In April, I attended a lengthy talk on how Common Core was bad for kids. The speaker, Dr. Duke Pesta, was excellent and presented some compelling evidence as to why our kids should not be exposed to the curriculum. You can see a similar presentation if you click here. It’s two hours but it’s entertaining and interesting.

Despite Pesta’s presentation, I was not convinced that it was time to take a firm position. My issue with the anti-Common Core movement was that they had decided it was bad for kids before it had been tested. Well, now it has been tested and the results show that it failed. They were right.

The results in the N-MUSD are so bad that the bar has been lowered to this: “Newport-Mesa still fared better than the state average, with 54% meeting the target in English and 47% in math.” That’s a quote from Patrice Apodaca’s most recent DP column, which you can read here. Sorry, but I don’t think parents are going to be happy with results showing about half our kids failed. Nice try, though.

Apodaca could have done a little research and discovered a key reason why parents in Costa Mesa should be rejoicing over the results of Common Core. Finally and scientifically, it reveals the huge achievement gap between the Newport and Costa Mesa schools.

The achievement gap has been the district’s dirty little secret for years, but now it’s official. And the ironic part is that it has been made official by a system created and supported by the school district.

The Common Core test results have unequivocally shown the difference in the progress of education among the classes, not only here, but around the country. Though I’m still in the early stages of my research, the preliminary conclusion is that kids in less advantaged school districts or areas of school districts performed far worse on the Common Core tests than the socioeconomically advantaged students.

Locally, if we factor out the Newport schools, the results would be cause for alarm.

So what will happen now? The same thing has not (not) happened for years: Nothing.

And where’s the Superintendent during all this? What does he have to say? As with every other problem facing the district, he will not make any public statement. This time, however, there is nowhere to run. The Common Core debacle happened – start to finish – on his watch and he should step up and… oh, never mind.

Instead of the Super telling us what he plans to do to correct the Costa Mesa scores, we get board president Martha Fluor quoted after the scores were announced. When classrooms were flooded after the recent rain, Fluor was quoted in the Pilot as saying that the district is like a family and that like a family they help each other out.

Yes, the district is a family. And Costa Mesa is the stepchild.

Steve Smith