Common Core’s Education Snake Oil

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Those who are trying to sell us Common Core say that they have designed a new system of standards that will be able to predict and ensure the future college and career success of American students.

This is a lie, a con, a scam of massive proportions. It’s all a big marketing scheme. Saying that Common Core will prepare the nation’s children for the future is like telling Americans that drinking Coca Cola at every meal will make us happier and healthier. The truth is just the opposite.

Researchers (the one’s who have actually done their homework) have found that the best predictor for college success is getting good grades in high school. It didn’t matter what school someone attended, or even their SAT scores. Students who finish high school with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or better are much more likely to finish college successfully. In other words, those who wrote reports well, completed assignments on time, studied for tests and got better grades in high school are most likely to continue that trend in college. No additional testing needed.

Second, those who have carefully researched and studied the topic have found that the best predictor for career success is not SAT scores or IQ or even college grades, but rather social and emotional intelligence– interpersonal competence, self-awareness, empathy and communication skills. Also creativity, imagination, integrity and joyfulness are very important.

These are “soft skills” developed through collaboration, team projects and other creative activities. Such skills are not measurable through computer based standardized testing, but need to be observed and guided by real world teachers.

Even a sense of humor (another interpersonal factor never measured or graded in schools) has been found to correlate more strongly with career success than traditional test measures and scores. According to Daniel Goleman (quoted in “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel H. Pink, p. 58), research has found that “within organizations, the most effective leaders were funny.”

So, what does this mean for the claim that Common Core aligned tests will allow educators to predict, measure and ensure a student’s college and career readiness? It’s all marketing hype, nothing more.

SAT & IQ scores haven’t predicted college and career success, and they’ve been around for decades. Why should we believe that a new batch of cognitive measurements and “rigorous” standardized tests (that haven’t been fully created yet and have no research evidence to back up their claims) are going to suddenly and magically be able to rank, sort and predict every elementary school child’s future?

If you believe that, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn you might want to purchase. It’s all a massive case of education fraud, a very very BIG lie, that could have a disastrous effect on our nation’s future if we allow this foolishness to continue.

If we really want America’s children to do well in college and career, make sure they read lots of books, enjoy learning new things, have a lot of friends, study for tests, finish their homework, develop a good sense of humor and are self-directed learners.

Those “soft” skills, attitudes and good work habits will take them the distance. No additional government standards or testing required.

~Christopher Chase~


Self-Direction is the Key to Mastery  * Understanding How Our Brains Learn  * Toward a More Creative & Holistic Model of Education  Who are the Corporate Reformers? – Diane Ravitch * Why Hedge Funds Love Charter Schools * Ranking and Sorting: The Sordid History of Standards and Tests * Walmart, Gates, Hedge Funds & Charter Schools (Business Insider) * Noam Chomsky on the Dangers of Standardized Testing * Standardizing Education – Common Core’s Hidden Agenda * Educational Malpractice – The Child Manufacturing Process * Real Learning is a Creative Process *


About Christopher Chase

Co-creator and Admin of the Facebook pages "Tao & Zen" "Art of Learning" & "Creative Systems Thinking." Majored in Studio Art at SUNY, Oneonta. Graduated in 1993 from the Child & Adolescent Development program at Stanford University's School of Education. Since 1994, have been teaching at Seinan Gakuin University, in Fukuoka, Japan.
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6 Responses to Common Core’s Education Snake Oil

  1. howardat58 says:

    Reblogged this on Saving school math and commented:
    I love the cartoon!

  2. BeeHappee says:

    Sense of humor. Absolutely!🙂

  3. “Self-directed learners” can’t be stopped. And yeah, there’s no real leadership without humor. I enjoyed reading this and (of course) agree completely.

      • I wish you’d consider posting these article on Medium and submitting them to the Synapse. You’d get an additional following — the whole “magazine” is dedicated to just the subject about which you (and I, sometimes) write. The audience is everyone from high school kids (who sometimes write!) to codgers such as I. The editor is a young Sped teacher from New England. If you haven’t used the platform before, it’s very easy to use. Took me about 2 minutes to figure it out.

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