In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Common Core Doesn’t Add up to STEM Success,” Sandra Stotsky lays out the reasons why the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for mathematics are too weak to give us more engineers or scientists.  STEM is an acronym for the fields of study in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Ms. Stotsky writes:

“President Obama correctly noted in September 2012 that ‘leadership tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today—especially in science, technology, engineering and math.’ He has placed a priority on increasing the number of students and teachers who are proficient in these vital STEM fields.”

President Obama said the right words in 2012 but an astute parent must not take these words at face value.  One of President Obama’s signature initiatives, Common Core State Standards, does not support his stated priority. In fact, instead of increasing proficiency in math and science, the CCSS will lower the bar and result in unacceptably higher failure rates in current introductory college math courses whether students are liberal arts majors or engineers.

In an excellent Pioneer Institute White Paper entitled Lowering the Bar, How Common Core Math Fails to Prepare High School Students for STEM, James Milgram, professor of mathematics at Stanford University, and Ms. Stotsky describe the level of college readiness in Common Core’s mathematics standards and what this level means for the high school mathematics and science curriculum, post-secondary education, and mathematics-dependent professional programs.  Professor Milgram and Ms. Stotsky have the credentials to speak expertly on the pros and cons of Common Core given that they served on the Common Core’s Validation Committee (VC) during 2009 and 2010.

The purpose of the VC, indirectly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was to assure the public that Common Core standards reflect the definition in the standards:

“These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate from high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit- bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs.”

In a blatantly honest statement, Professor Milgram and Ms. Stotsky contend:

“State and national policy makers, educators, and the general public have been misinformed and are thoroughly confused because, after 30 or more years of substandard mathematics instruction in the public schools, most of them no longer understand enough mathematics themselves to figure out what academic level Common Core’s high school mathematics standards designate and how they may affect other levels of education and this country’s economy. They do not seem to understand that Common Core’s standards do not prepare high school students for STEM areas in college.”

In a videotaped board meeting, the leading CCSS mathematics standards writer, Jason Zimba, stated that the basic mission of Common Core is to provide students with “enough mathematics to make them ready for a non-selective college – not for STEM.” Unfortunately Mr. Zimba did not explain why Common Core aimed so low in mathematics.

Because of the certainty that CCSS will lower our standards for education in America, vigilant parents and teachers are up in arms and several states have opted out of or postponed Common Core implementation. The latest was the state of Massachusetts: More Cracks in the Core: Massachusetts Halts Common Core Implementation.

Parent, Grandparent, and Teacher education, vigilance and spreading the word is what will rid us of Common Core! Time is of the essence!

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.