No, Common Core Is Not a Plot to Impose a ‘Planned Economy’
The “unpopular nationalized” Common Core State Standards are a device “Hillary and Bill Clinton have been working on for years” to establish a school-to-career pipeline, Breitbart News alleges. “The Common Core Standards and the student data collected through the Common Core-aligned tests are serving as a vehicle to provide big business with a government guaranteed labor force – a genuine planned economy.”
“Neither the state nor the federal government has any legitimate role in facilitating or managing the job training of private enterprise,” says Kirsten Lombard, an outspoken critic of the Common Core.
Such accusations, however, completely ignore the realities of the Common Core.
Common Core State Standards were developed by educators and experts from across the country under the leadership of the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association. Federal authorities – and that includes the Clintons – had no hand in the development process.
After a comprehensive vetting process, multiple drafts, public input and approval by an independent validation committee, states voluntarily adopted the Common Core. And today states continue to lead implementation efforts, conducting reviews and refining the standards to ensure they meet students’ needs.
Common Core also has nothing to do with data collection. The standards say nothing of states’ data collection or teacher evaluation policies. In fact, if a state were to repeal the Common Core tomorrow, it would experience no changes to what data is collected or how teachers are evaluated – those activities would just be based on a different set of standards. Rob McKenna, former attorney general for Washington State, wrote last year: “I encourage parents to read [the Common Core State Standards]. They will find no mention of data-collection mandates.”
Common Core State Standards prepare students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed after high school, whether it’s in college or a career. But that’s hardly a ploy towards creating a “planned economy,” as the article suggests.
In fact, objective analysis has repeated rejected claims that the Common Core impose particular beliefs or ideologies on students. In 2013, PolitiFact gave a “Pants on Fire” rating to claims Common Core is a federal tool to instill religious or political ideology:
“We found nothing…to suggest that the federal government is telling students what political or religious beliefs they should hold. For public schools, it wouldn’t be constitutional, anyway,” the analysis concludes.
Rather, the Common Core promotes critical thinking and analytical reasoning to better ensure students are able to chart their own course in life. And in states that have put support behind implementation and committed to high-quality assessments, student performance is improving.
Conversely, Oklahoma—the only state to revert back to an inferior set of standards—created disruption and uncertainty for schools, only to put students at a disadvantage. Likewise, states that have “gone it alone” on student assessments have often incurred significant costs and will likely end up with weaker tests.
Opponents have lobbed a lot of wild accusations at the Common Core, and the idea the standards are part of a plan to impose a “planned economy” is yet another. As former Education Secretary Bill Bennett explains, lies and distortion have drowned out constructive dialogues—but “it is time for integrity and truth in this debate.”