In an editorial that is remarkably uninformed, the Washington Post defends the Common Core, insists that it was created by the states, and asserts that the federal government “merely encouraged” states to adopt them.

None of this is factually accurate. The Common Core standards were written by a small group of Washington insiders, with the largest contingent coming from the testing industry. There were few classroom teachers on the writing committee. Early childhood educators were not at the table, nor were those familiar with children with disabilities or English language learners. The standards were written behind closed doors; their development was underwritten by the Gates Foundation. The federal government paid $360 million for two testing consortia to create Common Core-aligned tests. Most states adopted the standards in 2009 because the U.S. Department of Education dangled nearly $5 billion in Race to the Top funding, and states had to adopt “college-and-career-ready standards” to be eligible for a piece of that huge pie. The standards were not actually finished until 2010, meaning that most states adopted them without having read or reviewed them. They are copyrighted and cannot be revised. It is a basic principle of standard-setting that stakeholders must be represented at the table, that no single interest should dominate their creation (e.g., the Gates Foundation), and there should be a process for revision to correct errors. None of these criteria was met.

The editorial says:

“The pressure [against Common Core] is built on bogus premises. Common Core is not a federal takeover of education. States developed the standards, accepted them voluntarily and implement them with local flexibility. The federal government merely encouraged states to adopt them, as it should have. The standards also aren’t some conspiracy to force children to learn about climate change and evolution; they cover basics in language arts and math. Even so, Republicans in various states are trying to repeal them, in some cases successfully, or to at least defund implementation.”

“Liberal opposition to Common Core, meanwhile, is proving at least as harmful. Teachers unions have resisted the accountability that consistent and meaningful testing might bring, and they have used their own form of Common Core sabotage: Along with misguided anti-test activists, they have encouraged parents to refuse to let their children take exams meant to assess how well students are meeting Common Core expectations. They have succeeded in undermining educational standards in New York: Parents pulled an astonishing 20 percent of students grades 3 through 8 out of the tests last school year, upsetting efforts to track student progress.”

So the Washington Post puts itself in the position of opposing those–like the American Statistical Association–who challenge the validity of test-based accountability for individual teachers. It criticizes parents who object to their children losing weeks of instruction to test prep. It criticizes the opt-out movement, which has mobilized parents to say “no” to the misuse and overuse of standardized testing. And it fails to explain how the parents who opt out upset efforts to track student progress. And not a word about the Common Core tests with their absurd passing marks (cut scores), designed to fail the majority of children.

I am shocked that the Washington Post could be so misinformed.