"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Debunking Common Core Curriculum's so-called Four C's

"When you go to doctors, they don’t take all your blood, they only take a sample." — Professor Stephen Krashen

Common Core State Standards (CCSS) means profits for corporations and reduced critical thinking skills for working class peopleProfessor Diane Ravitch had a brief comment entitled The True Goals of Education? this morning where a reader suggested a sort of whole child approach based on virtues as opposed to tedious test preparation. That in itself wouldn't merit much attention, but oddly one of the readers posted a comment suggesting that those self-same virtues were the stated intent of Common Core State Standards. The following was my response to that assertion:

For the plutocrat sponsors* of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to suggest that it has any goals beyond imbuing corporate servitude, compliance, petty jingoism, and acceptance of austerity is nothing short of pernicious propaganda.

Certainly David Coleman and Co. coined their "four C's" well after the fact, and clearly this was in response to to cogent criticisms by actual educators including Susan Ohanian, Professor Stephen Krashen, and others.

Everything in Corporate Core Curriculum is designed to discourage critical thinking skills, and this is why CCSS won't be required outside of public schools (eg. charters, parochial, and private schools). There definitely won't be any canned corporate curricula sponsored by the Gates Foundation inflicted on the children of privilege at schools like Sidwell Friends.

Like its fellow malignant projects "No Child Left Behind" and "Race to the Top," CCSS has goals directly aligned to neoliberalism:

  • Cause the appearance that the public school school system is broken, and that market solutions (charters/vouchers) would fare better.
  • Control the curriculum and combat any chance that "dangerous" curricula that might cause people to resist neoliberalism or question corporate dominance is taught.
  • Further sort students by race and class, and further subject them to endless mind numbing test preparation. Ultimately discouraging any critical thinking skills in any class outside those running society.
  • Serve as the perfect excuse for union busting and the total deprofessionalization of teaching. Ultimately leading to low cost, but highly profitable delivery of necessary information (informational texts anyone?) to those not deemed as needing critical thinking. Real teaching will continue to exist in the hallowed halls of elite private schools for scion of the ruling class.
  • Obscene profits for charlatans like Pearson, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Gideon Stein, and everyone else associated with the diverse markets connected to school privatization, real estate, and the standardized-testing-industrial-complex.

We must resist Corporate Core by every means posible. Paris 1968 is a good model for us to follow. If we don't, we may as well begin writing our eulogies for public education today.

* I'm not saying Mr. Mindlin is working for one of them. He did, after all, say the so-called "four C's" were "allegedly" at the heart of CCSS.


  1. In Indiana, Common Core curriculum and testing will be required for both public and private (those receiving vouchers) schools. This contributed to the defeat of Tony Bennett, Supt of Instruction. A bill to opt out of Common Core will be considered by the Indiana Legislature this spring and many think it has a good chance of passing.

  2. Please sign, share help spread this petition, that with enough attention will supposedly get a White House response. Of course, any response will likely be some canned statement about how the Obama Administration is committed to excellence in education, effective reforms...so on and so forth...But what we need to do is press for public conversation about the points made on this blog here, on Diane Ravitch's blog, and in other places and by other people who can see the truth: "reform" is apparently NOT for the class of people who are exploiting everyone else and getting the "choices" being sold by their privatize movement. Reform is being pushed on everyone else and THEIR schools (traditionally the fuel for effective democracy & capable citizenry), even MORE effectively cutting them off from paths to social advancement political power.


  3. Anonymous1:59 PM

    NCTM (National Council for the Teaching of Mathematics) supporters argue that the shift from procedural approaches to mathematics to sense making and problem solving should be a welcomed change. Likewise, others argue that the English / Language Arts standards are more flexible than most state standards.

    So, how do we provide a more nuanced critique of Common Core that accounts for contradictions at many levels. I concur that corporate and political interests are served by standardizing public education and that standardization at a national level is a strategy to control public education and tie it to economic "imperatives." However, I think it's important to present the contradictions found within Common Core.