Cartoons on Common Core Standards

For this monthly* post of cartoons, I have selected images about the impending Common Core curriculum standards in math and English for K-12 students. While many countries have a national curriculum, the U.S. does not. Since the Common Core standards have been adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia, the U.S. will soon have a national–not federally mandated–one.

According to a recent analysis of the Common Core standards there are two justifications for states adopting the standards (Brookings Study of Common Core):

1. Because current state standards vary greatly across the country resulting in unequal access to knowledge and skills, Common Core standards will be higher, uniform, and equitable for all students. When tests of those common standards are implemented in 2014-2015,  the quality of teaching and learning will improve. Students will then score far better on international achievement tests and the U.S. economy will grow.

2. By standardizing curriculum and assessments across states, multiple textbooks and instructional materials in math and English (and other academic subjects) will be reduced. These texts will aligned to national standards and tests. Major efficiencies will then occur.

There is, of course, another reason for adopting Common Core standards: schools are instrumental to economic growth and better schools will translate into success in besting global competitors in the  unending race for new markets.

There is much that remains unknown, however, about how these standards are to be implemented and much anxiety over new tests to measure how well students have met those standards.


Teachers were interviewed a few months ago and this is what they reported to the poll-takers:

Let the cartoons roll….

That’s all folks!


*Two of the above cartoons (American Gothic and the bucket list) originated at Susan Ohanian’s blog at:

I have done one post a month of cartoons on different topics linked to school reform and classroom practice since September 2011. Readers who wish to see previous monthly posts of cartoons, they are: “Digital Kids in School,” “Testing,” “Blaming Is So American,”  “Accountability in Action,” “Charter Schools,” and “Age-graded Schools,” Students and Teachers, Parent-Teacher Conferences, Digital Teachers, Addiction to Electronic DevicesTesting, Testing, and Testing,  and Business and Schools.


Filed under school reform policies

30 responses to “Cartoons on Common Core Standards

  1. Pingback: Cartoons on Common Core Standards | Common Core Online |

  2. Pingback: Cartoons on Common Core Standards | Larry Cuban on School ... | Education Standards |

  3. I strongly suspect that many curriculum changes are to education as a coat of varnish is to an old chair; it makes the chair look nice and shiny, but it’s still a chair, and it’s still old. How many educators will be adding varnish to their old ways of teaching, but not teaching in the new ways that are required by the common core? Obviously good practice should not be abandoned, but there many practices which are not good, and which need more than some external dressing.

  4. J. Ide

    How about a common commitment to the concept- Teachers are responsible – If the student is not learning from the way you are teaching, change the way you are teaching so the student can learn.

  5. Shemsclc

    Humor needed in tImes of great change, thank you. Funny, I had a 59 year old teacher tell me this week she was a darn good teacher and didn’t need to utilize all this new stuff. Leave her alone and let her do her job. She didn’t need to be chasing QR codes around the school building to teach Math. Hmmmm… Maybe a cartoon on balance?

  6. Glad you enjoyed the Grant Wood parody and the elephant bucket list, which originated at People can subscribe to my list and get lots more anti-Common Core information and polemic.

    • larrycuban

      Thanks, Susan, for pointing out where two of the Common Core standards cartoons originated. I corrected the post to show that you had worked with the cartoonist for those two. I have given you credit for others that I had used in earlier collections.

  7. Laney

    As I teacher educator, I advocate moving cautiously ahead. It amazes me that the field continues to jump at the “next maybe-not-so-best thing” as the cure for all of our educational ills.
    I also enjoyed the cartoons and will share with my colleagues.

    • larrycuban

      Thanks for the comment and sharing the post with colleagues.

      • Ted Lobman

        Larry, it’s time for you to write another “deja vu all over again” article or send it around if you have and I missed it. The culture war and exhausted reformers make things different, no? Ted

      • larrycuban

        Nice to hear from you, Ted. I have written posts on the blog that hit that melody but no book….yet. Exhausted reformers seem to be replaced by another generation whose energy is inexhaustible.

  8. Pingback: Cartoons on Common Core Standards | Trends and Issues in Special Education and Leadership |

  9. Pingback: Cartoons on Common Core Standards | Common Core Standards in ELA |

  10. Pingback: Common Core cartoons — Joanne Jacobs

  11. Yeahhhh….. I’m sharing these. The one with the kid’s pole being cut with the standards being rased seems totally appropraite.

  12. Pingback: Common Sense for the #CommonCore: Weekly Roundup (weekly) | Engaging Educators

  13. Shelley

    The cartoons say it all. Fear, uncertainty and a rush to implement the standards with little or no training. We can learn from the past by taking a renewed look at the Eight Year Study, the largest research study in curriculum.

  14. Pingback: Cartoons on Common Core Standards | ELA Pedagogy in Motion:Common Core:Education:Leadership |

  15. Pingback: Developing Core Standards – Dan the Turf Man

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