4 reasons why the Common Core Standards are losing popularity

By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor
July 19th, 2013

In what could be compared to, well, many education reform initiatives over the years—educational technology included—a once-widely, and quickly, accepted initiative is dividing the education community; begging the question, ‘Are the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) just another flash in education’s pan?’

45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the CCSS in what was once lauded as a giant step in the right direction in trying to improve student achievement and college- and career-readiness.

The K-12 Standards, developed for Mathematics and English Language Arts, are designed to bring student learning into the 21st Century through the inclusion of, and focus on, digital media, social learning tools, critical thinking skills, and online assessments.

Yet, many states, policy makers, and educators are saying that though giving the go-ahead was easy, successful implementation planning didn’t factor well enough into the decision to adopt, causing problems states are only now beginning to fully comprehend.

Here you’ll find the four most widely discussed contentions with CCSS. Do you think these points are valid? Are there any other issues concerning CCSS not mentioned on the list that you’d like to discuss? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

(Next page: Funding and testing)

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16 Responses to “4 reasons why the Common Core Standards are losing popularity”

Pardon my language but these excuses are BS!!! There have always been standards, the emphasis is now COMMON standards – that have been discussed for quite a while. Curricula developed for these standards or ANY standards are flat out wrong!!! There’s too much diversity (or previous learning, learning style, …) within even ONE classroom to get appropriate curriculum – let alone across common core states. Finally, there should not be “teaching to the test” that obviously makes alignment critical. Help the students learn core knowledge effectively, help them to be able to learn effectively, and provide them with an environment where they are gaining experience solving real-world problems effectively.

I’m confident if this is done, standardized tests of any type will get good scores, the classes will be more enjoyable for everyone involved, and graduates will be prepared for what ever comes next. The naysayers have had their 15 minutes of fame. Join us doers or get out of the way!!! Our young people’s educations are too important for oh so many reasons and it has to start NOW!!! As noted, the BS is just that and it’s strangling this country!!!

suzanne everett
July 19, 2013

From the perspective of a 9-12 educator, the “Underdeveloped high stakes testing” is not only a problem with test vetting and cost, but educational scaffolding and community preparedness. Where’s the “grandfathering” of implementation? Start high stakes testing when the Class of 2025 “really?” has had the full “benefit” of the CCSS. No, the first round of testing hits students who have not had the full K-11 support. Most elementary feeder schools still are not on top of nor implementing CCSS, yet the Class of 2016 is expected to be successful with an un-vetted test, no scaffolding of skills, and a more competitive college and career on-ramp than ever before. Are the implementations of CCSS and its high stakes measurements setting students and communities up for success or failure?

    suzanne everett
    July 19, 2013

    At least this will level the playing field. Students are not fully prepared nor do teachers know how to “teach to the test”, but many are making a lot of $$.

July 19, 2013

We keep saying and wishing that our children get prepared for a complex, interconnected, competitive future, but we keep relying on an educational system defined and ruled by people disconnected with the realities of life, and mired in issues having to do more with their own future of bureaucratic and political wrangling, and inhibiting the meaningful contributions of qualified professionals in the sciences we wish to promote. Some of us professionals who have tried have become more and more frustrated with the situation and no one, including the currently hoped-for administration seem to get the message that we cannot succeed in “STEM” education, or in any mission to Mars if we allow the lawyers and all kinds of uninformed political fans to keep running this complicated reconstruction show.

July 19, 2013

Americans hate standards. If we liked standards we would not be only one of three countries in the world who do not use the metric system – US, Liberia and Myanmar (Burma). If we liked standards we could go into Starbucks and be able to ask for “a cup of coffee” or into Baskin-Robbins and order the standard ice cream cone, or into any grocery store in the country and try to buy just a can of beans.

The worst thing you can do is to raise an entire generation who all have the exact same education. What you need to do is to have an education that helps kids discover and develop their passion, their creativity and their ability to communicate that passion & creativity to others.

    July 25, 2013

    Thomas G. Layton, I don’t get what point you’re trying to make. Just because we don’t use the metric system doesn’t mean we don’t use ANY standards of measurement. Imagine if a school in one town taught the metric system, then next town taught the imperial system, and the next town over just made up its own system, the kids in the three towns would not be able to communicate. That’s why standards are good. And by the way, I had a cup of coffee at Starbucks yesterday and I buy cans of beans at the grocery store all the time, so I really have no idea what you are trying to say.

