Robert Pondiscio, who now works for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, shows here how a Common Core lesson can be deadly dull. New York put one of its “experts” on NPR to demonstrate how exciting a Common Core lesson was . But it wasn’t.

“I referred my listeners to a recent NPR effort to get “super-specific about what makes a good Common Core–aligned lesson.” The reporter enlisted the aid of Kate Gerson, who works with EngageNY, a New York State Education Department’s web site. She’s one of the leaders of New York State’s transition to Common Core; NPR asked her to walk through a supposedly exemplary ninth-grade lesson—a close reading of a short story by Karen Russell entitled, “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised By Wolves.”

Pondiscio didn’t think much of the lesson. It was the same old skills-based lesson. Same old, same old.