A fascinating article in Education Week describes a verbal tiff between the Council of Chief State School Officers and the leaders of the two major teachers’ unions.
The Chiefs, as they are known, are the state superintendents. CCSSO received at least $32 million from the Gates Foundation to “write” and advocate for the Common Core, and no matter how much parents and teachers complain and demand revisions, the Chiefs “won’t back down.” They made their certainty and intransigence clear to the union leaders.
The AFT and the NEA also were paid millions by Gates to promote the Common Core, but the unions have members and both Randi and Dennis have vocally criticized the implementation of the Common Core. In some states, the rollout has been nothing short of disastrous.
Randi Weingarten was unusually outspoken in criticizing the rush to impose the Common Core, and she warned the Chiefs that the standards were in serious jeopardy. The article makes clear that while Randi is listening to teachers, the Chiefs are not. Their attitude on full display was “full steam ahead, the critics are wrong, there is nothing but anecdote on their side.” You would think they might have reflected just a bit on the terrible results of Common Core testing in New York, where only 3% of English language learners passed the tests, only 5% of children with disabilities, only 16-17% of African American and Hispanic students, and only 31% of all students.
The advocates of Common Core claim that the new standards teach critical thinking and reflection, but there was no evidence of either critical thinking or reflection from the CCSSO or the other organizations paid to promote the standards.
Andrew Ujifusa writes:
“Anxiety over the Common Core State Standards was on full display Tuesday during the Council of Chief State School Officers’ annual legislative conference. Leaders of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, the nation’s two largest teacher unions, squabbled with state K-12 chiefs over how teachers and the general public perceive the standards, and how well they are being implemented in classrooms.”
Weingarten told those present that they do not understand how angry many parents and educators are. During the discussion, Weingarten “said that in cases like New York state, the poor rollout of the common core had led to “immobilization” among teachers and a distrust that those in positions of authority knew how to do the job right.
“Weingarten added that she expects that many of her members would call for outright opposition to the standards during the AFT’s summer convention, even though both the AFT and NEA support the standards and Weingarten said she wouldn’t back away from the common core.
“On the subject of transitioning to the common core, Weingarten told the chiefs, “The field doesn’t trust the people in this room to have their backs.”
“During the same discussion, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, while he said the union remained squarely behind the standards themselves, also expressed concern that teachers were not getting enough time to learn the standards themselves, to find common-core aligned curricular materials, and to talk to parents as well as each other.
“Those remarks triggered an irritated response from Massachusetts K-12 chief Mitchell D. Chester, who said that the two national unions seemed to be “condoning” strident and vocal common-core foes “at the peril of those [teachers] who are moving things ahead,” an accusation Weingarten denied……
“Weingarten responded that attacking her for being the messenger of concerns about the standards missed the point, telling the state chiefs, “People think we are doing terrible things to them, parents and teachers alike.”
Kati Haycock of Education Trust defended the Common Core. The Gates Foundation paid Education Trust $2,039,526 to advocate for the Common Core.
Michael Cohen of Achieve, which helped to write the standards, strongly defended them.
Gates has paid many millions to Achieve to write and promote the Common Core:
“Gates money also flowed to Achieve, Inc.; prior to June 2009, Achieve received $23.5 million in Gates funding. Another $13.2 million followed after CCSS creation, with $9.3 million devoted to “building strategic alliances” for CCSS promotion:
Purpose: to strengthen and expand the ADP Network, provide
more support to states for CCSS implementation, and build strategic national
and statewide alliances by engaging directly with key stakeholders