Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Adopts Misleading Arguments To Attack Common Core

A Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial mischaracterized Common Core education standards as “central planning,” claiming that “a bureaucracy far removed from any school district” would now control local education. In fact, the standards were developed by states with input from local schools; moreover, no school is required to adopt them.

Tribune-Review Claims Common Core Education Standards Are “Central Planning”

Tribune-Review Described Common Core Education Standards As “Central Planning.” In an editorial arguing that Common Core would dilute educational standards, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review stated that the practice would allow “a bureaucracy far removed from any school district” to control local education. It also claimed that the argument that Common Core sets “a floor of consistency” is “the same central-planning argument made by every education bureaucrat” since President Carter. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 9/18/13]

Common Core Standards Are State-Led Educations Standards

Common Core Initiative: “The Federal Government Was NOT Involved In The Development Of The Standards.” According to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, the “federal government was NOT involved in the development of the standards.” In fact, the website states that "[l]ocal teachers, principals, and superintendents lead the implementation of the Common Core." [Common Core State Standards Initiative, accessed 9/19/13]

Bipartisan Group Of Governors And State Commissioners Of Education Developed Common Core Standards. On its website, the National Governors Association explains that "[g]overnors and state commissioners of education from 48 states, 2 territories, and the District of Columbia developed a common core of state standards in English language arts and mathematics for grades k-12." [National Governors Association, accessed 9/19/13]

Common Core: “Final Standards Were Informed By 10,000 Public Comments.” The Common Core State Standards Initiative explains on its website that the final standards of Common Core “were informed by 10,000 public comments and by standards in other top performing countries.” [Common Core State Standards Initiative, accessed 9/19/13]

Department Of Education: “U.S. Constitution Leaves The Responsibility For Public K-12 Education With The States.” As the U.S. Department Of Education notes in a fact sheet about K-12 education funding, education is a state-driven enterprise, and the federal government's role is to “provide assistance to the states and schools in an effort to supplement, not supplant, state support.” [U.S. Department of Education, accessed 9/19/13

Common Core Standards Are Not Mandatory

Foundation For Excellence In Education: Common Core Initiatives “Are At The Discretion Of State-Level Policymakers.” In an attempt to counteract what it called “common misconceptions” about Common Core standards, the education nonprofit Foundation for Excellence in Education noted that “Common Core efforts are at the discretion of state-level policymakers to either join or withdraw from participation.” It further noted that the “federal government was NOT involved in development of the standards.” [Foundation for Excellence in Education, accessed 9/19/13]

Common Core Initiative: Standards Are Not Part Of Federal “No Child Left Behind” And Are Not Mandatory. In a “Myths vs. Facts” post, the Common Core State Standards Initiative says that the standards are not part of the “No Child Left Behind” law and are not mandatory:

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that is not part of No Child Left Behind and adoption of the Standards is in no way mandatory. States began the work to create clear, consistent standards before the Recovery Act or the Elementary and Secondary Education Act blueprint was released because this work is being driven by the needs of the states, not the federal government. [Common Core State Standards Initiative, accessed 9/19/13]

Private Schools Do Not Have To Adopt Common Core Standards. A September 16 article in the National Catholic Reporter explained that private schools -- such as Catholic schools -- are not required to adopt the state-led initiative, but that even if schools decide against adoption, they can still “tap into federal grant money.” [National Catholic Reporter, 9/16/13]