In the first appearance of Anthony Cody’s new, independent blog, Cody and Alan Aja write about the cynical effort to brand Common Core as part of “the civil rights movements.”

No “reform” built on standardized testing can advance civil rights, they show. Common Core proponents recognize that they are losing the battle but attribute it to their failure to appeal to the emotions of the public.

Nothing could be further from the truth. They are losing because their facts and claims are weak.

As Cody and Aja write,

“Thus we have proponents of civil rights bringing us a set of standards and tests that – so far – are having the effect of WIDENING the achievement gap, and putting GEDs and high school diplomas out of reach for many of our students. And their justification for this devastating reform is that otherwise students will need to take a remedial class in college?

“Once again, we have a lazy, irresponsible approach to reform. Make the tests harder, and pretend you have done something to “bring students into the mainstream.” But we are stuck in this mechanistic, punitive, test, punish and reward paradigm. Forget about the myriad challenges facing students due to poverty and wealth inequality; realities that disproportionately affect blacks and Latinos. Forget about addressing the funding inequities within the schools themselves. Forget about the reality of “stereotype threat,” whereas students viewed by society as “cognitively inferior” (read: blacks/Latinos) are more likely to be come self-fulfilling prophecies, consciously or subconsciously under-performing on these very culturally-biased tests already pre-designed to set them up for failure. Forget about the real curricular atrocity, which is a dual, segregated “ability grouped” curricula, whereas white children are more likely to be taught in an enriched, inter-disciplinary setting. Focus instead on setting a “higher bar” through more high stakes testing, and demand that everyone clear it.

“Education is and always has been a civil rights issue. Children of color deserve far better than they are getting now. There is no halcyon era in the past when our schools were doing just dandy in this regard. But there was a time when we had a societal awareness that poverty was a pervasive and pernicious source of educational problems. There was a time when federal funds were not awarded based on competition between states, but on the needs of their students. There was a time when the Federal government promoted – even mandated desegregation, rather than promoting semi-private charter schools that accelerate it.

“Our challenge is not to go back to 1975, however. Our challenge is to learn from the successes and failures of the past five decades, and chart reforms that address the opportunity gap, and build success, self determination and stability in our communities.”