I am not happy with the way that Common Core was developed. Very few people were involved in this effort to develop national standards. Once a document was in hand, the Obama administration made adoption of the standards a condition of eligibility for participation in its $4.35 billion Race to the Top. Since then, adoption of the CCSS has become a condition to receive waivers from Arne Duncan from the nutty demand by NCLB for 100% proficiency by 2014–or else.

The Gates Foundation underwrote their development, their promotion, and almost every aspect of the CCSS. As Mercedes Schneider has documented again and again on her blog, it is hard to find a national organization that has not received millions of dollars from the Gates Foundation to support the standards.

There is now a price being paid in state after state for this top-down, non-democratic creation of “national standards.” The Obama administration aggressively defends them yet insists it had nothing to do with creating them (or imposing them, which strictly speaking is not true).

Since so few people in this vast nation knew much about them, there is a vigorous campaign in opposition to them, based on rumor and half-truth and semi-half truth.

I came out in opposition to them not because I oppose national standards in principle, but because I thought they should be field tested. I still think so. I worked on the development of state standards, and learned that the feedback from teachers was always helpful in making them better. Bringing in the field and listening to their ideas and reactions is a way to improve the standards and also build support for them. Not pretend support, not pretend listening, but real support and listening.

Now we learn from Education Week that major corporations are going all out to promote the standards. Since they have no idea whether the standards will work or not, whether they will narrow or widen the gaps among different groups of students, whether they will do all they promise, what is going on here? Would any one of these major corporations launch a new product nationally without trying it out in a city or state and finding out about how it works in reality?

Until standards have been tried in the classroom, they are only words on paper.

And because the promoters of the standards couldn’t wait to try them out and see how they work, they are now facing a major backlash as state after state withdraws from the testing consortia (funded by the U.S. Department of Education for $350 million).

Because of the U.S. Department of Education’s ham-handed rush to impose these standards while pretending not to; because there was no respect for the democratic process, the Common Core standards may fail. Twenty years from now, they may be a trivia question.