When Common Core becomes a punch line

May 1, 2014 by

If you’ve lost Louis C.K. and Chuck Norris, have you lost America?

Both the acerbic comedian and the action-star-turned-activist have come down hard on the Common Core academic standards, which were once widely hailed as a bipartisan success story but are now drawing fire from liberals and conservatives alike.

The debate over the standards has roiled political campaigns and dominated education policy debates for more than a year. Now it’s rocketing into pop culture — and opponents hope that will prove a tipping point.

The latest flash point came this week, when Louis C.K. tweeted to his 3.3 million followers: “My kids used to love math. Now it makes them cry. Thanks standardized testing and common core!” He followed that with several pictures of third-grade math problems he deemed incomprehensible or just plain dumb. Within a day, his original protest had been retweeted more than 7,000 times.

(Also on POLITICO: Louis C.K. hits Common Core)

The tweets point to a serious liability for the Common Core. Proponents desperately want to focus attention on the goal of raising academic standards and preparing American students to compete in a global economy. But parents want to talk about their children sobbing over nonsensical homework and vomiting from test-day jitters — and those are the stories that resonate, especially on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert picked up on all that social media angst and amplified it with a segment a few weeks ago that ridiculed befuddling math questions. Judy Blume, Maya Angelou and Matt Damon have also weighed in with critiques on standardized testing.

The populist attack on Common Core isn’t always fair: Some of the most widely mocked examples of so-called Common Core math were featured in textbooks and used in classrooms long before the standards were introduced. The blame for some of the confusing assignments rests on individual teachers, not the standards, which lay out what children should learn in each grade but don’t presume to dictate lesson plans or homework. And high-stakes testing was introduced long before the Common Core — and is stressful for some kids regardless of what the exams cover.

Education News
Find us on Google+ Twitter

via When Common Core becomes a punch line – Stephanie Simon – POLITICO.com.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.