By Robby Soave – Here is some excellent proof of just how badly Common Core opponents have eviscerated the other side in the PR battle over the national education standards: Core proponents have launched a new promotional campaign that merely seeks to persuade people that the standards are not quite as bad as they think they are.
Is that encouraging or what?
The video features a cantankerous grandfather character badmouthing the Common Core to his grandkid’s teacher; the teacher calmly assuages the grandfather’s concerns, particularly his fear that Bill Gates—a major Core supporter—is now calling the shots at every school in the country. No, she doesn’t explain what the standards actually do, nor why she thinks implementing them is desirable (let alone cost efficient). They merely clear the very low bar of not being the worst thing ever, in her mind.
The tagline is “Common Core: It’s Better Than You’ve Heard.”
To be fair—and I say this as a Core skeptic—that’s probably true. No, the Common Core is not an Obama administration plot to nationalize the curriculum and put leftist ideas into children’s minds (although the federal Department of Education has pushed the states in that direction). And no, Bill Gates is not peddling the standards because they are really good for his business, but because of his legitimate, if misguided, belief that they are good for schools (although there are corporate education interests that clearly benefit from standardization). And no, the Common Core standards probably won’t make the U.S. education system substantially worse than it already is (although some of the recommended methodologies seem to make learning either needlessly complicated or unbearably boring).
But even though Common Core is arguably “better than you’ve heard,” it’s not as great as it’s backers promised it was. At the very least, there’s certainly no evidence that it is. The best review of the standards so far, a Brookings Institution study, found that Common Core will have “little to no impact on student achievement.”
Given the ongoing amount of time, effort, and money spent to implement Common Core nationwide, “it’s better than you’ve heard” shouldn’t be good enough for anyone.