July 22, 2013

Another problem is the fact that there was little effort to get teacher buy-in in many of the states. State leaders decided it was a good idea, but teachers were not consulted, nor has there been adequate training in many schools.

July 24, 2013

I agree with feliperazo – it is the Educational Industrial Complex foisting this on teachers and students. Remember if there is no student choice involvement in the process, CCSS is dead on arrival. Students must have some voice in the process instead of simply being the “Objects” instructed.

July 25, 2013

My limited understanding of the Common Core is that it is a very high level set of standards that every student is expected to know by the time they finish high school. While the goal of No Child Left Behind was repectable (to do something about so many failing schools), its approach was totally wrong (“Your kids better pass this test or else we’ll shut down the school”), and its effect was that teachers taught to the tests. Common Core will not dictate to teachers how to teach, it just asks that kids learn certain skills and facts before graduation. Am I wrong?

From what I’ve heard and read, there are too many kids entering college who can’t reason and can’t write. College is not the place to teach basic skills, it’s the place to build on them. Isn’t Common Core an attempt to get everyone to the starting line with the same basic background, so that a kid from the rich suburbs doesn’t necessarily have so many advantages over a kid from the poor rural country?

    August 1, 2013

    ideally, CCSS would do much of what you have described. Although many states already had pretty good standards (Indiana and my thoughts:

    The need for the core to be COMMON has very little to do with raising standards of education though. While they claim a dire need to compare students in Indiana with students in Alabama (I am a veteran teacher who has never cared about those comparisons and cannot conceive of how knowing the English differential would help me improve the context of my students’ learning), the actual explanation is pretty simple and admitted to on a number of pro #edreform sites: Market.

    If the standards are common, then common books, programs, technology, methods, and tests can be used. Greater similarity is a greater market to sell the same stuff. (in fact, this is a primary reason cited by the Fordham Institute for praising Indiana’s adoption despite having better overall standards.

    The advocates of CCSS are also intimately tied with the assessments as well. The assessments consortia have PR machines that stand in stark contrast to the assessments themselves. Promises of innovative use of technology and comprehensive testing of standards are actually glorified eFill-in-the-Blanks. No proposed testing questions cover collaboration, advanced research techniques, or any number of career-readiness goals that are written into the CCSS. Common Assessments are profit-driven and it is hard to scale those kinds of assessments (

    I love the idea of closing the gap on the digital divide, the education divide, the divides created by poverty or parent involvement, or genetic predisposition…but I don’t see CCSS or its associated tests as a step in that direction.

July 25, 2013

After reading the editorials that are linked in this article, it seems to me like there is much less controversy than the headline here would have you believe. Come on, eSchool News, why not just publish good, honest reporting instead of making me do all kinds of homework before I recognize that there is nothing behind your attention-grabbing headline.

    August 14, 2013

    Emperor’s New Clothes – Absolutely right on the mark. Whenever you have rigid standards that are backed up by testing, teachable moments and creativity go out the window. The phrase I hate the most in the English language is “well we have never done it that way before” and that is what standards in their present form promote. While i think there are some simple standards that need to be in place like ” all third graders should be able to write a paragraph using proper grammar and punctuation,” I think we have to think more about guidelines than standards.

Thanks for writing the article on four reasons why the Common Core Standards are losing popularity. This provides a forum for discussion. Americans often wish to offer opposing arguments for regulation. I wish to offer supporting arguments for the regulation posed by Common Core State Standards.
My understanding of the Common Core Standards is that the emphasis is on higher level thinking skills and problem solving rather than facts and figures.
If our students have experiences in analyzing, understanding, clarifying, problem solving, collaborating, explaining, and other higher order thinking skills, they will be more able to reach college and career readiness.
Schools do not need to adopt new textbooks or materials. The materials that schools are already using can be the foundation for these higher level thinking skills. Students will be doing more with the materials, though. We as educators need to put learners in positions to think for themselves, solve problems, and articulate those solutions to one another. The Common Core State Standards emphasis on process rather than rote memory can be the guide for educators to create the scenarios for students to engage in those higher order thinking skills.
The Common Core Standards strike a balance to preserve the integrity and autonomy of the thinking educator while setting high expectations for the learner.