In one of his characteristically thoughtful and provocative essays, Anthony Cody ponders Randi Weingarten’s call for a one-year moratorium on the high stakes associated with Common Core testing. Randi praised the Common Core standards lavishly but warned that they would fail if high stakes are attached to them before teachers and students are prepared to master them.

Cody does not agree. He maintains that the Common Core testing will have even higher stakes than NCLB. Not only will there be more testing, but teachers and principals will be fired, schools will close, communities will be harmed–as Common Core raises the bar and failure rates grow.

How does raising the bar help those who can’t clear the bar now?

As Cody writes:

“We have this entire project based on the premise that raising the bar will bring up those on the bottom, and make them better able to compete. In fact, when you raise that bar, you create huge obstacles for those at the bottom, and in effect, rationalize and reinforce their own sense of worthlessness, and society’s judgment that they are subpar. You further stigmatize these students, their teachers and their schools, based on their performance in this rigged race.”

He concludes that a moratorium on high stakes test is insufficient:

“We must move beyond not only the bubble tests, but beyond the era of punitive high stakes tests. Only then will we be able to use standards in the way they ought to be used – as focal points for our creative work as educators. I would be glad to have a year’s delay for the consequences of these tests, but I think we need to actively oppose the entire high stakes testing paradigm. The Common Core standards should not be supported as long as they are embedded in this system.”