Setting the Record Straight on Common Core Part 2

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Pioneer Institute has been a prime mover in the debate over Common Core national education standards.  Pioneer was among the first to call attention to the nature of the threat, producing rigorous research and relentlessly raising public awareness. Last month, Pioneer released the first of two videos setting the record straight on Common Core, questioning its legality, transparency and financial toll. Today, we release the second video, to shed light on the mediocre academic quality of Common Core and its negative impact on school choice.

Since 2010, Pioneer has commissioned academic-quality research exposing the mediocre quality of Common Core, which put Massachusetts’ two decades of educational gains in jeopardy. The reports, authored by national academic content experts, showed that Common Core contained weaker content in math and ELA than the state standards used in high-performing states like Massachusetts and California.

According to Stanford University Emeritus Professor of Mathematics R. James Milgram, Common Core math standards leave American students one year behind their international peers by fifth grade and two years behind by seventh grade; and students will no longer receive Algebra I instruction in eighth grade.  Read our reports here and here.

Common Core will also reduce by 60 percent the amount of classic literature, poetry and drama that Massachusetts public school students will read. Authors such as Dickens, Wharton, and Conan Doyle, and works such as Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn will be replaced with non-fiction or so- called “informational texts.” Read our report.

Another, less recognized casualty of Common Core is school choice. In Massachusetts, the uniqueness and success of our nationally recognized charter schools has stemmed in large part from their ability to innovate with curricula, to bridge achievement gaps. Vocational-technical schools have also enjoyed remarkable success under previous state standards, benefiting from their emphasis on academic content. Boston Archdiocese schools even outperform public schools statewide using Massachusetts state standards. If all of these different school choice options are forced to adopt Common Core-aligned testing, it will nullify Massachusetts’ 20 years of progress in expanding school choice.

In Part 1, Pioneer addressed three myths about Common Core:

  • Was Common Core State Led?
  • Is Common Core Legal?
  • What Will Common Core Cost?

These brief videos draw from multiple research papers and testimony provided around the country by experts in the field. Watch Part 2 now.

Help inform parents and teachers about Common Core. Share these videos with friends on Facebook, Twitter and other social media:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Visit Our Common Core Toolbox:


Read Our Research:

One-Page Primer on Common Core: Legality

One-Page Primer on Common Core: Cost

One-Page Primer on Common Core: Quality

Lowering the Bar: Common Core Math Fails to Prepare Students for STEM

A Republic of Republics: How Common Core Undermines State and Local Autonomy over K-12 Education

How Common Core’s ELA Standards Place College Readiness at Risk

National Cost of Aligning States and Localities to Common Core

The Road to a National Curriculum

Controlling Education from the Top

Why Race to the Middle?

Fair to Middling: A National Standards Progress Report

The Emperor’s New Clothes

National Standards Still Don’t Make the Grade