Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appears now to be assuming the mantle of self-righteous indignation—a tenuous perch for someone who is leading a field in which he has no experience or expertise.
As Valerie Strauss has reported, Duncan this summer lambasted news editors, berating them for failing to demand evidence for claims against Common Core.
Duncan, first, is striking an insincere pose that manufactures a false universe in which only evidence-based support for CC and Tea Party railings against CC exist. This conveniently ignores the growing legions of educators, academics, and scholars who reject CC, and actually have the evidence.
Since Duncan is demanding evidence, it is high time he practices what he preaches (let’s all pause here because that strikes me as a bit of lunacy, in fact, to expect a political appointee to live by the rules he imposes on others).
Secretary Duncan, please either confirm or discredit the following body of evidence that refutes any credibility for needing CC or that CC will work as education reform:
- Hout and Elliott (2011), Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education: Most recent decades of high-stakes accountability reform hasn’t work.
- French, Guisbond, and Jehlen (2013), Twenty Years after Education Reform: High-stakes accountability in Massachusetts has not worked.
- Loveless (2012), How Well Are American Students Learning?: “Despite all the money and effort devoted to developing the Common Core State Standards—not to mention the simmering controversy over their adoption in several states—the study foresees little to no impact on student learning” (p. 3).
- Mathis (2012): Existence and/or quality of standards not positively correlated with NAEP or international benchmark test data; “Further, the wave of high-stakes testing associated with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has resulted in the ‘dumbing down’ and narrowing of the curriculum” (2 of 5).
- Whitehurst (2009), Don’t Forget Curriculum: “The lack of evidence that better content standards enhance student achievement is remarkable given the level of investment in this policy and high hopes attached to it. There is a rational argument to be made for good content standards being a precondition for other desirable reforms, but it is currently just that – an argument.”
- Kohn (2010), Debunking the Case for National Standards: CC nothing new, and has never worked before.
- Victor Bandeira de Mello, Charles Blankenship, Don McLaughlin (2009), Mapping State Proficiency Standards Onto NAEP Scales: 2005-2007: Why does research from the USDOE not show high-quality standards result in higher NAEP scores?
- Horn (2013): “The 2012 NAEP Long-Term Trends are out, and there is a good deal that we may learn from forty years of choking children and teachers with more tests with higher stakes: IT DOESN’T WORK!”
Evidence? Secretary Duncan, you can’t handle the evidence.
For Further Reading, Secretary Duncan:
Baker, B.D. & Welner, K.G. (2011). Productivity Research, the U.S. Department of Education, and High-Quality Evidence. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved [date] from http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/productivity-research.
Bruce Baker and Kevin G. Welner