NOTE: The Illinois Department of Education is singled out as one of the organizations which publishes misleading information and label it as “facts”.
by Anthony Cody,
Perhaps because Common Core standards originated in a secretive process, and were adopted with little public discussion, their origins have become a subject of great interest among educators. As with ancient mythology, we care about where things come from, because the method of creation can reveal the nature of the creator, and the intentions at work. Critics of Common Core have complained about the way the standards were created - in secret, without significant teacher involvement. Many proponents of Common Core have, for this reason, felt compelled to offer some version or other of “Myths Vs. Facts about the Common Core,” attempting to resolve the complaints. The trouble is that, as we learn the true origins of Common Core, we find that most of these “Myths vs. Facts” documents offer up more myths than facts. Here are some examples:
From the Common Core website:
Myth: No teachers were involved in writing the Standards.
Fact: The common core state standards drafting process relied on teachers and standards experts from across the country. In addition, there were many state experts that came together to create the most thoughtful and transparent process of standard setting. This was only made possible by many states working together.
From the ASCD, which is an endorser of Common Core and a recipient of more than $3 million in Gates Foundation grants to support implementation, comes a Policy Points memo in October, also entitled Common Core Myths & Facts. Here is their creation story:
States developed the standards. The nation’s governors and state education commissioners spear- headed Common Core development to provide clear and consistent understanding of the reading and math knowledge and skills that students need to be ready for lifelong learning and career success. Working through their representative organizations-the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)-state leaders collaborated with educators, subject matter experts, and researchers to write and review the standards. The federal government was not involved with the standards’ development.
The Illinois State Board of Education tells us:
Common Core Standards are benchmarks developed by teachers, administrators and other education experts through a national consortium.
…the standards were developed by teachers, principals, parents and education experts with lots of feedback along the way from the general public, not politicians in Washington.
The Wisconsin Education Association states:
Common myths, such as “No teachers were involved in writing the CCSS” and “Common core reduces the reading of fiction and literature” are simply incorrect. More than a dozen teachers were on the writing team for the Common Core State Standards, coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. In Wisconsin, standards leadership teams, made up entirely of Wisconsin educators and content experts in mathematics and English-language arts, provided feedback to multiple drafts of the Common Core State Standards before they were released.
From the American Federation of Teachers, which has also accepted grants from the Gates Foundation for Common Core implementation:
The CCSS is an effort that has been supported by the American Federation of Teachers, beginning with reviews of the College and Career Readiness Standards (the first step in the development process of the CCSS) to the release of the final grade-by-grade standards in June 2010. The AFT gathered a team of 30 teachers from around the nation to work collectively to bring judgment and real-world classroom experience to bear in drafts of the standards before they were released for public review.
In all of these stories about the origins of Common Core there are some common threads, but most of them are false or misleading. Greater detail about the process has been uncovered by Mercedes Schneider, who has done what no other reporter has done - she has gone to the source documents to figure out the process.