Monday, July 12, 2021

Latest Talk out of School: Tom Loveless on the failure of the Common Core

My WBAI radio show, Talk out of School, has switched its day and time and will from now on be broadcast live Saturdays at 1 PM EST, on WBAI 99.5 FM or online at, to allow more teachers, parents and students to listen and/or call in.  I will be alternating weeks with a new co-host, Daniel Alicea, a NYC teacher, who had a fascinating show last week on the controversy surround Critical Race Theory in schools.  Check it out if you haven't already here.

This Saturday, after a brief recap of the latest education news, including the Mayoral primaries and the final city education budget deal, I interviewed Tom Loveless, who has written a new book, Between the State and the Schoolhouse, Understanding the Failure of Common Core. Tom is a former director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution, and before that, was a sixth-grade teacher and Harvard policy professor.

One of the interesting issues we discussed is how the magical thinking of No Child Left Behind, in which all schools were mandated to have all students reach proficiency by 2014 or be deemed failing,  was replaced by the magical thinking of the Common Core, which assumed that if all schools, teachers and students were held to specific, higher standards in English and math, they would achieve them -- regardless of the learning conditions, curriculum, pedagogy or other issues that may disadvantage students, based on their background or abilities. 

We also discussed some of the many reasons the Common Core failed as a result of its original design and implementation, including quirky elements, such as the demand for non-contextual "close reading" and quota for informational text.


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NYC DOE summary of their Academic Recovery Plan

Tom Loveless’ book, Between the State and the Schoolhouse, Understanding the Failure of Common Core. [Use code BSSS21 to get 20% off when ordering from Harvard Education Press; offer expires 8/13/2021.]

His blog is at  You can also follow him at @tomloveless99


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