Common Core Architect in Concord

Dr. Marc Tucker, one of the chief  “architects” of Common Core State Standards, gave a special presentation to New Hampshire legislators on Tuesday, November 10, 2015. He was invited by leading members of the House Education Committee: Rep. Rick Ladd (Chairman), Rep. Mary Gile (former Chairman and ranking Democrat), and Rep. Terry Wolf (recently named as the assistant majority whip).

Dr. Tucker is the CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), and is widely considered the leading figure behind the development and implementation of Common Core (aka College and Career Readiness Standards). Dr. Tucker’s research, conclusions, and recommendations have significant influence on leaders in the New Hampshire legislature and federal government, so it is revealing to hear from directly from him.

We video recorded his presentation and below are captions we marked throughout his speech.

Following Dr. Tucker’s remarks, there was a panel discussion and closing comments that will be posted to our YouTube channel and blog.

At the conclusion of the event, we asked Rep. Mary Gile for a copy of the PowerPoint presentation and the research that will be published in December. Rep. Gile said that neither was currently available and she was not sure if they would be made available to the public.

The overall impression of Dr. Tucker’s presentation is that he has a vision for public education in the US. Fundamentally he believes that the government must have more authority to create and implement a comprehensive and uniform system — from teacher colleges and training, to vocational education, to preschool and pre-Kindergarten, all the way up to post-secondary education. In the panel and closing comments, Dr. Tucker said that he thinks schools should be integrated centers for social services. He also stated that the government needs to have women enter the workforce in greater numbers and the federal government should provide more basic services for the people, as they do in the “successful” countries. That obviously depends on how success is defined and what is believed to be the role of government.

Dr. Tucker’s research shows numerous problems with the current state of the US public education system, but his recommendations are all top-down solutions that grow the role of the federal and state governments. This is central planning for our entire education system. This world-view permeates Dr. Tucker’s mission, goals, and means of transforming the United States’ education and economy.

Note that according to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Center on Education and the Economy, Dr. Tucker’s organization, has received $5,740,000 in grants to date for its work on College and Career Readiness Standards. See this list for NCEE’s donors.

House Education Forum, Education Through an International Lens November 10, 2015
House Education Forum,
Education Through an International Lens
November 10, 2015

House Education Forum
Education Through an International Lens
Tuesday, November 10, 2016
(The video is unaltered; only captions were added. The audio quality is poor as Dr. Tucker did not use the microphone. Please adjust the volume to the maximum setting.)

0:00:00                  title of the presentation

0:00:09                  Introduction by Rep. Mary Gile, member of the House Education Committee, former Chairman of the committee, and ranking Democrat on the committee.

0:00:58                  Marc Tucker is the CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy, and considered the “architect” of Common Core State Standards.

0:04:10                  From the very beginning of Tucker’s project, the focus has been on preparing students for community colleges.

0:04:58                  Tucker did his research on only seven states selected at random and only one community college within each state. This is an inadequate sample size for empirical research. Additionally, the outcome will set the bar very low.

0:09:41                  Every example Tucker cites describes community colleges as providing remedial classes to make up what should have been taught in middle school.

0:11:56                  Tucker goes through a detailed historical overview of the US education system, educational attainment, and the economy. He heavily draws upon Goldin and Katz’s “Race Between Education and Technology. ” Read this brief article in “Economist’s View, August 2008” for a summary.

0:23:26                  Tucker went on for several minutes to describe the increased global competition impacting the labor market. He said that the need for low-skilled labor is diminishing. However, that is the aim of Common Core State Standards. It does not set a high bar.

0:25:01                  Tucker falsely claims that educational options do not improve student outcomes. This ignores numerous studies that prove it works for students, schools, and communities. Tucker provides only vague references, without any evidence to support his remarks.

0:29:29                  Tucker analyzes the US scores on PISA, one major international assessment, as though it is a significant indicator of educational and economic success. He ignores that some states, such as NH, were performing much better and were among the very best in the country if not the world. This over-emphasis on PISA scores encourages more testing and chasing test scores. As Diane Ravitch said, “international test scores are poor economic barometers.”

0:32:35                  Listen to how Tucker describes his process for gathering international information. Common Core does not align with the standards or the “perform procedures” of high-scoring countries. The claim that Common Core is internationally benchmarked is bogus.

0:40:23                  Tucker speaks highly of a career and technical training system that had an “even distribution” of income because it had well-trained workers doing jobs that did not require a bachelor’s degree.

0:41:38                  Tucker just finished describing a comprehensive education system that is meant to be implemented across the county. There is no differentiation. There is no local control. It is all top-down from the national level. This is why Common Core (aka College and Career Readiness Standards) has such a heavy emphasis on testing. Students, teachers, and schools are evaluated on the performance on these assessments.

0:42:55                  Even if Tucker’s College and Career Readiness Standards are brilliant, why are they mandatory (via statewide testing) on a national scale before having any proof of success in US schools?

0:43:18                  Tucker now discusses Competency-Based Education (CBE). This is the latest education reform effort being implemented. It emphasizes outcomes. While CBE superficially has individualized learning, its goal is to have all students reach the same level and has instruction aimed at a low bar so all succeed.

0:43:56                  College and Career Readiness Standards and Competency-Based Education are not about equal opportunity. They are about equal expectations and outcomes. All students are expected to achieve the same results. They are devastating to our special education students as well as our gifted and talented youth.

0:44:58                  Tucker wants to reform the entire teacher education and training system; a total overhaul of the profession.

0:49:20                  Tucker compares Finland to North Carolina in his study. (This is such an odd comparison.) The problem is that Finnish education has been criticized for chasing PISA test results leaving many learners behind. They also have a homogonous education that ignores individual educational needs and goals. Why should the US model other countries that are so dissimilar to us? Why not model top-performing states? Massachusetts, a long-time leader in American education, recently announced it will abandon their Common Core aligned test.

0:50:36                  Tucker summarizes his plans for reforming teacher education, training, and the professional model.

0:56:27                  Now Tucker shifts to talking about New Hampshire specifically.

1:00:38                  Tucker now talks about Competency-Based Education in New Hampshire.

1:01:49                  Tucker congratulates NH on creating a Competency-Based Education curriculum framework. He says it should be voluntary. However, our state DOE fully intends to make PACE, the integrated assessment system, a statewide requirement.

1:02:53                  Tucker urges NH to shift education funding from local property taxes to state funding. This further removes local decision making and control. Other states that have done this have seen a major increase in taxes and drop in educational performance. Tucker hints that NH should shift to an income tax to fund these education reforms.

1:03:39                  Tucker proposes NH add preschool and pre-Kindergarten to the education system. This ignores the four decade and $200 billion failed experiment called Head Start.

1:04:11                  Tucker provides more suggestions on how NH could improve the current vocational and technical education programs. The Common Career Technical Core was first introduced in 2012.

1:06:10                  Tucker suggests that the NH Department of Education be expanded and receive more state funding to take on even more functions for state governance of education.

1:07:27                  Tucker is working with the state of Kentucky to design an integrated system of education, job training, and workforce development. He invites New Hampshire to do the same. This is his consulting sales pitch.