Liberal writer: Common Core is setting Americans up for failure

Aug 17, 2013 by

WASHINGTON, D.C. – There’s a misperception among some journalists and lawmakers that opponents of the Common Core learning standards are all Tea Party activists and right-wing cranks.

A new essay published in the Washington Post proves that’s not the case.

Essayist Jeff Bryant, who writes for the left-wing Campaign for America’s Future, explains that many public school apologists are worried the new Common Core-aligned standardized tests are setting America’s school children – and by extension teachers and principals – up for failure.

Bryant’s argument focuses on New York, one of only two states that have already begun testing students on the new math and English standards (Kentucky is the other).


New York’s inaugural test scores were announced recently, and by all accounts they are a complete disaster.  Bryant cites those scores as proof of the damage Common Core tests will cause all across the U.S. when they take full effect in 2014.

“Earlier this year, students in New York state public schools took statewide exams aligned to the celebrated Common Core State Standards that are rolling out in most states in the nation,” Bryant writes. “The results recently came in, and it’s obvious, given the numbers of students who failed the tests, that the students were about as well prepared for their tests as I had been for the tests of my nightmares.”

Bryant notes that many New York teachers don’t have the resources or training to properly teach the new math and English learning standards. If they can’t teach it, how are students ever supposed to learn it?

He also takes issue with how the tests define student “proficiency,” calling the testing goals “severely stringent” and unachievable.

Why would education leaders – including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan – be setting schools up for failure?

Bryant explores that question by quoting various school leaders and education analysts who suggest Common Core proponents want kids stumbling badly out of the gates. According to this theory, when students inevitably improve their test performance, the “politicians in charge can claim ‘success’ for just about anything they roll out,” Bryant writes.


The entire process is causing outrage among many educators.

Bryant quotes a New York principal who is “angry” that his teachers are getting unfairly “pummeled” over the low test scores, which students “were never supposed to do well on in the first place.”

To be clear, Bryant hasn’t suddenly seen the “Tea Party” light or climbed aboard the education reform bandwagon; his suggestions for improving public education all involve spending ever greater amounts of money.

But his disgust with how Common Core is being implemented suggests conservatives and Tea Party activists should reach out to Bryant and his fellow skeptics.

Who knows – maybe killing off Common Core can be one of those rare causes that unites many Americans of all political stripes.

Liberal writer: Common Core is setting Americans up for failure – EAGnews.org powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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