Common Core standards a dismal failure in U.S. schools


This article is about the “Common Core” (Article 21) that is in place in every public school in 45 states in the country. These are government produced standards which were not authored by any teacher of any kind. Educrats penned this debacle.

Untested National School Standards Stifle Local Voices - Joy Pullman - [page]

“The Common Core State Standards Initiative had no input from early childhood experts or educators and will lead to serious harm for the nation’s kindergarten through third grade students, Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige, an expert on early childhood education, told The Christian Post Thursday.”


Another article on Common Core:

*Common Core Standards, Top-Down Failure… Again

March 05, 2013

How many times have we heard that we need to raise education standards and put more money into schools in order to raise test scores and improve education in America? Lots. It seems that every President wants to make education a top-priority of their administration, and every single time, parents are left with higher costs and meager results. But more importantly, students are left in a system that promotes mediocrity and uniformity. We can, and should do better.

The federal government has required states to raise their academic standards at least five times over the last two decades with little success. President Bill Clinton’s Goals 2000, President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind, and President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top have all asked states to raise their standards, and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has subsequently found no significant improvement in student achievement.1

With the failure of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind, many education policymakers have amplified the call for national academic standards. Proponents of national standards argue that it makes no sense for states to have differing curricula when our globalized economy demands everyone to have the same fundamental knowledge. The Common Core State Standards Initiative was created in 2009 to heed this call for national standards, describing itself as a supposedly “state-led effort” coordinated by the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.2

Common Core standards are essentially another federal government “knows best” mandate** that adopts the same failed strategies over the last 40 years by simply calling for higher standards. It has undergone no field testing or evaluation and was never voted on by Michigan lawmakers.** Maybe this administration is smarter than all of the rest and it will succeed; or maybe, just maybe, this is entirely the wrong approach?

We accept in other industries — technology, health care, automotive and manufacturing — that competition drives innovation, lowers prices and all-around improves standards for both products and services. New standards are demanded continuously by the customer and improvements are made as a result. Why don’t we do the same with education? Why does what works elsewhere get discarded so quickly, and what doesn’t work gets tried ad nauseam?

Education is too important for society and prosperity to be controlled by those furthest from the students. Lindsey Burke of The Heritage Foundation sums it up best when she says that, “Adopting Common Core national standards and tests surrenders control of the content taught in local schools to distant national organizations and bureaucrats in Washington. It is the antithesis of reform that would put control of education in the hands of those closest to the student: local school leaders and parents.”3

That fact is not all students are created alike, and a one-sized fits all education platform is not the answer to improving education. Parents should be given more choices and local school districts and teachers should be given more flexibility to provide the higher standards students deserve. Common Core removes parents from important decisions regarding their child’s education undermining the very nature of accountability. Do we want teachers and school to be accountable to parents and their children, or to lawmakers in Washington, D.C. who can’t even pass a budget?

  1. National Assessment of Education Progress, “The Nation’s Report Card: Trends in Academic Progress in Reading and Mathematics 2008,” (April 2009) (Online at The Nation’s Report Card: 2008 Trends in Academic Progress: Executive Summary)
  2. Americans for Prosperity Foundation, “Need to Know: Common Core Initiative,” (August 2012) (Online at
  3. Lindsey Burke, “States Must Reject National Education Standards While There is Still Time,” (April 2012) (Online at National Standards: States Need to Reject Common Education Standards)*


I dont think I really have a problem with a baseline level of basic requirements. What if California decided that environmental studies were more important then economics, or that Vermont decided that math was too objective. The problem with education has always been there is a pretty good guideline of how to teach it but no real guideline of how to measure it.

There has been a lot of doomsday talk about the US education system is crumbling and how other countries are whooping us.

