Educational Insanity

Insanity has been defined as “continuing to function in the status quo while expecting a different result” – an apropos explanation of statist education’s current attempt to reform the American educational system.  Common Core cannot and will not revive our nation’s failing educational system.

This photo (click photo for link), “Department of Education Seal” is copyright (c) 2011 DonkeyHotey and made available under a Attribution 2.0 license (

© 2011 DonkeyHotey.  Creative Commons.  Click here for full citation (#4).

History tells us that Common Core is the latest in a string of proposed “fixes” perpetrated on the American public about every decade.

Excellence Movement

In 1983 A Nation at Risk sparked the first of three major reform movements by the federal government.  The Excellence Movement was launched in response to A Nation at Risk, only to be declared a failure in 1992 when Edward Fiske, education editor for the New York Times announced that after study of the movement looking for accomplishments, “there weren’t any.”

Restructuring Movement

Eight goals were set forth in Goals 2000; more than $100 million later even casual observers recognized that the reform had failed.  One study began its review of the movement by stating that America’s “education system remains is a state of crisis.”

Accountability Movement

The turn into the 21st century brought yet another attempt to reform the system when President Bush signed into law No Child Left Behind.  Yet again the reform initiative failed.  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan concluded that after nearly a decade of trying, that unless significant changes were made in the system that more than 4 out of 5 of America’s schools would be declared “failing.”

What could America do?  Of course, implement yet another reform.  This time it would be called . . .

Common Core (CCSC)

Once again, despite numerous denials and attempts to deflect the development of the reform, another reform movement is being shoved at the American people.  This program of common standards is supposed to do what its predecessors have failed to do–reform the system.

But hold on just a minute!

Common Core is, indeed, educational insanity.  Once again the attempt at reform, despite unprecedented sums of money being expended and despite the federal government’s attempts to coerce and extort state’s into implementing CCSC, it will fail.

Perhaps we should just avoid the rush and rename CSCC the Insanity Movement.  Why, you ask?

Because this reform operates just like previous reforms–from the “top down.”  After all, insanity is continuing  to do the same things and expecting different results.

Recent history of the American educational system has shown that about every decade another failed attempt has run its course and failed.  CCSC offers another decade of similar input.  Similar output–failed reform will result.

Not until the federal government awakens to what some educators have already learned the hard way-effective reform must begin at the brick-and-mortar level–will true change come to our nation’s educational system.  Effective change will come only when local educators partner with parents and provide educational opportunities to meet the need of all students in a community.

So, what “brick-and-mortar” changes are presently happening in your school?  What are your thoughts about the Common Core and its implementation?  

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Edward is the founder and managing editor of Focus on Christian Education. He also serves as the Executive Director of the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools.