It’s Common Core testing season for public schools, and many parents in my state of NY are opting their children out of the test. As a parent, taxpayer, and libertarian, I am against the program on several levels. Like many (most?) government programs, it has good intentions, but ultimately fails due to poor design, poor implementation, and the usual government intrusiveness.
Last September, we had criticized Common Core, focusing mainly on the Federal over-reach aspect. At the time, I had withheld judgement on other aspects where I believe Common Core is failing, as I wanted to wait for the tests to be released for my insider source to confirm if it’s as bad as they say it is. Now the verdict is in: it’s bad.
Explanation of what Common Core State Standards Initiative is:
It is a Federal standards program that individual states may “voluntarily” accept. “The standards were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live.” The purpose is to establish a country-wide, objective assessment metric, similar to SAT’s; a “C” student in an elite school may be higher performing than an “A” student in a low-achievement school, and the universal metric is intended to remove the local variability factor. It is also designed to “accurately” evaluate teacher performance. A teacher can’t just give A’s to all her students, and say “I’m a good teacher because I have so many A students.”
If Common Core is voluntary, then why do states even bother with it? As usual, it comes down to money. The “enforcement” branch of the Federal Common Core program is the Race to the Top “Contest,” administered by the Federal Dept of Ed. At stake is $4.35 billion in funding, to be awarded to winning states for satisfying certain educational policies, such as performance-based standards.
Currently 7 states have opted out of the Federal program, led by Governor Perry of Texas, who reasoned that his state “would be foolish and irresponsible to place our children’s future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington, virtually eliminating parents’ participation in their children’s education. If Washington were truly concerned about funding education with solutions that match local challenges, they would make the money available to states with no strings attached.” 
So bottom line, the Federal Government takes money from people in the form of federal taxes, then dangles it in front of their State’s Department of Educations like carrots in front of mules, as a “prize” for a “no participation necessary” contest that’s rigged so that you can’t win unless you play by their rules. Basically, bribing us with our own money, and making us jump through hoops to get it back.