Diane Ravitch blasts the NYT for failing to understand the controversy over Common Core

tags: Common Core



Diane Ravitch is an historian of education and Research Professor of Education at New York University.

Today’s New York Times gives its lead article on page 1, column right, top of the fold, to the battle raging within the Republican party, about the Common Core. On one side is Jeb Bush, standing up for the Common Core standards (presumably a moderate, let’s not talk about his fight for vouchers and for the destruction of public education in Florida), while on the other are figures like Ted Cruz and other extremists of the party. Common Core, we are told, is now the “wedge issue” in the Republican party, with sensible people like Jeb Bush fending off the extremists.

A few weeks ago, the newspaper wrote an editorial enthusiastically endorsing the Common Core standards, while giving no evidence for its enthusiasm other than the promises offered by the advocates of Common Core.

Story after story has repeated the narrative invented by Arne Duncan, that the only opponents of the Common Core are members of the Tea Party and other extremists.

Occasionally a story will refer to extremists of the right and the left, as though no reasonable person could possibly doubt the claims made on behalf of the Common Core.

Of course, David Brooks’ column on Friday echoed the now familiar trope of the Times, that only extremists could oppose this worthy and entirely laudable endeavor.

Missing is any acknowledgement of the many researchers who have challenged the wacky assumption that standards alone will cause everyone’s achievement to rise higher and higher, despite no evidence for this assertion.

Missing is any recognition that there are reputable educators and scholars and parents who are disturbed either by the substance of the standards or by the development process (Anthony Cody, for example, just won the Education Writers Association’s first prize award for his series of blogs challenging the claims of the Common Core).

Missing is the pushback from teachers that caused the leaders of the NEA and the AFT to call for a slowdown in implementation of the standards (the media sees this only as teachers’ fear of being evaluated by tests).

Missing is the concern of early childhood educators about the developmental inappropriateness of the standards for the early grades, which reflects the fact that no early childhood educator participated in drafting the standards. Also missing from the writing group was any educator knowledgeable about children with disabilities or English language learners....




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