What is Common Core?

The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) is a set of national K-12 standards developed primarily by a nonprofit called Achieve, Inc., in Washington, D.C. under the auspices of the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The Common Core was developed without state legislative authority. 

By hooking states into the Common Core with Race-to-the-Top grant funds and linking the Common Core to No Child Left Behind waivers, the federal government is acting as the “enforcer” to herd states into the “one-size-fits all” Common Core -- in spite of the fact that three federal laws prohibit the federal government from guiding the educational curriculum of the states. Not only the U.S. Constitution, but state constitutions maintain that education is a power reserved to the states and their citizens. Yet, the Common Core can not be changed by state legislatures or state school boards.

Taxpayers pay state and local taxes every year for K-12 education. Yet, the Common Core guarantees taxpayers and parents NO VOICE in math and English content standards of their states and thus no control over what children will learn in these subjects. In fact, most states agreed to implement the Common Core before the standards were even released, all without state legislative approval or even public hearings. 

The Common Core State Standards were released in June 2010, and South Dakota accepted them in November 2010.* There was no legislative input nor were there public hearings in this process. 

The Common Core ensures that the states build expensive high-tech systems that will track personally identifiable information and provide that information to the federal government. “Hopefully, some day, we can track children from preschool to high school and from high school to college and college to career.” - U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, from a June 8, 2009 speech.

The unfunded mandates associated with the Common Core are open-ended in areas such as professional development, new textbooks and instructional materials, testing, and data-tracking systems. A recent study shows implementation will cost $16 billion or more nationwide, with about 90 percent of this paid for by states and local districts.

English Language Arts (ELA) Standards – Dr. Sandra Stotsky of the University of Arkansas served on the Common Core Validation Committee but refused to sign off on the ELA standards because of poor quality, empty skill sets, the de-emphasis on literature, and low reading levels, such as 8th grade levels for 12th  grade students. Even the Fordham Institute – a Common Core proponent – admitted that some states already had better standards than the Common Core.

Math Standards – Dr. James Milgram of Stanford University, the only mathematician on the Common Core Validation Committee, refused to sign off, stating, “It’s almost a joke to think students [who master the common standards] would be ready for math at a university.”

Next on the Common Core Agenda – Next Generation Science

* http://www.doe.sd.gov/octe/commoncorestandards.aspx

Adapted from Common Core Quick Facts. http://www.wallbuilderslive.com/download/CommonCoreQuickFacts.pdf