I think the ed reformers perceived the nation’s school system to be a unified whole, which could be ruled from above. That’s not true, as they’re now discovering. From a great height, lowering the standards for the most able children may seem to be an adequate tradeoff for raising the standards for the struggling and neglected.
Unfortunately, they didn’t try to get parent buy-in on that point. Do you think it would have been possible to get parents to agree to short-change their children? I don’t. All the condescending assertions in the world can’t cover up the fact that the Common Core does not raise standards for the children for whom the current system works. And assertions that schools are not required to treat the Common Core standards as a ceiling, that they are free to offer more advanced courses, ignores the pragmatic facts that schools will never have enough money, and that the very idea of tracking is anathema to many school personnel.
The most advanced children tend to have the most educated parents. The most educated parents pay attention to their children’s curricula and school systems. They know how to organize. They know how politics work. All politics are local.
Unfortunately, there are a number of very different reasons why people don’t like CC and that confuses the national discussion. It’s stuck. Nobody wants to go back and study the philosophy and assumptions of CC.
The biggest flaw of CC is that it’s one-size-fits all – “college readiness”. Staring them in the face are all of the high schools that offer different levels of courses where college readiness is not just one thing. In fact, now that everyone is supposed to go to college, college readiness really only means graduating from high school so that you don’t have to take remedial courses in college. Gates (etal) can provide the “and beyond” to their kids, but not worry about others because they get “college readiness.”
I think there is an awful national mindset towards relative improvements in education. Educational leaders see the job as improving average statistics, not providing individual opportunities. This is a control and status quo issue. They don’t want to let parents into the process, but parents care about individuals while others care about statistics.