Common Core Redux: Cartoons, Images, and Satire

For the monthly cartoon feature, I return to the Common Core State Standards. The first one I did just over a year ago was popular with readers–over 10,000 views. For this month, I gathered a medley of pro and con images, cartoons, and descriptions of the Common Core State Standards.

The first one is a three minute video explaining the reasons for the CCSS and what they are expected to do. The Council of Great City Schools, an endorser of the Standards, produced the video. While critics will rail at the assumptions and values embedded in the video, it is clear, crisp, and to the point.

What follows are additional images and cartoons, again, mostly done to criticize CCSS. The final offering I have is a satire of the critics.




Common Core and thinking

common core & tchrs

no standards before Core

against standards



And here is the satirical blast against critics of CCSS, particularly from those on the political right who envision a cabal pushing the Common Core, a reform that will destroy U.S. public education. It comes from Ben Riley of the New Schools Venture Fund. He is, as his bio reads, “the Director of Policy and Advocacy at NewSchools Venture Fund, and is responsible for leading NewSchools’ work in developing and advocating for a policy agenda that creates opportunities for education entrepreneurs.” He posted this blog on April 19, 2013.

Common Core-spiracy

TO:           All members of the Illuminati Common Core-spiracy
FROM:   Benjamin Riley, NewSchools Venture Front
CC:           Governors of 45 US states; NEA & AFT leadership; Scholastic, Pearson and McGraw Hill; US Chamber of Commerce; Gates Foundation; Aspen Institute; ExxonMobil; Trilateral Commission; Council on Foreign Relations; All European Heads of State;  Professor Bill Ayers; the Rothschilds; the Rockefellers; Parallax Corporation; Fair Play for Cuba Committee; [REDACTED BY CHENEY]; Dennis Rodman

RE:           Discovery of our plot to destroy the American way of life through the raising of academic standards
Gentlemen (and Condi), I write with great urgency. Despite our best efforts to conceal our true aims behind the development and adoption of the Common Core State Standards, our plot is on the verge of unraveling.  (Reminder: our plan is to “dumb down schoolchildren so they will be obedient servants of the government and probably to indoctrinate them to accept the leftwing view of America and its history,” even though most of us are wealthy capitalists.) We did not anticipate that a small, select band of truth seeking American patriots would see through our ruse and reveal our true intentions.

As you know, we intend to shred this country’s fabric of freedom through a complex, multi-pronged assault on everything this nation holds sacred – starting with cursive handwriting. We intentionally removed cursive from the Common Core because we broadly agreed that the ability to write in round letters that flow together is a key skill for all freethinking persons to possess in 2013. The Declaration of Independence, after all, was written in cursive – coincidence?  Unfortunately for us, however, state legislators in North Carolina have already passed legislation to again mandate that cursive writing be taught in school, and other states seem poised to follow North Carolina’s lead. So much for our hope that principles of “small government conservatism” would mitigate against this meddling into what schools teach.

But other problems loom larger for us than our war on penmanship. Although the Common Core was created by state-based groups, and adopted by 45 state legislatures with broad bipartisan support, we all know that eventually we were going to build one giant federal database, housed within the National Security Agency (or News Corp), to track the thoughts of every student in the country. What we did not anticipate is Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas – usually our reliable puppet – would discover our plan and rally forces against our “Big Brother privacy invasion.” Although there is little we can do to stop her directly, I’ve instructed the Gifts Department to cancel the Daytona 500 tickets we promised Clarence for the Citizens United decision.

We also, as you know, plan to brainwash the American citizenry into believing fringe scientific theories outside the mainstream of scientific thought. I refer of course to “evolution” and “climate change.” According to an education “expert” at Cato Institute (another usually reliable puppet), “there’s nothing wrong with talking about climate change in science classrooms, but this opens up the huge possibility that interpretations of climate change or analysis that a lot of people disagree with will still be taught.” Of course, some people might equate teaching “interpretations” and “analysis” of “what’s happening to the planet” as what we commonly refer to as “science,” but apparently the road to serfdom is paved with Darwin’s monkey theories.

