A warning to the world: If you try to make the case for the Common Core Standards, and your evidence is flawed or non-existent, you will be called out by Mercedes Schneider.Here’s the thing: If you plan to go into the ring with Mercedes Schneider, you better be fully prepared. In this case, someone named Ann Whalen, who is a former assistant to Arne Duncan decided she would attack Carol Burris for having criticized the CCSS. Burris, an experienced high school principal and a skilled writer, has written often about the defects of the CCSS and she organized nearly 40% of the principals in New York state to oppose the state’s test-based ratings of teachers and principals.


When Whalen went after Burris, Mercedes Schneider, who teaches English in Louisiana, took apart Whalen’s critique of Burris. Whalen, it should be noted, responded to Burris on the website of Education Post, a blog funded with $12 million from the far-right Walton Family Foundation, the anti-public school Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, and the Bloomberg Foundation. Schneider, whose blog is funded by Schneider, proceeded to take Whalen apart, argument by argument, claim by claim, in a deft fashion that she may soon have to copyright, it is so fully Mercedes.


Whalen’s biggest mistake, the same one made by Carmel Martin in the “great debate” about CCSS, was to insist that states were free to change CCSS and that many have done so. Not true. The CCSS are copyrighted by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. States agree to change nothing but may add up to 15% of their own content. For defenders not to know that is indefensible.