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By Alison Stone

Headaches, nausea, asthma, crying,
sleep disturbances, reluctance
to go to school—in forty-five states,
the children ready their pencils.
Let’s Solve This, the Exxon announcer
purrs, while bright, hopeful cities
configure themselves in the background.
Using your knowledge
of oil companies, what can you infer
about the speaker’s motives? How is Common Core
like drilling in the sea?


There were three pages of instructions, which teachers
were required to read verbatim, including

Are there any questions
on how to darken the circles?

One of my third graders started hyperventilating,
coughing, and turned red. The TA walked him out. He stayed
with the nurse for 15 minutes before returning to finish the test.

Most of the class ran out of time. Many never got to the essay. The teacher had to pry the test from one kid’s hand. He kept writing and crying until the teacher took the paper away.

The multiple choice questions frequently had two possible answers. Teachers agreed that in many cases both were equally valid.

The 6th and 8th grade tests are taken from text books sold by Pearson. What level of advantage does this give districts who choose/can afford to purchase these books?


The same questions occur in tests for grades 3,4, and 5.
This is not an error.
Vertical linking will help prepare for questions on next year’s tests.


Which paragraph best illustrates the theme in paragraph 2? Paragraph 4, paragraph 9, paragraph 3, or paragraph 11?

Two middle school boys wet their pants.
This is not an error.
Students need to be college-ready and able to compete in a global economy.
One child vomited on the test,
which was wiped off and collected for security reasons.

Studies show toxic stress interferes with brain functioning and can result in the formation of a smaller brain.


One ELA passage, which occurred in tests around the country, tells the story of the Pineapple and the Hare. The pineapple challenges the hare to a race; the winner will receive a ninja and a year’s supply of toothpaste. All the animals predict victory for the hare until the crow asserts that the pineapple, knowing he cannot move, must have a trick up his sleeve. The other animals vow to foil his plan. The race begins—the hare takes off, and the pineapple remains stationary. A few hours later the hare crosses the finish line. The animals eat the pineapple.
Underneath the story, in bold letters: Moral: Pineapples Don’t Have Sleeves

Why did the animals eat the pineapple—
a)They were annoyed
b)They were amused
c)They were hungry
d)They wanted to

This is not an error.
The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world.


If 100% of Commissioner King’s children attend a private Montessori school that rejects standardized testing and the Common Core, write a sample budget reallocating the 350 million dollars spent on developing new tests toward programs such as art, music, language immersion, and resources such as air conditioning, clean drinking water, and healthy low-cost lunch. Show your work.

From June, 2013

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