Correcting FiveThirtyEight: “How Arne Duncan Lost the Common Core and His Legacy”

Yesterday, FiveThirtyEight published a largely inaccurate piece about the adoption of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and what it means for the Obama Administration’s legacy and Common Core.

The article by Ben Weider implies that ESSA will undo Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s “signature policy changes” including wide implementation of Common Core State Standards.

Despite the article’s implication, Common Core State Standards were never Secretary Duncan’s to lose in the first place. They began as, and remain to this day, a state-initiated, state-led effort, not a federal one.

ESSA ensures that state education standards (whether Common Core or any other) continue to be left up to states to choose, adopt, and implement.

Also, contrary to the Weider’s suggestion, states overwhelmingly continue to voluntarily implement Common Core State Standards. After more than five years and two national elections, all but one state, Oklahoma, continue to use the Common Core, or a very similar set of standards.

ESSA will put to rest any concerns about federal overreach or pressure on states, which is a clarification welcomed and encouraged by supporters of the Common Core State Standards.