NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Common Core K-12 Curriculum Requirements

January 31, 2013

In an effort to address the shortcomings of the No Child Left Behind education mandate, every state but Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia adopted the Common Core curriculum requirements. The public needs to engage in dialogue about the newly-adopted education standards and their effects, says Joy Pullman of the Heartland Institute.

  • Having never been used in any state, district or school, the Common Core has no track record of success despite being readily adopted by almost the entire nation.
  • The Common Core claims that it is benchmarked to international standards, a claim U.S. Department of Education official Ze'ev Wurman and University of Arkansas professor Sandra Stotsky say is unsubstantiated.
  • When compared with international tests, Stotsky says the Core creates empty skills sets in "hard to follow" "low-quality" English language arts curricula.

The Common Core pushes back the grade at which students learn key skills in many instances. According to the Core Knowledge Foundation, which publishes curriculum recommendations for high-quality schools, the Core pushes the introduction of Algebra I back from eighth grade to ninth grade, the introduction of money back from as early as kindergarten to second grade and the introduction of multiplication back from second grade until third grade.

  • Full implementation of the Common Core is estimated to cost between $3 billion and $16 billion, including costs for new textbooks, teacher training and technology upgrades.
  • Common Core tests will be taken exclusively online by 2016, which may create challenges for financially-challenged and rural schools that must now find the resources to purchase and/or maintain computers, tech labs, earphones, Internet connections, new operating systems and tech support.
  • Common Core tests are expected to focus increasingly on skills, affective learning, feelings, performance and beliefs rather than correctly answering grade-level concrete knowledge.

Outside of the changes to testing methodology and standards, the Common Core restricts local autonomy and requires states to follow the Core components stringently. The only modification allowed under the Core as it stands allows states to add up to an additional 15 percent to requirements.

Because too little is known about the Common Core's effects, educators should be wary of the program while more research is conducted and discussion occurs.

Source: Joy Pullman, "The Common Core: A Poor Choice for States," Heartland Institute, January 22, 2013.


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