Arthur Camins left the following insightful comment on Rick Hess’s analysis of “What Went Wrong with Common Core.” I agree with his claim that the purpose of setting a totally unrealistic goal was to make public schools fail, thus destroying public confidence in them and setting them up for privatization. It is also manifestly correct, based on Joanne Weiss’s comments posted here earlier, that the intention of the Common Core standards and tests was to create a large, unified national marketplace for products and consultants, thus spurring entrepreneurs to enter the “education market.”

Rick Hess highlights many important points about what “went wrong” with the Common Core State Standards, laying the blame on the Obama administration and inside the beltway technocrats. Missing from his analysis is exposure of any of the behind-the-scenes role for companies looking to profit from a more coherent and less fragmented market and the hopes of market ideologues searching for tools to undermine the power of teachers unions in particular and public education in general. The 100% proficiency demands were designed to undermine confidence in public education, as was the connection between teacher evaluation and common core testing in Race to the Top and School Improvement grants.

Absent from much of the media attention to the strident debates about federal v/ local control is the simple fact that no system in the world has made significant improvement based on standards and high-stakes testing. We are, I think stuck in a debate within an autonomy and control framework, while ignoring the great potential for mutual responsibility.

I wrote about this several years ago here: