Here’s What Common Core Does to Our Schools

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Conservatives used to like the new Common Core education standards. Then Obama got elected and they changed their minds. It’s lately become something like Agenda 21 or Benghazi: an offense against liberty and decency that’s a reliable crowd pleaser for Republicans even if the crowd doesn’t really know what Common Core is. But it doesn’t matter. It’s somehow part of a shadowy Obama takeover of our schools, and that’s enough.

But if you want to know what Common Core really does to our schools, California is here to help you understand:

Echoing a nationwide downward trend, most California students are falling short of state learning targets and are not on track to succeed in college, according to the results of new, more rigorous standardized tests released Wednesday.

….Questions based on the new “Common Core” standards, which have been adopted in 42 states, are more difficult than those on California’s previous test….Students are given questions that require deeper thinking about a theme in literature, for example, or about the concepts of algebra or geometry. They get more or less difficult based on which ones a student answers correctly, and in theory no two students will be presented with exactly the same test.

One of the favorite tricks of state education departments is to subtly manipulate their tests so that their schools look better than they are. It’s an especially popular ruse in red states, and one that Common Core makes harder to pull off. Does this have anything to do with the oddly convenient conservative backlash against Common Core? Maybe, but that would be an awfully cynical suggestion, wouldn’t it? For now, it’s probably best to stick with reliable old Obama Derangement Syndrome instead. It’s usually sufficient.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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