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A Capital Campaign: The Common Core State Standards and the Education Debt

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Abstract:

Since the early 1970’s the discourse of American education has reflected a national system of public education predicated on equality, choice, and achievement, but resulting in exacerbated inequalities, curtailed civil rights, and perceived academic failure. In 2005, scholar Gloria Ladson-Billings, argued that trying to address the widening racial “achievement gap” was akin to emphasizing a reduction in the national budget, when what is “actually happening to African American and Latina/o students is really more like the national debt. We do not have an achievement gap; we have an education debt” (Ladson-Billings, 2006). While discussions of the achievement gap are ubiquitous in educational discourse, the call for educational debt management, reduction, or even consolidation remains unanswered. If we centered the idea of education debt within an analysis of contemporary education reform efforts, what would we find? This paper explores the answer to this question by contextualizing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) within the history of American education standards, civil rights reforms, and 21st century literacy movements to expose the limitations of the CCSS to address/redress the historical, economic, sociopolitical, and moral debts making up the national education debt of which Ladson-Billings speaks.
Appealing to individuals and communities across the political, economic, and cultural spectrum, the Common Core State Standards (to date) have been adopted by 44 states, Washington DC, and three U.S. territories. The CCSS encompass a set of common expectations for what students should know and be able to do from kindergarten through 12th grade in order to be prepared for college and career success. The premise of the CCSS is that “common” expectations will produce the best and most excellent economic labor force for the global economy. My paper examines the common logics that have provided coherence and manufactured consent for this systemic public education reform espousing individual equality, choice, and high academic standards.
Drawing on the work of Harvey, Lipman, Apple, Buras, Rhodes, Graff, Brandt, Prendergast, and others, I attempt to locate the CCSS within the larger national narrative of education reform in a post-civil rights era. I argue that disenfranchisement through public schooling in the post-civil rights era is over-determined by racialized neoliberal constructions of “equality,” “choice,” and “standards” bound up in the dominant discourse of literacy myths. Far from redressing the national education debt, my research suggests that the CCSS and its emphasis on new literacies for the “knowledge economy,” serves as proof that 21st century notions of education reform are still grounded in the palimpsest of property, personhood, and privilege.
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Name: American Studies Association Annual Meeting
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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p657129_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Williams Barron, Courtney. "A Capital Campaign: The Common Core State Standards and the Education Debt" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Washington, Washington, DC, Nov 21, 2013 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p657129_index.html>

APA Citation:

Williams Barron, C. , 2013-11-21 "A Capital Campaign: The Common Core State Standards and the Education Debt" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Washington, Washington, DC <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p657129_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Since the early 1970’s the discourse of American education has reflected a national system of public education predicated on equality, choice, and achievement, but resulting in exacerbated inequalities, curtailed civil rights, and perceived academic failure. In 2005, scholar Gloria Ladson-Billings, argued that trying to address the widening racial “achievement gap” was akin to emphasizing a reduction in the national budget, when what is “actually happening to African American and Latina/o students is really more like the national debt. We do not have an achievement gap; we have an education debt” (Ladson-Billings, 2006). While discussions of the achievement gap are ubiquitous in educational discourse, the call for educational debt management, reduction, or even consolidation remains unanswered. If we centered the idea of education debt within an analysis of contemporary education reform efforts, what would we find? This paper explores the answer to this question by contextualizing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) within the history of American education standards, civil rights reforms, and 21st century literacy movements to expose the limitations of the CCSS to address/redress the historical, economic, sociopolitical, and moral debts making up the national education debt of which Ladson-Billings speaks.
Appealing to individuals and communities across the political, economic, and cultural spectrum, the Common Core State Standards (to date) have been adopted by 44 states, Washington DC, and three U.S. territories. The CCSS encompass a set of common expectations for what students should know and be able to do from kindergarten through 12th grade in order to be prepared for college and career success. The premise of the CCSS is that “common” expectations will produce the best and most excellent economic labor force for the global economy. My paper examines the common logics that have provided coherence and manufactured consent for this systemic public education reform espousing individual equality, choice, and high academic standards.
Drawing on the work of Harvey, Lipman, Apple, Buras, Rhodes, Graff, Brandt, Prendergast, and others, I attempt to locate the CCSS within the larger national narrative of education reform in a post-civil rights era. I argue that disenfranchisement through public schooling in the post-civil rights era is over-determined by racialized neoliberal constructions of “equality,” “choice,” and “standards” bound up in the dominant discourse of literacy myths. Far from redressing the national education debt, my research suggests that the CCSS and its emphasis on new literacies for the “knowledge economy,” serves as proof that 21st century notions of education reform are still grounded in the palimpsest of property, personhood, and privilege.


Similar Titles:
Teachers, Leaders, and the Common Core: Supporting Educational Equity Under the Common Core State Standards

The Implications of the Common Core State Standards for the Development of Bi- and Multilingual Education in the U.S.


 
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