One thing that’s frustrating about so much of the discussion of the Common Core is that so many of the participants are either outright self-interested or constrained by their situations from expressing their honest thoughts about the matter. The administrators in our district, for example, have been putting on sessions for the parent-teacher organizations extolling the virtues of the Iowa Core. Our schools have to follow them; therefore they must be good! In a few years, if the prevailing education fad is the exact opposite of what they’re now doing, they’ll be there to tell us how great that policy is, too. What’s the point of trying to debate the merits of a policy with people in that situation? (Upton Sinclair was on the mark.)
My co-panelists on the KCRG discussion of the Common Core were a Cedar Rapids schoolteacher and her employer, the Cedar Rapids superintendent. They both spoke in favor of the Core. But would a teacher who was critical of the Core have felt as free to appear on the show and contradict her boss?
The effect is to generate an enormous noise machine in favor of whatever fad currently has the institutional momentum. How does this phenomenon serve the goal of providing kids with a good education?