Archives for category: Common Core

Veteran teacher Eileen Riley Hall has some advice for David Coleman, architect of the Common Core standards.

Coleman famously said, in taped remarks at the New York State Education Department, that

 

As you grow up in this world, you realize people really don’t give a (expletive) about what you feel or what you think.”

 

That remark, she says, typifies “all that is wrong with the soulless Common Core standards and its rigid, test-obsessed approach to education.”

 

They focus “myopically on intellectual skills theoretical children should have when they graduate from high school and then builds backward. However, a good teacher, like a good parent, begins by considering the needs of the real children in her classroom and builds forward. Children are not just walking brains, but bodies, hearts and souls as well. Contrary to Mr. Coleman’s crass assertion, our children’s thoughts and feelings should be the heart of our schools.

 

She offers him a few lessons, based on her many years in the classroom:

 

You don’t make kids smarter just by making school harder. If you’ve seen the convoluted Common Core elementary math lessons, you know this. Dictating one method of teaching doesn’t make sense, especially when that method complicates simple lessons, frustrating the majority of students. Schools should offer students a variety of ways to approach subjects, increasing opportunities for success.

However, the suffocating standardized tests demand one rigid methodology that does not allow teachers to tailor lessons to their students. Too often, students feel like failures when they are simply not developmentally ready for material or need a different strategy. Success is motivating; repeated failure is not. Build on children’s strengths; don’t hammer them with their weaknesses.”

 

A happy school is a productive school. “Children are in school for seven hours a day, five days a week, for 13 years. School, especially in the elementary years, should cultivate a child’s love of learning. Yet, the Common Core scorns all the creative endeavors (music, literature, art) that inspire students to imagine and dream. Instead of poetry, we now have technical reading. Imagination may not be quantifiable, but it keeps kids invested and ultimately yields far more impressive results than relentless test prep.”

 

What if all the millions now spent on new Common Core-aligned materials and consultants, new software and hardware for the testing, were spent instead to meet the needs of children? “Free lunch and breakfast programs; social workers and counselors; after-school, mentoring and tutoring programs; and smaller classes.”

 

If there had been any experienced classroom teachers on the committee that wrote the Common Core, these lessons might have been learned before they were written in stone and imposed on 46 states by the lure of Race to the Top gold. If the writing committee included as many teachers as testing experts, the Common Core would look very different and would not be facing massive pushback across the nation.

This is an interesting documentary on the Common Core, featuring some of its strongest supporters at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute (as well as guest cameos by Jeb Bush and Bill Gates) and some of its strongest critics, notably Sandra Stotsky and James Milgram, both of whom served on the “validation committee,” but refused to sign off on the standards. It was produced by the Home School Legal Defense Association (represented by Mike Farris). So far as I know, home schoolers are not bound to abide by the Common Core standards, although they may need them if they take the SAT or the ACT.

 

The documentary makes two very provocative points about Common Core.

 

One is a civic critique of the undemocratic way in which the Common Core standards were written: by a small committee that included no classroom teachers, no specialists in early childhood education or in the teaching of children with disabilities or of children who are English language learners, and no working teachers of the subjects at issue. Customarily it takes two, there, or four years to wire state standards, because of the need to hear from different constituencies, especially those that are knowledgeable and directly affected. The Common Core standards were written in a year and adopted by 45 or 46 states in a year, because of the lure of $4.35 billion in federal dollars. The process was speedy and efficient, but it was not democratic. The absence of a democratic process has fed distrust, which in turn has created an angry backlash. The documentary has a few poignant moments about how democracy works. The writers of the Common Core would have benefited immensely by a reminder of what democracy means and how it should work.

 

The second interesting point that the film raises is whether a single set of national standards can meet the needs of both college-ready and career-ready. Some people complain that the standards are too hard, others complain that they are too easy. This is a contradiction at the heart of the CCSS.

 

There has been a conscious effort to say that “the train has left the station,” but that’s not a good enough reason to jump aboard (how do you jump aboard a train that has already left the station anyhow?).

 

First, you want to be sure that the train is going where you want to go. Second, be careful about who is driving the train.

 

I, for one, am not convinced that the train has left the station. I see more indications every day that the promoters of Common Core are getting desperate because of the negative public reaction. There is a palpable sense that the public can’t figure out how we got national standards in the absence of any democratic discussion about their pluses and minuses. And so we have Gates and newspaper editorials and television advertising and other promotional activities to sell us on something that not many people understand.

 

Nope, the train is still in the station, and a lot of parents and teachers need to be convinced and a lot of revisions need to be made before this train goes anywhere. This will be hard because it seems that the engineer, the conductor, and the crew have moved on to other jobs.

 

 

 

 

There has been much debate about who wrote the Common Core standards.

Here is a press release that lists the names of the writing teams for each subject as well as “feedback” groups.

You will notice a large representation of people from the testing industry (College Board and ACT), as well as people from Achieve, a D.C. think tank.

Notice that the statement says:

“The Work Group’s deliberations will be confidential throughout the process.”

