The Common Core has been in the news quite a bit of late. Conservatives have attacked it as a “Nanny State racket,” while liberals denounced Common Core test results as “bunk” (Gewertz, 2013b). This year, legislators in nine states introduced legislation to drop the Common Core or to cut funding for its implementation (Bill Status Tracker, 2013). U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan felt called upon to defend the standards in a speech to the American Society of News Editors saying,“The federal government didn’t write them, didn’t approve them, and doesn’t mandate them, and we never will” (McNeil, 2013).
However, just a few paragraphs down, Hess says:
"In President Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus package, the Department of Education granted about $330 million to two consortia of states to develop tests aligned to the Common Core."
Because the test component nails down a requirement for an aligned curriculum, Duncan can no way say that he "didn't approve them." $330 million says HE DID!
Just in case you don't make that connection, here us what else Duncan said:
"When these new tests were introduced, Secretary Duncan set a remarkably high bar. He said the new assessments would “be an absolute game changer in public education” and would “help drive the development of a rich curriculum, instruction that is tailored to student needs, and multiple opportunities throughout the school year to assess student learning” (Duncan, 2010)."
From Frederick Hess no less and the AEI. He further states:
More to the point, the Common Core has huge capability to do harm if it doesn’t work out. While previous initiatives that fell apart in implementation — including site-based management, block scheduling, or comprehensive school reform — created headaches, disruption, and frustration at individual campuses or in certain districts, their reach was limited. The Common Core will affect state assessments and accountability, revamp K-12 instruction, force changes in teacher preparation and professional development, and more. If the Common Core falls apart, it runs the risk of taking all of those down with it, and the costs in terms of time, dollars, and disruption will be enormous.