To their credit, the authors of the Common Core, while they are not completely clear on their aims of education, certainly repeat the same phrases concerning their ends again and again. The principal phrase they use is "career and college readiness." On the first page of the introduction to the English Standards, they use that phrase or some variant at least six times in what cannot be more than seven hundred words. It appears throughout the rest of the document, too. Some people might say that the repetition of the phrase produces clarity. Others might say it makes the document sound like a broken record, or that the phrase is like a bad cough that won't go away. Either way, these are their end of education: career and college readiness.
The other phrase that is only slightly less important is "twenty-first century globally competitive society." Anyone who pays attention to what is said about education today has heard this phrase countless times. In fact, it seems to be the only thing that most of the politicians and bureaucrats can say when addressing education. "We have to prepare our young men and women for a twenty-first-century global economy," say all the talking heads. The twenty-first-century global economy, you see, is a very scary thing. It is much carrier than the twentieth-century global economy that we grew up in (though there is no Soviet Union and no Cold War). So we need to do whatever it takes!
Slyly but unmistakably, the phrase "twenty-first-century global society," whatever others may mean by it, is being used by the authors of the Common Core to bring about radical, progressive ends of education, ends that would not be supported by the majority of parents if they knew what was really going on in the schools. Thus the insufficient and radical ends of education pursued by the Common Core Standards will make the nation's public schools both less and more than they should be: inferior schools academically, and officious, overreaching schools politically and socially. The remedy to these shortsighted and radical ends is a traditional, classical, liberal education.
The Story-Killers by Terrence Moore