Forty-one out of 50 states in America have adopted the common core national standard, which claims it will help prepare our students for college. But is this only preparing them to be talented standardized test takers?

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The Common Core State Standards Initiative, the current educational standard in the United States covering grades K-12, was developed in 2009 and enacted in 2010, outlining what students should know and be able to achieve by each grade.

These standards are based off mathematics and language arts, commonly referred to as ELA, to ensure all students are able to graduate high school with the skills needed to succeed in college.

According to the Common Core State Standards Initiative website, “The Common Core asks students to read stories and literature, as well as more complex texts that provide facts and background knowledge in areas such as science and social studies. … The skills and knowledge captured in the ELA/literacy standards are designed to prepare students for life outside the classroom.” said that 41 states, the District of Columbia, four territories and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted common core standards.

The states (and one territory) that have not adopted these standards — Texas, Alaska, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Indiana, Minnesota and Puerto Rico — all have legitimate reasons for not complying like the other 41 states.

Here’s why: The standards intrude on what should be determined at the state and local level, which is viewed as a federal overreach.

Teachers, parents and administrators claim these standards are developmentally inappropriate and based too heavily on standardized testing and inefficient objectives that don’t focus on fundamental skills. Such heavy emphasis on data collection treats students more like robots than humans with immensely different ways of learning.

Currently, many of the 41 states that have adopted the standard have either revised or repealed due to the Next Generation Learning Standards, which is the updated version of Common Core.

The “Next Generation Learning Standard” will make its debut in September of 2020 and will entail small changes along with its new name.

According to, “In ELA, just 23 percent of the standards were changed. The most common revisions were clarifying or rewording concepts, and reformatting materials. For math, 27 percent of the standards were changed, primarily with similar word clarifications as well as additions to make the standards more rigorous.”

Whether it is 23 percent or 27 percent, these changes are not sufficient. This new standard will be comparatively the same as Common Core but with a nice and shiny name facelift they hope makes it more appealing for the outlying states to adopt.

Why are the federal learning standards pushing so hard to make states adopt?

From their point of view, having the same set standards across the states would provide aligned expectations across the country along with making it easier for parents and teachers to compare how students are measuring up against their peers.

In reality, the reason behind educational reform as a campaign topic is winning presidential elections and gaining funding.

In 2000, when George W. Bush ran for president and won, he promised America educational reformation. Thus, when Bush became president, his first educational line of duty was his 2002 “No Child Left Behind” Act.

NCLB was made law and was then mandated, but the law only applied to those states that voluntarily chose to participate.

The mandate also explained that “states must test students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. They must report the results for the student population as a whole and for particular subgroups of students including English-learners, students in special education, racial minorities and children from low-income families.”

Funding for NCLB was granted by Congress, which increased spending on elementary and secondary education from $42.2 billion to $55.7 billion in 2001, along with many other grants provided by Congress, which you can find here.

Once schools began to honor these extensive requirements, the conditional fund was then granted under the Title I, which provided funding to school districts to educate disadvantaged children.

Each state was required to bring all students to a proficient level by 2013-14, and each state had the power to create what the tests should look like and which tests should be used.

The issue with giving each state the control of what proficiency should look like and what the tests include is it creates room for dishonesty and non-challenging tests in order for students to get higher scores, which then helps the schools receive money from the government.

The vicious educational money cycle continued to move forward when Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law.

The ARRA promises “foundation for education reform by supporting investments in innovative strategies that are most likely to lead to improved results for students, long-term gains in school and school system capacity and increased productivity and effectiveness.”

Thus, ARRA provided $4.35 billion for Obama’s “Race To The Top” initiative, which ironically shares indistinguishable sets of requirements as Bush’s, “No Child Left Behind.”

These programs all have similar standards, which include large federal grants with federal stipulations.

Diane Ravitch, a leader against corporate school reform and bestselling author of, “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” is an education activist fighting against standardized testing and charter schools.

Ravitch wrote: “It turns out as a result of putting so much emphasis on the test scores, there’s a lot of cheating going on, there’s a lot of gaming the system. Instead of raising standards it’s actually lowered standards because many states have ‘dumbed down’ their tests or changed the scoring of their tests to say that more kids are passing than actually are.”

Ravitch said she truly believes education shouldn’t be an education marketplace but a place where schools should operate like family, sharing what works and what doesn’t work instead of hiding their trade secrets like a competition.

Education in this country is an ongoing issue that every president attempts to fix with some new, innovative education reform scheme.

From “No Child Left Behind” to “Race To The Top” to “The Common Core State Standard,” these educational money factory schemes are not leading the United States education system toward a prospering future.

Until we remove the heavily regulated, data-filled standards from our country, the educational quality in the United States will remain the same, leaving children behind, racing to the bottom and leaving children with nothing in common.

By Anika Conley

Anika Conley is a staff journalist for MBU Timeline. Anika is majoring in communications studies. She is currently working for her family’s business PSRI Technologies located in St. Louis. After graduation she plans on moving to the West Coast to pursue her career in communications.