Monday, May 20, 2013

Wayne Au: Coring Social Studies within Corporate Education Reform

First published on @TCFKSM on May 20, 2013

"Teachers could stop #CommonCore tomorrow—if they joined hands and said 'Hell, No!' The alternative is loss of profession—and soul." — Susan Ohanian

A local university professor I'm friends with through The Association of Raza Educators (ARE) wrote me yesterday with the following message:

Hi Robert,

I hope you are well... You might be familiar with the work of Wayne Au.  He has developed solid critical work around curriculum theory and practice...  Attached is his latest article, a critique of CCSS..

Interestingly and predictably, Bill Gates is setting up "training" with teacher educators across the CSUs; I just got invited to attend and "learn" about "teacher effectiveness measures" and how they inform CCSS!

Wayne Au, Ph.D.The last paragraph is terribly frightening. The paper he attached by Professor Wayne Au is outstanding. For those who don't know, Au is an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington Bothell. His widely cited Unequal By Design: High-Stakes Testing and the Standardization of Inequality is an excellent source for connecting the standardized testing with the eugenicist project. Au's newer book Critical Curriculum Studies: Education, Consciousness, and the Politics of Knowing also comes highly recommended.

Au's latest paper Coring Social Studies within Corporate Education Reform: The Common Core State Standards, Social Justice, and the Politics of Knowledge in U.S. Schools is certainly worth reading and sharing. I'm reproducing the abstract here to whet intellectual appetites.


The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been adopted in 45 U.S. states. Driven by a wide coalition that includes both major U.S. political parties, the business elite, for-profit education corporations, cultural conservatives, and both major U.S. teachers’ unions, the CCSS have mainly garnered glowing praise in mainstream U.S. media and widespread acceptance amongst political figures and public school districts nationwide. This paper undertakes a critical analysis of the origins and political tensions found within the CCSS, arguing that the CCSS will inevitably lead to restrictive high-stakes, standardized testing similar to that associated with No Child Left Behind. Further this paper specifically examines the treatment of the social studies within the context of CCSS and questions the likely outcomes of the recently drafted College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards within the current political and cultural context of the United States.


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