This letter arrived recently from Rhode Island:

“Dear Ms. Ravitch, Another example of what’s happening in Little Rhody: We also received an incredible letter from Grace (last name withheld), a High School Junior in a southern Rhode Island town who wrote a “breakup letter” with Common Core. I have independently verified the author’s authenticity but have not published her last name for privacy reasons. You can contact me for more details: . I hope you publish this letter on your blog to show everyone the sort of creativity and independent thinking we will lose from our students under the Common Core.

Her “breakup letter” is pasted below and also here:

Breaking Up With Common Core

I’ve decided to write a letter. A breakup letter, that is. I am a teenage girl in modern day America and, therefore, one might blame the ever-present Taylor Swift songs for this creation. However, I am a teenager in modern day America and, therefore, one might blame a set of standards. Those assuming the latter case would be correct. Common Core State Standards will have us singing the blues before we know it, so before things get too serious, while I still can, I’m breaking up with Common Core.

Dear Common Core,

I would begin by saying the cliché “It’s not you, it’s me.” But I’d be lying. It is you. I’m sorry, I’m too harsh? Maybe I am, so here are some tips for your future relationships. Take these into consideration and you might spare yourself a broken heart next time.

1. You’re too controlling. You’re changing education to become a form of the factory system. I’ve heard people talk about how robots are replacing humans as our technology grows, but it is your fault. Under your standards we are manufacturing robots in huge factories called “Elementary School”, “Junior High School” and “High School”. The result of such manufacturing is students who are being robbed of individuality. However, this is one of the most important aspects of education. Individuality must be present in school because it allows for an exchange of ideas and a great diversity of perspectives; the very things that I believe make education so valuable. Nobody likes “Bossy Pants” looming over their shoulder, constantly telling them what to do.

2. You make unfair comparisons. There is too much testing because of the use of PARCC. Every student learns differently and tests differently; however, they will still be assessed in the same way. With this taken into account, how is it possible that your standardized testing fairly and accurately measures the students’ abilities and knowledge? Even if you are able to do so, you’re still comparing each person to others, so how can you possibly have the time to focus on each individual and build upon their strengths while helping to strengthen them in their weak areas? Additionally, harder tests do not mean more learning, it simply means harder tests. Therefore, this means that between too many questions, not enough answers and static learning, you’re just bad news.

3. You’re a compulsive liar. You say that you help better prepare students for college and careers; your supporters cling to this statement, but do you truly do so? The National Education Association tried to warn me in their policy briefing, where it is written “there is no research or evidence indicating that national standards are essential for a nation’s students to be high achievers.” You almost convinced me that the “real world” calls for finding functions, answering multiple-choice questions and graphing parabolas. In ending this relationship, I am able to understand that there is more than this. I see a world that demands its inhabitants to achieve greatness of all sorts. Greatness, in my opinion is doing something that makes a change; it is something that makes an impact. Whether it is done in complete anonymity or not does not matter, nor is it important how large or small the impact is. I believe that through education we can set the students up to achieve this greatness, because it is what the world needs. This world craves art, beauty, and passion. It is a place in which a sculptor’s hands are equally important to those of a doctor and where the words of a poet are as powerful as those of a lawyer. So let these words be a lesson, in any future relationship, honesty is the best policy.

It would probably be in everyone’s best interest if you went back to the land of bumbling businessmen and paltering politicians. I’m sure there’s other fish in the sea… not in Rhode Island, but maybe somewhere… maybe not.

Good Riddance Common Core,

Grace [Last Name Withheld by Editor]

RI High School Junior”