Simon writes that Duncan and other Common Core proponents are frustrated because the debate over Common Core has splintered into different fights in different localities over different issues:
To the immense frustration of Common Core supporters, an eclectic array of critics have raised sustained and impassioned objections about the new standards. From New York to Florida to Michigan to Louisiana, their voices are so loud and their critiques so varied that they have muddied the narrative around Common Core. It’s no longer a focused national debate about high standards; it’s hundreds of local debates, about everything from student privacy rights to cursive handwriting to computerized testing to the value of Shakespeare.
Over the summer, Duncan complained that opponents were “fringe groups” who make “outlandish claims” about “really wacky stuff” such as “mind control, robots, and biometric brain mapping.” There is undoubtedly some of that.
But there are also substantive critiques from all corners. Catholic scholars say the standards aren’t rigorous enough. Early childhood experts say they demand too much. Liberals complain the Common Core opens the door to excessive testing. Conservatives complain it opens the door to federal influence in local schools. Teachers don’t like the new textbooks. Parents don’t like the new homework.
And some critics sense a conspiracy, suggesting that the difficult Common Core tests are designed to make public schools look so bad that parents everywhere — including white, suburban moms — will rush to embrace charter schools, cyber schools, vouchers and other models that turn public education over to private entrepreneurs.
There was a time when education reformers could just attack critics as teachers union shills or fringe people on the left and right and get away with it.
But no longer.
In NY State, one of two states that has already switched state test alignments to the Common Core State Standards, the criticism and opposition to the Core is coming from parents in suburban districts who are pissed at the plummeting scores their children received on the tests, pissed at the absurdity of some of the Common Core lessons and modules that are being taught, pissed at all the test prep that is forced on teachers by the new evaluation system and pissed that the state wants to hand sensitive student information over to Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch.