Cover Story

Uncommon pushback

"Uncommon pushback" Continued...

Issue: "Back to School," Sept. 6, 2014

One of the leading critics of Common Core has been Terrence Moore, who starts classical schools and has taught history at Hillsdale College. Moore was pulled into the Common Core debate by Indiana opponents and wrote a 263-page book, The Story-Killers.

“The Common Core and the textbook editors are replacing the classic stories with postmodern tales of cynicism and ennui,” he writes. “Both the human mind and soul long for greatness, for stories that are good and beautiful and true. If we allow our stories to die, our love of the good and the beautiful and the true will die with them.” 

For other parents homeschooling offers another way out of the Common Core confusion, and some homeschoolers adopt aspects of classical education. Some parents have another concern, that Common Core is not a neutral attempt to assess academic skills but will open the door to tests that demand conformity to a left-wing or politically correct political agenda.

A couple of years ago Common Core looked inevitable, like the sunrise. Now grassroots opponents are stopping it right and left. The small libertarian-leaning Pioneer Institute in Boston has offered a constant stream of opposition research. Other states are pulling out of testing consortiums. If states go their own way on testing, the common will drop out of any core.

A practical result might be state-controlled education after all. Some states could still try Common Core and its tests, and other states may discover something better. The competition between the states should prove better than a Common Core monopoly on standards and testing.

Russ Pulliam
Russ Pulliam

Russ is a columnist for The Indianapolis Star, the director of the Pulliam Fellowship, and a member of God's World Publications' board of directors.

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