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Charles Blow Is Wrong About the Common Core

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Charles Blow is one of the columnists in the New York Times that I usually count on to challenge the conventional wisdom and to speak up for the powerless.

Sadly, in this column, he parrots the conventional wisdom and voices the opinions of the elites.

Imagine, he calls the Broad Foundation a "reform" organization. The Broad Foundation is the source of policies that are privatizing public schools and destroying communities. Some of the worst, most arrogant leaders in U.S. education have been "trained" by the unaccredited Broad Academy. The foundation's guide on how to close schools is a bible for the corporate reform movement.

As for the international test scores, Blow should not have relied on Time magazine's Amanda Ripley. He should have looked at the Rothstein-Carnoy study, which demonstrates that the PISA results were misleading, or the recent article in the UK Times Educational Supplement, where test experts maintained that the scores on PISA are "meaningless," or considered the more recent TIMSS test, where American students did very well. Or read the chapter in my new book Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools, which explains the myths and facts about international testing.

Why in the world would he enthuse about the Common Core tests? As we saw recently in New York, the new tests widened the gaps between affluent and poor, between black and white, between English language learners and native speakers, between children with disabilities and those without. Common Core has no evidence to support its claims. The Common Core tests are deepening the stratification of society and falsely labeled two-thirds of the state's children as failures. "Harder" tests do not make kids smarter. It will take smaller classes, experienced teachers, and a greater investment in the neediest children to do that.