A Washington Post article, "America’s next education ‘crisis’ — and who benefits" here details how much money companies are planning to make developing materials to teach the new common core standards. Here is my comment on it:
I taught very high-achieving high school students in one of the best districts in Massachusetts, which is the state that regularly scores in the top one or two spots for the country. So I had some of the very best students in the country in my English classes and, indeed, they regularly went on to all of the top colleges.
Were these students who had spent a great deal of time studying for tests and learning skills? No way. These were kids who loved to read and who had a wide variety of independent intellectual interests. They hated the very little bit of test prep that we did with them before the state assessment tests.
We will never get a country of high-achieving kids if we reduce school to skill-training and test prep. Students acquire sophisticated skills through wide reading and through a passionate interest in various subject matters. Skill training and test prep drive out the possibility of this happening.