the curriculum, up to 15 percent. By doing so, the states have ceded control over educational standards to entities outside the state.
Common Core requires a massive amount of data mining on students from preschool to 20 years of age. It will track over 400 data points including health-care history, disciplinary history, family voting history, etc. Just recently Polk County, Fla., has been in the news because three schools there conducted iris scans (Eyeswipe Nano) on students without parental consent. This procedure is one of many included in the data collection process of CCSSI. For more info on data collection go to www.education.gov.