Articles that document concerns about the national education standards movement
1. The evidence supporting national education standards is exceedingly weak.
Neal McCluskey is an Associate Director at the Cato Institute. His detailed research and analysis shows that the evidence supporting national education standards is exceedingly weak. Research has shown that rigorous standards have no net positive effect on student learning. National standards also conflict with a pluralistic culture that embraces a variety of religious and cultural beliefs and a U.S. Constitution that requires religious neutrality and contains no provision for federal involvement in education. The route to successful education is school choice for parents.
• Neal McCluskey, Behind the Curtain: Assessing the Case for National Curriculum Standards, Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 661, Feb. 17, 2010.
2. Common Core national standards will likely have little effect on student learning.
Tom Loveless is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He predicts that the Common Core national standards will have little effect on student learning. The rigor (level of difficulty) of standards is unrelated to achievement, and high standards do not reduce variation in achievement among students. Loveless also reports that standards can do little to reduce achievement gaps, and he urges caution in comparing countries’ scores on international assessments.
• Tom Loveless, How Well Are American Students Learning?, Brookings Institution 2012 Brown Center Report on American Education, Vol. 3, No. 1, Feb. 2012.
3. Parents, not government, should have authority over their children’s education.
Jack Klenk is a former U.S. Department of Education official. He asserts that parents not government should have authority over their children’s education. Klenk analyzes various factors that have weakened the parental role in education, and he concludes that parents must have access to a variety of schools, not just the government option. Vouchers, tax credits, and charter schools are all part of a wave of educational change that is gaining momentum in America.
• Jack Klenk, Who Should Decide How Children are Educated?, Family Research Council Issue Brief, 2010.
4. Expanding federal control over education goes against American principles of limited government and liberty.
Lindsey Burke is a Fellow in Education at The Heritage Foundation. She recommends that states reject the Common Core standards. National standards are unlikely to increase academic achievement, but they will increase costs to taxpayers and will further remove parents from decisions about what their children are taught. Expanding federal control over education goes against American principles of limited government and liberty.
• Lindsey M. Burke, States Must Reject National Education Standards While There Is Still Time, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2680, Apr. 16, 2012.
5. States should withdraw from the national standards movement.
Lindsey Burke (Heritage Foundation) says that national standards will further expand Washington’s role in education, and they will remove parents from decisions about curricula in public schools. National standards are unlikely to improve student performance and will result in the standardization of mediocrity.
• Lindsey Burke, Exiting the National Standards Bandwagon, Citizen Magazine, June/July 2012, p. 20.
6. Decision-making by government “experts” (bureaucrats) is antithetical to the American system of popular government.
Angelo Codevilla is Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Boston University. He argues that decision-making by government “experts” (bureaucrats) is antithetical to the American system of popular government. Policies regarding what is taught to children should not be made by a select group of “scientific” elites. Decisions made by such experts and their “independent” agencies are anything but impartial and apolitical. Examples are given from the global warming and origin of life issues.
• Angelo M. Codevilla, Scientific Pretense vs. Democracy, American Spectator, April 2009.
7. Science standards have posed barriers to meaningful teaching and learning in science.
Carolyn Wallace is an Associate Professor in the Center for Science Education at Indiana State University. She argues that science standards have posed barriers to meaningful teaching and learning in science. The “content and product” model used in U.S. science standards is authoritarian. That is, the standards define what is to be learned and how it will be mastered (or assessed). Wallace proposes an approach that allows for more democratic participation and flexibility for teachers and local communities.
• Carolyn S. Wallace, Authoritarian Science Curriculum Standards as Barriers to Teaching and Learning: An Interpretation of Personal Experience, Science Education, Vol. 96, No. 2, pp. 291-310 (2012).
8. The national standards movement is not in the best interests of students.
Jack Hassard is Professor Emeritus of Science Education at Georgia State University. He opines that the national standards movement, including NGSS, is not in the best interests of students. Instead, it’s in the best interests of Achieve, Inc. and other organizations and individuals who are behind the standards movement. This is an elite group that doesn’t want an open discussion on the merits of common standards.
• Jack Hassard, Peddling Panic: Biased Survey Promotes National Science Standards, Education Week Teacher, Apr. 8, 2012.
9. The Common Core is nationally driven, unproven, costly, and of mediocre quality.
Joy Pullmann is a research fellow at the Heartland Institute. She examines some weaknesses of the Common Core standards and concludes they are likely to damage states and families. A quality gap exists between Common Core and other programs. Local autonomy will suffer under Common Core.
• Joy Pullmann, The Common Core: A Poor Choice for States, Heartland Institute Policy Brief, January 22, 2013.
10. The Common Core Standards effort is “fundamentally flawed.” The standards were not field tested and were not voluntarily adopted by states.
Diane Ravitch is an influential research professor of education, a widely-read author, and a former U.S. Department of Education official. She favors voluntary national education standards, but says she cannot support the Common Core because of the flawed process by which it was developed.
• Diane Ravitch, Why I Cannot Support the Common Core Standards, Diane Ravitch’s Blog, February 26, 2013.
11. Common Core causes states to lose their autonomy regarding education.
Robert Scott says that Common Core is all about control of education by the federal government and a few national organizations. Scott traces the history of the Common Core standards movement, the coercion to entice states to adopt it, and the lack of transparency in the process.
• Robert Scott, A Republic of Republics: How Common Core Undermines State and Local Autonomy over K-12 Education, Pioneer Institute White Paper No. 102, September 9, 2013.
12. Popular misconceptions about public education continue to drive education policy.
Joy Pullmann discusses six “lies” about public schools that make adults feel good while children suffer in the classroom. Lie #5 is that education is nonpartisan and amoral. In reality, public education shows a preference for atheism over theistic religions.
• Joy Pullmann, Six Lies Most People Believe About U.S. Schools: Adults feel comfortable while kids suffer the consequences, The Federalist, September 23, 2013.
13. March for Science supported a liberal political agenda.
A March for Science was held on April 22, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Billed as “a celebration of our passion for science,” it was in reality a political event designed to boost support for research funding and the scientific “consensus” on such issues as materialism (naturalism), global warming, and sustainability.
• Robert Lattimer, March for Science supported consensus science, increased funding, and a liberal agenda, Phylogeny, April 2017
14. K-12 academic freedom laws do little to counter materialism in science education.
The intent of academic freedom laws for K-12 schools is to make the teaching of controversial issues more objective. These laws permit and encourage objective teaching, but they do not require it. Consequently the laws do little to promote neutrality with regard to controversial issues like biological evolution, the chemical origin of life, and global warming..
• Robert Lattimer, Academic Freedom in K-12 Science Education, Eagle Forum Report, May 2017.