I spent much of last week's radio shows in conversations with proponents and opponents of the "Common Core." (Other topics were covered of course. There is a world wide terror alert, for example, and then there was a long conversation with Davis Gaines on life in the theater, but there was a lot of Common Core talk.)
The last two transcripts of this series of interviews are now posted at the Transcripts page, one with Patricia Levesque, who is the CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and one with Emmett McGroarty, an opponent of the Common Core, who is with the American Principles Project.
Interviews earlier in the week on the subject were with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and current Florida Senator Marco Rubio, as well as with Washington Post education writer Jay Mathews and former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett, both of whom can fairly be described as neither opponents nor proponents. As noted, those five interviews are also at the Transcripts page.
Ten conclusions, based on these interviews and a ton of email and yet another round of unexpected "Common Core" questions at an unrelated event on another topic with Dennis Prager in Sacramento on Thursday night:
1. Common Core is a well-intended effort at school reform, aimed at building an achievement standard floor on which all American public education is expected to stand.
2. Common Core is perceived as a dumbed-down "ceiling" by some, an ideological imposition of federal standards by others, and an ideological exercise by many.
3. Political momentum against the Common Core is large and growing at an almost exponential rate. Proponents of the Core set out to persuade elites, not parents and activists, and this has created widespread suspicion among groups used to being excluded from policy making and already feeling as though policy makers are insulated from voters.