PBS Newshour looks at Common Core State Standards

Over Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, PBS Newshour provided a 2 part report on Common Core. I am sharing both here thanks to Newshour making embedding available thru YouTube.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a U.S. education initiative that seeks to bring diverse state curricula into alignment with each other by following the principles of standards-based education reform. The initiative is sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

Common Core has drawn criticism from across the political spectrum, from the liberal Brookings Institute to the libertarian Cato Institute. Conservatives, including several Republican governors, have blasted the program as a federal “top-down” takeover of state and local education systems. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said her state should not “relinquish control of education to the federal government, neither should we cede it to the consensus of other states.”

Supporters state Common Core will provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. They assert, with Common Core, students will be fully prepared for the future, and best positioned to compete in the global economy.

Defining What Public School Students Should Know

In the past, public school standards varied state to state. With backing from the federal government, some governors and superintendents collaborated on a national “Common Core.” But they define only the “what” — what kids should know, not how they should be taught. Special education correspondent John Merrow reports.

Defining What Public School Students Should Know

The new “Common Core” sets the standard for learning in America, but how do states test for these new, more complex and career-ready skills? Special correspondent for education John Merrow.


3 thoughts on “PBS Newshour looks at Common Core State Standards

  1. I hope the lack of comments to this post is not an indication that few readers of this blog have viewed the PBS Newshour segment(s) about Common Core. The total running time is less than 15 minutes, and the producer/reporter does a good job of laying things out. It is a good primer about Common Core.

    I’d like to see one of the major research/polling firms like Gallup do a survey to determine how much Americans, and particularly parents of public school students, know about Common Core. How many have even heard the term ‘Common Core?’ How many feel as though they have some idea of what Common Core is all about? Of those who feel as though they have some idea of what Common Core is all about, how many are for it, against it, or have no opinion? Who thinks that Common Core is an initiative of the federal government, the states, local school districts, or a partnership of one or more of those entities? My guess now is that the results of such a survey would show the public is still largely ignorant about Common Core. And that’s a damn shame. Because within the federal and state departments of education, among teachers, indeed throughout the whole ‘education establishment’ there is general agreement that Common Core is a real game-changer, the most sweeping and profound shake-up in how public school students will be taught since, well, since the U.S. public school system was originally established.

    I applaud the PBS Newshour for their two-part segment on Common Core, and I thank the publisher of this blog for bringing it to the attention of local residents. As for the rest of the major media? Well, what can one say? They can always find time to report on the latest twisted turns in the Anthony Weiner circus campaign to become New York City’s next mayor, but to report on a major reengineering of this country’s schools…well, not so much. Sad.

    I have written to the news departments of all the major TV networks politely suggesting that they have a responsibility to report on Common Core. Thus far, to the best of my knowledge, none have. Except of course PBS, and I surely had nothing to do with that, though I wish I could say I had. We can hope that, with a new school year now just days away, the major media outlets in this country will wake up, smell the coffee, get off their butts and get off their fixations with a lot of nonsense news of little or no value to anybody, and do some old-fashioned reporting on a major story staring them in the face. For make no mistake: just as the Affordable Patient Care Act (aka Obamacare) is about to upend the way Americans receive and pay for medical services, Common Core is about to upend the way students are taught, the way they learn, and the way both students and teachers will be evaluated. And for the record, I have no preconceptions about Common Core and I am not prejuding it. I don’t know enough about it to form an opinion. Very few do. And that is precisely the problem. Common Core is coming. In some states it’s already there, for many more states, the majority of states, including Pennsylvania, Common Core will start to be phased-in this upcoming new school year. And yet I strongly suspect it is still off the radar screens of most Americans.

    To be sure, I hope Common Core succeeds in its goals. I hope the implementation of Common Core goes well. America’s students deserve a plan, a program, that will be as good in practice as the theory behind it; they do not deserve to be made guinea pigs of an experiment which ultimately proves to be a failure. Time will tell. The proof will be in the pudding. Here’s hoping the architects of Common Core really do know what they are doing. And here’s hoping the major media in this country can find some time to report on a matter of grave significance that hits very close to home, for everyone, whether or not one has kids in the public schools. If indeed our children are our future, and if in fact our schools are great shapers of those children, then I respectfully suggest that we all had better quick get hip to Common Core.

    C. Vail

    • I get the impression, the attitude of most who have heard about Common Core is Same Stuff Different Day. Common Core may be the best thing to ever come along, but if there is no real accountability it will fail like every other attempt at education reform… and it will not be until unions are removed from the picture will that happen.


    You won’t see it called Agenda 21. It won’t come with flashing lights announcing that it’s part of a global standardization program to inventory, monitor, and control every aspect of your life. Example?Common Core is the ‘new’ inventory and control system adopted by nearly every state in the US to fully implement Skinnerian training. This system creates people who will go along to get along, who will be ‘good obedient citizens’. RESIST. TELL YOUR SCHOOL BOARD THAT YOU WANT OUT OF COMMON CORE. This is a top down federal/global system for pseudo-education and is a tremendous threat to our independence as individuals and as a nation.

    Read the following article and then get more info by delving into this excellent.website http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/category/public-private-partnerships-ppp/

    and by reading Orlean Koehle’s book, Common Core: A Trojan Horse for Education Reform.

    A terrific website for analysis of Common Core http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/

    How’s Your Common Core Knowledge?
    via Truth in American Education by Shane Vander Hart on 1/28/13
    – See more at: http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/1/post/2013/01/common-core-is-agenda-21.html#sthash.I2ploH1K.dpuf

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