This reader has done a close reading of the Common Core standards and concludes they are “an expensive farce.”

If you pay attention to the Common Core State Standards as required by the authors, (verbatim treatment, no menu-like choices, close reading), you will see that Mr. [David] Coleman and others expect all students to meet 1158 lteracy and ELA standards K-12 (that total includes parts a,b,c,,d, and so on for each standard).Kindergarten kids and their teachers have 64 “college and career ready (CCR) standards to meet. Third graders and their teachers 79 CCRstandards to meet, and that quantity jumps to 115 CCRs for grade 7, and 116 for grade 8.The standards were marketed as “fewer” (fewer than what?). Now add at least 462 CCRs for mathematics (177 of these cramed into grade 9), to say nothing of new standards in science (not developed in tandem with the the math standards), also new standards for a bunch of other subjects including the arts where, as in other subjects, education entails more than just reading texts.

The Common Core State Standards initiative is an expensive farce. and the initiative is
mislabeled. These are national standards. Mr. Coleman and others have amplified on a flawed concept of education and in spite of early claims to the contrary, now assert unearned authority over curriculum decisions, publishing criteria, new national tests, and “best” teaching methods.

As the key orchestrator of all of these dicta, Mr. Coleman has not been called upon to explain why the initative was launched with no significant input from experienced teachers and no credible concept of what it means to be “be ready” for a career and/or college. How does he justify the token and poorly rationalized attention to international standards? Why is there so little regard for peer-reviewed educational research? Bureau of Labor Statiscs projections on jobs/careers?

What we have is a nationalized stucture for education in two subjects, with federal funds flowing to the 46 states where legislators “adopted” the standards (close reading not required). The structure is still being marketed as if it can function as a complete curriculum for studies in the arts, sciences, and humanities, not only in grades K-5, but by making every teacher in every subject devote time to close readings of texts and writing about the content in the texts. And the texts must be selected to fit a formula for “complexity,” other criteria are secondary.

The standards also forward a truncated view of education as preparation for college or work. Schools should foster in students a more ample view of what life offers and requires beyond book-learning, test-taking, reading for information more than pleasure or empahy or to satisfy curiosity, regurgitating and reframing information in strictly conventional machine-scorable writing.

By the way, have you looked at the 376 standards for writing?