We reported a while back on the growing “achievement gap” between black and white students in Kentucky, which was the first state to hop on board the Common Core Express and therefore the bellwether for the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of the national standards. Now even the Hechinger Report, a propaganda outlet known best for its pro-Common Core exposés and its funding by foundations that embrace Common Core and all things progressive, has noticed the problem in Kentucky. Not surprisingly, Hechinger draws different conclusions — or at least avoids asking the obvious questions.
The results of the 2014-2015 Kentucky testing, Hechinger reports, showed that in the elementary grades, black students lagged behind whites by 25 percentage points in reading proficiency and by 21 percentage points in math. And as Hechinger noted, those gaps have widened since the implementation of Common Core five years ago. Something’s wrong.
But don’t expect Hechinger to challenge the sacred cows of progressive education. It repeats without question the debunked Common Core talking points that the standards have “ramped up academic expectations,” that they are “tougher,” that they require a “deeper level of inquiry.” It quotes approvingly the Kentucky educators who say minority students are especially challenged by these supposedly tougher standards because they more likely come from less privileged backgrounds and so start the academic race behind their white peers. These are the reasons, say the educrats quoted by Hechinger, that black students aren’t keeping up.
So what does the Kentucky education establishment plan to do about it? According to Hechinger, exactly what one would expect them to do when their treasured experiment isn’t working — double down. They will give minority students “extra attention.” They’ll implement programs to “help teachers become more sensitive and culturally attuned to the level of diversity in their classrooms.” With the assistance of private funding, they’ll invest in “kindergarten preparedness.” They’ll pull black kids out of the regular class for more drilling with Common Core methodology.
Regarding this latter point, Hechinger focuses on problems that black students may have with Common Core math. And some of the statements it either makes or repeats about the now-notorious math standards are almost laughable.
Jane Robbins is an attorney and a senior fellow with the American Principles Project. Emmett McGroarty is the American Principles Project’s Director of Education.