Notice that the statement says:

“Final decisions regarding the common core standards document will be made by the Standards Development Work Group. The Feedback Group will play an advisory role, not a decision-making role in the process.”

Count how many people on either the writing teams or the feedback groups are identified as classroom teachers. Count how many have any experience in teaching children with disabilities. Count how many are experienced in teaching early childhood classes or English language learners.

Compare that number–whatever it may be–to the number who are experienced in testing and assessment.

After years of enacting reform after reform, and after years of defunding the public schools, Oklahoma legislators are stepping back and thinking twice  what they have wrought.

It is not pretty.

They passed a law saying that third graders would be held back if they didn’t pass a test, but they are rethinking that.

They adopted the Common Core standards, but they are rethinking that.

They adopted A-F school grades, but they are rethinking that.

Imagine that.

A legislature wondering if they did the right thing and taking another look.

Let’s hope it is true.

Let’s hope they are asking themselves whether they are really qualified to tell educators how to do their jobs.

Maybe they should hire well-qualified teachers, set reasonable standards, and let the teachers teach.

And while they are at it, fund the schools so they can offer the arts, foreign languages, history, civics, science, physical education, libraries, a school nurse, a counselor, and the other services and programs that schools and students need.

Peter Greene feels sorry for Bill McCallum, one of the writers of the Common Core math standards. From what Greene has read, McCallum meant well but doesn’t understand what CC has become. He calls McCallum “a sad scientist.”

Greene says he believes there are three types of people who support CCSS.

“We have a tendency to characterize all CCSS backers as evil geniuses, malignant mad scientists, or greedy underhanded businessmen. But I’ve characterized CCSS regime supporters as three groups

1) People who make a living/profit from CCSS
2) People who see things in the CCSS that aren’t actually there
3) People who haven’t actually looked at the CCSS yet

I think Bill McCallum is part of group #2.”

He adds:

“Like a writer who has sold his novel to Hollywood, McCallum seems not to grasp that he no longer gets to define what the CCSS are or mean. Coleman appears to have fully embraced the complete CCSS regime and has moved with gusto to cash in on the whole complex. But McCallum keeps insisting that his CCSS is simply standards, and no standardized curriculum nor tests nor teacher evaluation nor school evaluations are any part of it. It is also true that a communist leader shouldn’t look like a Stalin or a Mao, but reality is just a bitch some times.

“I actually feel a little sad for McCallum. I imagine that some of the atomic scientists who thought they were developing an awesome power source, not a new way to immolate hundreds of thousand of people, might have struggled as well. But the corporate profiteers and data overlords and anti-teacher public school haters have found in his work a perfect tool for their agenda, and McCallum’s intentions, no matter how noble they may have been, no longer matter.”

A reader sent this comment:

Dear Diane,

I was wondering if you could create a post to get the anti-testing movement that seems to be thriving downstate to garner some more support upstate.

I teach in a suburb of Rochester, NY. My school is on the “west side,” where household incomes are substantially lower than they are on the “east side.”

Today a colleague emailed me a link to a letter that the Superintendent of Pittsford Central Schools (one of the most affluent districts in upstate NY) had posted on the school’s website.

I found the post upsetting and confusing. It could be paraphrased to read: Hey parents, these tests aren’t so bad, and our kids do GREAT on them! Please send them to school and tell them to do their very, very best!

The second paragraph upsets me the most because Superintendent Pero credits Pittsford’s “exceptional performance” on last year’s Common Core tests to the teachers in his district for their “engaging lessons” and their approach of teaching the “whole child.”

I, too, teach in a phenomenal school. We do not teach the modules, and we have a collaborative department that is always seeking to improve. However, our passing rate on last year’s exams was less than 40%. I have friends who teach in the city of Rochester—their passing rate on last year’s exams was the lowest in the state. I would like to know if Superintendent Pero believes that teachers at these neighboring districts only teach the “partial child” through “disengaging lessons.”

As I fumed about this letter to some friends and colleagues, I learned some interesting background information. It seems Pittsford had a significant amount of opt-outs last for last week’s disastrous ELA exams, and many students who did take the tests used their essay booklets to write letters to Commissioner King. I just finished scoring exams, and we had a few too—those tests will earn a 0.

So maybe Superintendent Pero doesn’t really think the testing is fine, but he needs to scramble to make sure as many of his smart kids as possible show up for the math tests in a few weeks.

Sincerely,

An anonymous teacher in upstate NY

This reader comments on earlier posts about why some liberals dislike Common Core, even though they find allies with whom they disagree on other issues. Arne Duncan has tried to create a narrative in which only the Tea Party is opposed to Common Core, but he neglects to mention that leaders of major corporate interests, plus Jeb Bush and Michelle Rhee– support the Common Core. Reasons for favoring or opposing it are far more complex than Duncan acknowledges.