Chinese engineer graduates know as much as US auto mechanics

Reports in the U.S. suggest that large numbers of engineers graduate from Chinese universities compared with the numbers that American universities turn out. These figures are often cited as evidence that the United States is losing its lead in science and technology. There is a fundamental fallacy in this argument–the quality of education simply is not comparable. A professor at Beijing University actually told me that the average Chinese engineering graduate may know no more than an auto mechanic

China’s Education Flaws -

and India engineer graduates dont know basic math

Nearly 30 percent of recent Indian engineering graduates cannot answer basic mathematical problems or carry out simple equations, according to a report, writes India Today.

Almost 30% of Indian Engineers Lack Basic Math Skills, Says Research Report - The Global Ticker - The Chronicle of Higher Education


One of the specific elements of public school education that just stupefies me, and I have no idea if this is part of the “Common Core Standards”, but it WAS part of the public school culture when I taught in public schools in the 1980’s . . . was this notion of SELF-ESTEEM, no matter what (and our GRADE INFLATION problem stems from this.)

Now self-esteem is indeed a valuable character element, BUT it is ONLY valuable if earned.

However, today self-esteem is looked on as just another “giveaway”, that if not “given”, NO MATTER WHAT, will damage a child forever.

My own opinion, and I have seen how this works in the classroom, is that if self-esteem is so easy to come by, the child comes to expect it all the time, and THAT is what’s harmful. The ultimate outcome of this is when a young adult’s employer, playing by real world rules of responsibility, gives that young employee a bad performance report. Then that young employee BLAMES the employer for HIS/HER poor performance, and NOT him/her self and hence does not see the need to improve, because that’s in fact what they’ve been taught to believe by the education system. THAT damages a child much more than withholding stroking unless it’s earned!

Example: I once hauled a perpetually disruptive student into the principal’s office, and told the principal that I could not conduct lessons with this kind of student present, went into detail on the disruptive behavior (she was actually throwing things at me while I had my back turned at the blackboard), and told the principal at the very least that this student had to be removed from my class, and even thought (as it turned out mistakenly) that this student would be ejected entirely from the school.

Incredulously, I began to realize that the principal was not going to take ANY action at all. I stood there dumbfounded as the principal lectured me on self-esteem and how if the student was removed from my class, her self-esteem would be harmed. The principal returned the student to my class, she was “cheered” by the rest on her return, and any hope I had of controlling and disciplining that class was gone forever. My credibility was destroyed . . . the rug was pulled out from underneath me by the principal’s refusal to remove that student from my class. Shortly after that, I quit and got out of the teaching biz for good.

Another time, grade inflation knocked me over. The student in question had failed ALL tests, was disruptive (if he even bothered to show up), never turned in ANY assignments. etc., so at the end of the semester I gave the student what I thought was a well deserved . . . F!!! My class was this student’s last period, so when I took a look at the student’s report card (out of curiosity, which turned out “killing the cat”), I saw that every other teacher had given this student an . . . A!!! So there was this string of A’s punctuated by MY “F” at the very end. They had all apparently elevated this student’s . . . self-esteem (except for me, since evidently I didn’t get the memo that said “Though shalt give all ‘A’s’, no matter what.”)


UNT: As a teacher and principal for over 25 years, I can tell you categorically that you are wrong. There is so much wrong with the public schools that it would take volumes to present it all to you. The self-esteem issue is only one small part of it. It’s the entire system–starting with a curriculum which as been systematically lowered since the 60’s to where it is laughable today, all the way to the NEA, teacher unions and federations, to the actual teachers in the classroom. The number of good, sincere teachers are like a drop in a bucket of complete corruption. I could cite chapter and verse ad nauseum, but that’s not my job. I have provided plenty of evidence that the public school system is a perfect failure.

Many people hate to admit when something is a failure–particulary when it involves your children. Public school is unsolvable right now. It is too late to “fix” it. The corruption which exists in the whole public school system is so deeply rooted that it would take a modern miracle to make a dent in it. Of course, there are public schools and public school teachers who rise above the abominable entity we recognize as public schools today. But, as I said, these are NOT the norm, but the EXCEPTION!! If you feel confident to send your precious children into a marxist-commie-athetistic atmosphere, then by all means carry on. But, things are going to get much, MUCH worse as we can see in the many examples brought to this forum on the absolute putrification of what used to be a somewhat good educational system. Not anymore–not by a long shot.


