THE BLOG
05/30/2014 04:03 pm ET Updated Jul 30, 2014

Business Group Pledges $500,000 Campaign for Common Core -- Who Will It Really Benefit?

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Who supports Common Core? Who opposes the new national standards? Are the critics right or left?

A new group in New York has been created to spend $500,000 to promote Common Core. This article says the group consists of business organizations but its prominent supporters are the Gates Foundation, the Helmsley Foundation, Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst, and the Gates-funded Educators for Excellence.

Allegedly, business wants "higher standards" because the CCSS will close the skills gap and produce more qualified workers. Is there any evidence for this belief? No. On the first round of Common Core testing, 70 percent of students in New York failed. The failure rate for minorities, English learners, and students with disabilities was even higher. Among students with disabilities, for example, 95 percent failed the Common Core tests.

Where is the evidence that Common Core will make all students college-ready? There is none.

Would business groups be equally willing to invest in a campaign for equitable school funding, reduced class sizes, universal pre-school, pre-natal care, after-school programs, school nurses, and a raise in the minimum wage? All of these have a solid research base. They are proven strategies for reform.

Do the business leaders think that CCSS makes those investments unnecessary?

It is certainly appealing to fiscal conservatives to believe that higher standards can somehow magically solve the problems of huge economic and social inequality. CCSS, they imagine, can compensate for the fact that nearly one-quarter of our children live in poverty.

Someday, maybe 12 years from now, they think, all children will be college-ready, even if they live in squalor or have no home, even if they attend overcrowded classes with inexperienced teachers. Are they gullible? Or do they believe the public can be easily deceived? Remember when the same groups believed that tougher standards, tests, and accountability would raise up all children and "no child" would be "left behind"? We spent billions on tests and consultants, on closing schools and opening schools, and that didn't work out.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.