the late 1980s and early 1990s, with
fervor created by President Reagan’s 1983 report,
A Nation At Risk
, transforming a few years thereafter demands from politicians and special interest groups that the federal government set national goals for education.
From the beginning of the standards movement, the federal government and special interest groups set forth national standards and testing models for states to copy, gradually increasing the level of coercion involved.
Ever since then, standards-based education has yielded no positive results for children, and battles over state and national standards then have been essentially on the same topics as they are today: reoccurring horror that special interest groups have somehow managed to water down education content in favor of failed education theories and political activism, a lack of content experts involved in developing standards and curriculum, monkey business with state tests, and broad social strife.
Now we have Common Core, whose proponents say bests those rotten old state standards that have been created and coerced by essentially the same process Common Core has and will be. They ignore that the entire idea is compromised because it relies on inherently faulty central planning, and the research bears this out. A series of data analyses from the Brookings Institution, for example,
find no link between state standards and student achievement. “Every
state already has standards placing all districts and schools within its borders under a common regime. And despite that, every state has tremendous within-
state variation in achievement,” says
the latest such report.
The same is true of our international competitors: Many high-performers have national standards and tests, but so do many low performers.
Research from Stanford University economist Eric Hanushek shows that states with higher standards tend to have lower student performance, when compared on the same test.
So why do we keep hearing that Common Core is the magic tonic
schoolchildren desperately need? Dr. Jay Greene of the University of Arkansas explains: “The
only evidence in support of Common Core consists of projects funded directly or indirectly by the Gates Foundation in which panels of selected experts are asked to offer their opinion on the quality of Common Core standards. Not surprisingly, panels organized by the backers of
Common Core believe that Common Core is good… The few independent evaluations of
Common Core that exist suggest that its standards are mediocre and represent little change from
what most states already have.”
When Seton Hall University professor Christopher Tienken
reviewed the purportedly “large and growing body of knowledge” that
supports Common Core,
National Standards in American Education: A Citizen’s Guide
, Diane Ravitch (Brookings Institution, Washington DC): 1995.
"Standards-Based Education Reform in the United States since 'A Nation at Risk,'" Boyce Brown, University of Hawaii, June 1, 2009: http://www.hawaii.edu/hepc/pdf/Reports/FINAL-History_of_Standards-Based_Education_Reform.pdf.
See, for example,
What’s at Stake in the K
-12 Standards Wars
, ed. Sandra Stotsky, (Peter Lang, New York): 2000.
“How Well Are American Students Learning?” Tom Loveless, Brookings Institution, Volume III, Number 1 (February 2012):
“One Size Fits None,” Jay Greene,