I will admit my perspective is different than most. I went to two crumby private schools in grades 5-8 and then one of the best public high schools in the nation


You would have to describe what you mean by “crummy” private schools. And, I don’t doubt that there are some good public schools. But they are a mere shadow of what they once were such as existed when my parents attended school in the 30’s.


My 7th grade teacher, miss Phillips, built self esteem in our whole class. She was careful to include every one of her class, regardless of whether our parents were active in PTA or not. We had migrant workers and Seminole Indians who were only in school for part of the year, but she went out of her way to help them catch up.
A good teacher is born, not made. A good teacher builds self asteem in their students by their nature, not by Government indoctrination.
Miss Phillips took a room full of misfits and turned them into the top class of the school.
Thank you, Miss Phillips and God Bless You!!


Seravee: No question that there are some good public school teachers still out there. But, those teachers teach with their hands tied behind their backs. And, I totally agree with you that teachers are not made. I have a saying of my own: “A degree a teacher does not make.” I’ve worked with men and women with advanced degrees in education and other areas who were complete disasters in the classroom. I’ve also worked with men and women who either didn’t have a 4-year degree or who had work experience in other areas who were sterling examples of what a teacher should be in the classroom. And, building self-esteem–REAL self-esteem, comes from a teacher challenging his/her students to reach beyond what is minimally acceptable. Building self-esteem means to recognize in each individual student his/her own God-given talents, abilities, and personalities and to aid them in doing the best they possibly can–not by using false and empty reasons why they should feel good about themselves. A good teacher guides her students to see each individual as a unique and blessed child of God (can’t do that in public schools, though) regardless of race, religion, or social-economic position. It is in this that God has uniquely and lovingly created each one of us, that children, and hence, adults find their true self-worth despite their economic, racial, or intellectual state in life. For in the eyes of God, we are all precious to Him. In God’s eyes, we are all endowed with special and unique gifts and talents which are specific to each one of us. It is interesting to note that Jesus said that we must become like little children in order to enter the gates of Heaven.


What I mean is they the private schools teaching ability/quality and the facilities were no where close the caliber of the public school I went to.


Well, for one thing, private/parochial schools don’t have nearly the amount of money available to them to build better facilities. Most Catholic schools are barely able to pay for books, salaries, etc., and the occasional computer for each classroom. Public schools charge an average of $10,000 per year per student from the taxpayers of this country. If money, facilities, and advanced degrees equals academic excellence, our public schools would not be at the bottom of the totem pole globally. Yet, private/parochial schools, and homeschooling, have consistently outscored public schools academically for over 40 years. And sadly, the statistics just keep getting worse. Statistics do not lie.

And, how would a student determine whether or not a teacher has the ability or credentials to be a qualified teacher? Your school may have been the very rare exception to the public school rule, but again, it is the exception, not the rule.


But they tell half-truths. The tuition to those private schools I went to was near that 10K mark and probably exceeded it if you include inflation. Private schools out score public ones because well off kids go to private schools and in the public school system well off kids score much higher than underprivileged kids in testing. If you look at public schools where the median income is high you also find really good public schools.

And, how would a student determine whether or not a teacher has the ability or credentials to be a qualified teacher? Your school may have been the very rare exception to the public school rule, but again, it is the exception, not the rule.

I can easily judge the curriculum between the two, and teaching ability would also be by my perception. Im not saying that all the private teachers were bad or that all the public teachers were good, but the interest and enthusiasm for teaching was much higher in most of the public school teachers.


UNT: I’m not going to argue with you over this. This subject has been gone over ad nauseum in other threads. Go back and read my replies to the same comments you’ve made.


TBH it didnt seem you actually wanted a discussion to begin with. You started the topic, then side tracked it and then said you were tired of discussing it. I dont know what you were expecting from this thread, for eveyone just to have the same exact opinion as you?


