Journalist Sarah Darrer Littman in Connecticut wondered why the legislature was so eager to shut off debate about the Common Core. Connecticut is not a state with a big Tea Party presence. Parents are trying to understand the issues surrounding the sudden shift to national standards whose effects are unknown.

She knows that Arne Duncan and Governor Dannell Malloy and Connecticut’s commissioner Stefan Pryor want the public to believe that the only opponents of the Common Core are from the Tea Party, but she knows that isn’t true.

She writes:

Such diatribes are foolish and myopic. Common Core proponents need to face a very important fact: parents are not idiots. Those of us with older children can see the qualitative difference in curriculum since the Common Core roll out began — and we are not impressed. We’re angered by the loss of instructional time to testing for a benefit that accrues to testing companies rather than our children.

Common Core proponents claim that the standards raise the bar and will make us more competitive. But is this actually true?

I encourage parents and legislators alike to read the September 2013 study:Challenging the Research Base of the Common Core State Standards: A Historical Reanalysis of Text Complexity published by AERA (American Educational Research Association). The analysis focuses on the ELA components of the standards, but what it says about the assumptions driving them and how they were constructed is important: “The blanket condemnation made by the CCSS authors that school reading texts have ‘trended downward over the last half century’ is inaccurate” — particularly so, the authors of the study found, in the K-3 grades. Why this is dangerous is that “we may be hastily attempting to solve a problem that does not exist and elevating text complexity in a way that is ultimately harmful to students.”

She notes:

When the authors of the AERA study analyzed the literature used by Common Core writers to justify the need for more complex texts, what they found was: “a tight and closed loop of researchers citing one another and leading . . . to an artificially heightened sense of scholarly agreement about a decline in textbook complexity.”

At some point, the advocates for the Common Core–Arne Duncan, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, Jeb Bush, etc.–will have to wake up and realize that the standards were written without adequate participation by knowledgeable educators, without any consensus process, without transparency, and without any appeals process. These are not standards. They are a mandate, paid for by Bill Gates and imposed by Race to the Top.

The opposition is not going away. Nor will the questions.