Common Core Influence Remains Strong Despite Political, Parental Pushback

Published December 16, 2017

CCSS is a set of national standards dictating what students should know at the end of each grade level.

“Of the states that opted in after the standards were introduced in 2010—45 plus the District of Columbia—only eight have moved to repeal the standards, largely due to political pressure from those who saw Common Core as infringing on local control, according to Abt Associates, a research and consulting firm,” AP reported in September 2017.

Though 29 of the original 46 adopter states have abandoned or revised the Common Core State Standards in response to political and parental pushback, the influence remains. From the first attempt to repeal and replace CCSS by Indiana in 2014 to the most recent attempt in New York, activists and analysts describe the replacement standards as little more than a simple rebrand of Common Core, allegations supported by research published earlier this year.

The Abt Associates study, released in January 2016, analyzed nine CCSS state revisions and concluded, “These nine states kept the standards mostly intact.”

‘Changing the Label’

Joy Pullmann, managing editor of The Federalist and author of The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids, says the changes have been largely cosmetic.

“The majority of states deliberately kept Common Core while changing the label so the frustrations of Common Core no longer have a convenient brand for people to attach to,” Pullmann said.

CCSS ‘Staying Power’

Mike Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and a Common Core supporter, described CCSS in the AP article as the recipe for a cake which “is still being baked.”

Pullmann says the reality is numerous CCSS ingredients actually prevent the Common Core recipe from being altered.

“Like Obamacare, it went into place and ‘enrolled’ millions of ‘customers’ before anything could be done about it, and that made reconsideration politically impossible,” Pullmann said. “Unlike Obamacare, it had the additional benefit of being done very quietly and not through public forums, so that really enhanced its staying power.”

Educator training is another ingredient that gives CCSS deep roots, Pullmann says. 

“Common Core is really in line with the ideology taught in teacher’s education schools, which have a tight grip on the entire U.S. education apparatus,” Pullmann said. “That also made for an environment very receptive and obedient to its ideas and ways of teaching.”

Pullmann says most families are trapped in CCSS.

“Parents simply don’t have many good escape hatches, options for resolving their frustration with the curriculum their children are required to learn using their tax dollars,” Pullmann said. “Private and homeschooling are out of reach for most families.”

‘Nowhere Near the Promise’

A 2014 Progress Report on the Common Core, written by Tom Loveless of the Brown Center on Education Policy, concluded CCSS has done little to increase student achievement. Richard Innes, an education analyst for the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, says the current situation in Kentucky is in line with those findings.

“Kentucky tests all kids in the eleventh grade with the ACT, and at best we’ve gone flat,” Innes said of Kentucky’s 2016–17 ACT results. “We’re in the fifth year of Common Core, and we’re nowhere near the promise of Common Core.”

Innes reported on the Bluegrass Institute’s website in October 2017 none of Kentucky’s 2016–17 state standardized test results met adequate annual progress targets in either reading or mathematics at any level of schooling.

“Given that this is Kentucky’s sixth set of scores since it started Common Core State Standards-aligned KPREP testing in 2011–12, this isn’t a happy message for the dwindling fans of Common Core,” Innes said.

Predictable Failure

Pullmann says these results shouldn’t come as a surprise.

“We did have some indications, before Common Core went into place, that it would at best do nothing for American kids,” Pullmann said. “The sad part is waiting so long to be able to confirm those evidence-based predictions of failure, and all the students’ and teachers’ lives wasted in the process.”

Jenni White ([email protected]) writes from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


Tom Loveless, “How Well Are American Students Learning?” The Brookings Institution, March 2012: