The Trouble with Having Trouble with the Common Core

2015 is the year when the Common Core rubber finally hits the road, and maybe even goes off the rails. 2014-15 is the first full year of the standards, and this spring will see those standards put to the standardized common core test. The results are likely to be ugly. The standards are new, challenging, with little time to prepare, and technology infrastructure is no where near where it needs to be. These are just some of the reasons we'll be hearing a lot about the impact of common core once the tests are wrapped up and results are in.

Couple this with a sizable shift to the right in state legislatures across the country, including Ohio, and we're certain to see more efforts to repeal or otherwise change the common core.

Andy Smarick at Bellwether Education Partners, a right wing corporate reform think tank, believes there are serious challenges ahead for Common Core

Rather than addressing conservatives’ intellectually serious concerns, too many proponents, time and time again, have antagonized the right. Skeptics have been told their opposition is a “circus,” just “political,” and “not about education,” and that they must be “comfortable with mediocrity,” “paranoid,” and/or “resistant to change.”

Just weeks ago, Secretary Duncan caricatured opponents as “politicians who want to dummy down standards…to make themselves look good.” The reliably liberal NPR just ran a laudatory piece on the professor from “an elite liberal arts college in Vermont” who authored Common Core math. The world’s most influential philanthropist called the substance of what we teach our kids “a technocratic issue”—that is, a matter for technical experts wielding political power—akin to standardizing electric outlets.

All of this inflames, not enervates, the conservative opposition.

The problem with having a problem with the common core however, is what to do instead of it? Going back to old standards isn't an option - that's something everyone agrees on. Developing new standards is costly and time consuming (as the CCSS have demonstrated) and k-12 education is a ship that doesn't turn easily, or quickly. This leads opponents offering up all kinds of bizarre solutions, Here's what the Ohio tea party legislators dreamed up last year

Shame on GOP members of the Ohio House Rules and Reference Committee for bowing to partisan pressure and voting out of committee a deeply flawed bill to eliminate Ohio's Common Core educational standards and replace them on an interim basis with old Massachusetts standards. The committee voted 7-2 along party lines Wednesday to approve the controversial plan.
The bill envisions dumping Common Core next year, switching to pre-2011 Massachusetts standards for the next three academic years and then imposing a new standard that Ohio would develop. The nonpartisan Legislative Service Commission estimates the one-time cost of developing the new standards at up to $15.75 million.

Needless to say, it didn't go anywhere. But your first idea often contains the kernels of your best - and if this is the best idea opponents of Common Core have, they are in even deeper trouble than the standards themselves.