TBH it didnt seem you actually wanted a discussion to begin with. You started the topic, then side tracked it and then said you were tired of discussing it. I dont know what you were expecting from this thread, for eveyone just to have the same exact opinion as you?

Yep. That’s what I want.


This response should have been addressed to natstew, not Seravee…sorry natstew!


More educational rot: (I have said this about departments of education in colleges and universities before. Now, read it from the experts.)

*American education is in a sorry state of affairs, and there’s enough blame for all participants to have their fair share. They include students who are hostile and alien to the education process, uninterested parents, teachers and administrators who either are incompetent or have been beaten down by the system, and politicians who’ve become handmaidens for teachers unions. There’s another education issue that’s neither flattering nor comfortable to confront and talk about. That’s the low academic preparation of many teachers. That’s an issue that must be confronted and dealt with if we’re to improve the quality of education. Let’s look at it.

Schools of education, whether graduate or undergraduate, tend to represent the academic slums of most college campuses. They tend to be home to students who have the lowest academic achievement test scores when they enter college, such as SAT scores. They have the lowest scores when they graduate and choose to take postgraduate admissions tests – such as the GRE, the MCAT and the LSAT.

The California Basic Educational Skills Test, or CBEST, is mandatory for teacher certification in California. **It’s a joke. **Here’s a multiple-choice question on its practice math test: “Rob uses 1 box of cat food every 5 days to feed his cats. Approximately how many boxes of cat food does he use per month? A. 2 boxes, B. 4 boxes, C. 5 boxes, D. 6 boxes, E. 7 boxes.” Here’s another: “Which of the following is the most appropriate unit for expressing the weight of a pencil? A. pounds, B. ounces, C. quarts, D. pints, E. tons.” I’d venture to predict that the average reader’s sixth-grader could answer each question. Here’s a question that is a bit more challenging; call your eighth-grader: “Solve for y: y - 2 + 3y = 10, A. 2, B. 3, C. 4, D. 5, E. 6.” [COLOR=#ff0000](this is easy and I teach it in 6th grade mathematics.) The answer, btw, is “B”.

Some years ago, the Association of Mexican American Educators, the California Association for Asian-Pacific Bilingual Education and the Oakland Alliance of Black Educators brought suit against the state of California and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, charging that the CBEST was racially discriminatory. Plaintiff “evidence” was the fact that the first-time passing rate for whites was 80 percent, about 50 percent for Mexican-Americans, Filipinos and Southeast Asians, and 46 percent for blacks. In 2000, in a stroke of rare common sense, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit found CBEST not to be racial discriminatory.*[/COLOR] (DUH!!!)

The whole article: (Make sure you read the part about not teaching children to use their brains, but to use calculators instead. Great advice–and this from “experts”!) Yeah…let’s keep pouring billions of taxpayer dollars into this cesspool!

Educational Rot - Walter E. Williams - [page]


I caught that, no offense taken,


There should not be a federal dept of education.
This should be a state issue.
I do believe teachers should be paid according to performance.
NY teachers have great paychecks for producing graduates with 80 of them not being able to read or write.
And there is nothing anyone can do becuase of unions.
Far too much liberalism is being taught in our schools.
We need to stick with the basics. Math, Science, etc.


Good points, Moby. However, I would go much further…the entire public school system needs to be abolished. Eliminating the dept of education, NEA, teacher unions & federations, “experts” writing curricula, and other fools seems a good start to the process. All schools in the U.S. should be run either by Churches or businesses. Even the state should not have any influence over schools. The government should not be in the business of dictating who, what or how children should be taught. That should be left only in the parents’ hands. All teachers should be classically trained and the classical method implemented in every school. Bad teachers should be fired immediately. And, I agree with you that teacher salaries should be based on educational results. Plus, if this were done, we’d manage to trim at least $13 trillion dollars off the deficit [/extreme sarcasm]. This is probably the only way we’re ever going to turn the tide in what has become the most wasteful, corrupt, and failed experiment perpetrated on our children. We should be hanging our heads in shame…