As North Carolina cannonballs into the political battle over Common Core standards, I came across two in-depth pieces that helped me understand the roots of the current conflict.
Retired teacher Lou Nachman steered me to a recent Washington Post article on "How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution."
Layton outlines how Gates money brought together state leaders and groups on the right (such as the American Legislative Exchange Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) and left (teachers unions and the Center for American Progress) to find common ground on Common Core.
Last week's mail also brought the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Public Schools in the Crosshairs: Far-Right Propaganda and the Common Core Standards." It also goes deep on the origins of Common Core, as well as the various sources of opposition that have emerged.
|Image from SPLC report|
The report attempts to track the basis of claims that some might dismiss as "the rantings of extremists" -- that Common Core promotes socialism, anti-Americanism and homosexuality, for instance, and is anti-Christian. It notes that the standards specify only one set of required readings, for high school students: The Declaration of Independence, the preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address. Most of the objections are based on selections from "exemplar texts," or suggested readings, the SPLC report says.
No matter your views, if you care about education and take the time to get through these two pieces, you're almost sure to come away with more perspective on the debate -- and to find something that'll make you crazy.