The never-ending quest of modern educators to find new ways of learning that will never hurt any child’s feelings has not been a resounding success thus far. The ambitious attempt to standardize learning across the country known as Common Core can now be measured and the news isn’t good.
The Common Core website explains the initiative:
[A] set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). These learning goals outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The standards were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live.
The aforementioned bad news is that the first group of Common Core high school grads aren’t as well prepared as their predecessors.
For the third time in a row since Common Core was fully phased in nationwide, U.S. student test scores on the nation’s broadest and most respected test have dropped, a reversal of an upward trend between 1990 and 2015. Further, the class of 2019, the first to experience all four high school years under Common Core, is the worst-prepared for college in 15 years, according to a new report.
Paraphrasing a popular commercial from recent years: “That’s not how this is supposed to work. That’s not how any of this is supposed to work.”
However noble its intentions, Common Core is a failure of one-size-fits-all standardization.
The Federalist post notes various slippages in proficiency in different subjects and different grades, but the most damning assessment comes from the college admissions testing organization ACT:
On the same day the NAEP results were released, the college testing organization ACT released a report showing that the high school class of 2019’s college preparedness in English and math is at seniors’ lowest levels in 15 years. These students are the first to have completed all four high school years under Common Core.
“Readiness levels in English, reading, math, and science have all decreased since 2015, with English and math seeing the largest decline,” the report noted. Student achievement declined on ACT’s measures among U.S. students of all races except for Asian-Americans, whose achievement increased.
The kids can’t read, write, or count as well as they used to. Other than that, this is all going swimmingly.
I spent half of my elementary and high school years in Catholic schools, where the learning was a bit more tailored to a student’s abilities. Not surprisingly, I learned more in those schools.
The avalanche of evidence about Common Core’s failure will no doubt be used by liberals as evidence that schools and teachers need more money. While not a federal program per se, there were a lot of federal grant dollars spent to get states to adopt Common Core. The program began as a “more money” initiative. Of course, with the Left, there never is enough money to throw at a problem.
What is left out of the reports cited in the Federalist’s article is the fact that — despite all protestations to the contrary — most public schools are more interested in liberal indoctrination than education. It’s more important to terrorize children with apocalyptic climate-change messages than to teach them to read.
Common Core is an extremely detailed and fleshed-out approach. If it’s failing at achieving its basic goals, the flaw is in the curriculum, not the funding.