Likewise, we are in real trouble with our plan to create a single, national curriculum that will turn America’s freedom-loving children into France-admiring cheese-eating surrender monkeys. To be sure, on their face the Common Core State Standards are academic standards that define what students are expected to know and learn, and do not mandate any particular material (or “curriculum”) that educators must use. Nonetheless, for reasons that remain opaque we have made it a priority to teach “seventh-graders about J. Edgar Hoover’s sexuality.” (Similarly, David H. and Charles G. feel VERY strongly that Atlas Shrugged should be required reading in the third grade – let’s take this up at our next meeting in Davos.)

You will also recall our hope that, once the Common Core was firmly entrenched in the American education system and our youth fully indoctrinated, we would provide “unfettered access of our educational system by the United Nations.” Unfortunately, a rogue outfit in Arizona has gotten wind of our plan and published our org chart for all to see. As I’ve asked you before, PLEASE stop circulating our internal documents to Fox News – Sean H. has an unfortunate tendency to leave documents lying around in the men’s room.

But our most daunting challenge stems from an adversary as intelligent as he is fearless. I refer of course to Glenn Beck. Using the keen insight for which he is well admired, Beck rightly perceives that the Common Core effort is not about our education system per se. Rather, Beck understands the Common Core is merely prelude to our much bigger ambition to eliminate all parental rights. Beck knows that soon, using “Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging [and a] pressure-sensitive computer mouse,” we will be able to directly manipulate the minds of American citizens. This plan will only work, however, if we’ve successfully eliminated any rights parents have to make any decisions for their children, including (importantly) whether they wear tinfoil hats.

Gentlemen, we must act quickly. I hereby propose an emergency action plan to revive the Common Core before these truth-tellers capture the hearts and minds of the worker-bee drones we are so intent on manufacturing:

  1. Massive advertising buy in support of Common Core in all major golf tournaments
  2. Federal legislation to require purchase of all Common Core curriculum materials in bitcoins
  3. Kidnap Senator Rand Paul, demand his fealty to Common Core through appeal to the Aqua Buddha
  4. Develop series of colorful children’s books in support of the Common Core loosely tied to known defenders of freedom, including Adam Smith (“The Invisible Hand…of Your Education!”), Ayn Rand (“Goin’ Galt with the Common Core”), and Charles Murray (“Bending the Bell Curve”)
  5. Triple production of black helicopters.

Please deposit 5% of your net wealth forthwith into our Cayman Islands account so that we may maintain our control over the American education system, Wall Street, Hollywood, the International Baccalaureate program, and other global systems of power.

 Novus ordo seclorum.



Filed under Reforming schools, school reform policies

8 responses to “Common Core Redux: Cartoons, Images, and Satire

  1. Pingback: Common Core Redux: Cartoons, Images, and Satire...

  2. Thank you for including my cartoon in your roundup. I drew No Standards Before Common Core as an illustration for education sociologist Mark Garrison’s series of critiques of CCS and the ways it its promoted and discussed:

    You can find more of my cartoons on the Common Core at my website As a librarian at a community college in Oregon, I am starting to see the rollout in my own state. There are a lot of questions educators have about both the standards and the support we can expect to receive from the state to implement the necessary programs. One thing that concerns me is how long this trend will last before it is abandoned for a “better” one. Buy-in at the public level is low, as parents of students and other affected communities have really no awareness or understanding of CCS, probably because most school reform discussions in the media concern privatizing public schools, closing them down and firing teachers, while busting their unions. Yet the public at large is rarely invited to discuss CCS; mostly it’s a top-down education reform effort that goes on quietly at the administrative level. So, really, no wonder there are conspiracy theories.

    • larrycuban

      Thanks, Kevin, for your comment about Common Core State Standards and what see in Oregon. I enjoyed your cartoonand thanksfor supplying the link to other cartoons you drew.

  3. Dit is op From experience to meaning… herblogden reageerde:
    It’s a bit too early for Funny on Sunday, but these cartoons pro and con common cores that were collected by Larry Cuban are sometimes less funny when you start to think about it.

  4. Pingback: What’s the Deal With Common Core? | jgoldstaygold

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