Here’s What Common Core Does to Our Schools

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Conservatives used to like the new Common Core education standards. Then Obama got elected and they changed their minds. It’s lately become something like Agenda 21 or Benghazi: an offense against liberty and decency that’s a reliable crowd pleaser for Republicans even if the crowd doesn’t really know what Common Core is. But it doesn’t matter. It’s somehow part of a shadowy Obama takeover of our schools, and that’s enough.

But if you want to know what Common Core really does to our schools, California is here to help you understand:

Echoing a nationwide downward trend, most California students are falling short of state learning targets and are not on track to succeed in college, according to the results of new, more rigorous standardized tests released Wednesday.

….Questions based on the new “Common Core” standards, which have been adopted in 42 states, are more difficult than those on California’s previous test….Students are given questions that require deeper thinking about a theme in literature, for example, or about the concepts of algebra or geometry. They get more or less difficult based on which ones a student answers correctly, and in theory no two students will be presented with exactly the same test.

One of the favorite tricks of state education departments is to subtly manipulate their tests so that their schools look better than they are. It’s an especially popular ruse in red states, and one that Common Core makes harder to pull off. Does this have anything to do with the oddly convenient conservative backlash against Common Core? Maybe, but that would be an awfully cynical suggestion, wouldn’t it? For now, it’s probably best to stick with reliable old Obama Derangement Syndrome instead. It’s usually sufficient.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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