Photo credit: Alberto G. via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Education Expert Exposes Flawed Common Core ELA Standards


Photo credit: Alberto G. via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Photo credit: Alberto G. via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Over at the, former Massachusetts Department of Education official and professor of education emerita Sandra Stotsky recently ripped into the Common Core ELA standards, asking whether it was written “by charlatans.” Her answer: “It seems so.”

Having served on the Common Core Validation Committee which reviewed the standards — she refused to sign off on them — Stotsky is intimately familiar with Common Core’s many issues. She gives a brief but devastating rundown here:

The “lead” writers for the grade-level English language arts (ELA) standards, David Coleman and Susan Pimentel, had never taught reading or English in K-12 or at the college level. Neither has a doctorate in language or literature. Neither had ever published serious work on K-12 curriculum and instruction. Neither had produced literary scholarship or research in education. In 2010, they were virtually unknown to the entire field of English and reading educators and higher education faculty in rhetoric, speech, composition, and literary study. The absence of relevant professional and academic credentials in the “chief architects” of Common Core’s ELA standards helps to explain their major flaws . . .

Thomas B. Fordham Institute reviewers in their own 2010 review of state standards noted how poorly conceived Common Core’s ELA standards are. They pointed out their deficiencies, noting that there is an “overwhelming focus on skills over content in reading combined with confusion about the writing standards.” Yet, Fordham still gave these standards a B+.

Why did reporters, state boards of education, and state departments of education not notice the many deficiencies in Common Core’s ELA standards? Is it because they don’t know how to analyze a set of standards in ELA by themselves and instead rely on analysis by an organization that received millions from the Gates Foundation in recent years to promote Common Core?

No professional academic organization (such as the Mathematical Association of America or the Modern Language Association) has to date evaluated Common Core’s standards. We do not know why. If they had, they surely would have told us that Common Core’s ELA standards are not rigorous and do not prepare students for college-level work. They would also no doubt have noticed that Common Core’s ELA and mathematics standards are not internationally benchmarked and will not make our students competitive.


You can read Stotsky’s full takedown of Common Core here.

Paul Dupont is the managing editor for

Paul Dupont

Paul Dupont is editor of

Stay Connected With Us.

Big Tech keeps banning or shadow-banning us, so we have to keep innovating.

Drop me your e-mail, so they can't keep hiding our work from you.

Raheem Kassam

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

The National Pulse. will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.