 

 

I have continuously run into progressive minded people who fear opposing Common Core because the Tea Party opposes Common Core. The fact that the Tea Party opposes Common Core is not a reason for a progressive/left/liberal to shy away from opposing it too. When the first stirrings of Tea Party sentiment occurred, I thought the movement could go left or right because there was something in the original protest that could have easily been embraced by the left – opposition to the Iraq war, opposition to the NSA type of surveillance already underway, opposition to an irrational tax code that favored the wealthy. But the movement was bought off by rightwing money, and rather quickly it ceased having genuine grass roots.

 

I too have no sympathy for the Tea Party, and I too favor the role of the federal government in regulating markets, providing for the health and safety of the citizenry, ensuring the protection of our common public spaces and enterprises, building national infrastructure, ensuring that our states remain fundamentally “united” by laws and values, and so on. But I also oppose the federal government when it abuses its power, or arrogates more power to itself than is constitutionally proper, or steps into matters that are fundamentally local in nature. Deciding how the country should respond to the Ukraine crisis is a federal matter. Deciding how and what teachers should teach in their local public schools is a local matter. Education policy is for school committees, local district and building administrators, the educators themselves, and the local unions to which they may belong. State government too has a key role to play in ensuring proper and adequate financing, in requiring licensure, and even, to a degree that is properly limited, in holding districts accountable for educational outcomes. But the federal government oversteps its boundaries, both historically and from a policy perspective, when it intervenes to the degree it has in altering the education landscape.

 

I am no activist for states’ rights, but I do recognize that a constitutional balance does exist between federal and state roles. Marriage, like education, is historically a matter left to state authority, and it should remain there, provided the states act within federal constitutional mandates – such as the equal protection clause. For a federal court to strike down a state law prohibiting gay marriage is not a federal intrusion into state authority. It is our federal constitution at play. The education of our children is uniquely local among our many social institutions, starting with the iconic little red school house. Other than the ridiculous Vergara trial taking place in California right now, there are no real constitutional impairments that occur from local and state control of the institution. The federal government’s interest in having an educated citizenry, and perhaps even its interest in having a citizenry prepared for the challenges of the 21st century, can be accomplished without the massive intrusion that we are seeing now. Indeed, what is saddest about the federal role in education is that the true underlying interests that are represented by our federal DOE and our president (for whom, like you, I voted) are corporate interests, not citizen interests. And so, like the Tea Party with whom I would otherwise never be a bedfellow, I oppose vigorously the role the federal government is playing through overreaching and unwise and politically motivated laws like NCLB and RTTT. There is nothing “core” about the “Common Core,” and even worse there is nothing “common” about it (in the sense that the “common” is something that is shared, public and open). I fundamentally do not trust the federal government in governing education in fifty states and setting goals for education at the district, building or classroom level. I know the analogy is silly, but education right now feels like the Crimea of American public policy.

 

 

I don’t often agree with Jay Greene because he is a proponent of school choice, especially vouchers. I disagree, as I see no benefit to giving public money to religious schools and tossing aside one of our important traditions, i.e., separation of church and state. Greene is chair of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, which is funded in part by the Walton Family Foundation, which commits its considerable resources to privatization of public education.

 

But Greene has been remarkably wise on his comments about the Common Core. His recent writings have echoed a theme that I first encountered when I read Yale sociologist James Scott’s Seeing Like a State. In this book, Scott explains and demonstrates the many disastrous errors committed by technocrats and central planners who thought that they could move around entire populations and reconstruct entire cities and landscapes by their grandiose plans. Scott shows how time and again these supersize plans have come to a disastrous end because they failed to take into consideration that people are not ants, not checkers on a checker board, not inanimate objects whose lives can be rearranged at the will of government planners. Worse, they never listen to the people on the ground who are tasked with making their plans work. What worked beautifully on the drawing board turned out to be a giant failure because people who “see like a state” are, frankly, out of touch with reality and with the real lives of real people. More often than not, the craftsmen on the ground have knowledge that is unknown and unappreciated and scorned by the central planners.

 

Greene’s recent posts (see here and here) point out that it is a gigantic mistake to aim for total victory. He notes that the planners of the Common Core standards thought they could engineer a coup: get the U.S. Department of Education on board, get their program funded by the nation’s largest foundation (and expect that most of the others would jump aboard), buy the support of almost every D.C. advocacy group, pay off the education organizations, persuade the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable to acclaim their efforts, and poof!–victory was assured! Dissent is brushed aside, critics are dismissed out of hand as “Tea Party” and “extremists.” Editorial boards endorse the Common Core, puff pieces are strategically placed in the media. Yet, it is not working. What went wrong?

 

Greene writes in the first post:

 

Ed reform has been going through a bad stretch lately. Currently dominant reform theories are the result of technocratic thinking. They seek to identify (and impose) “optimal” topics to be taught, ways to teach those subjects, methods for training teachers, strategies for evaluating and motivating teachers, etc… An army of economists or economist-wannabes have seized the reins of reform organizations with the hope that their next regression will tell everyone what to do to solve the mystery of improving schools. They pay little heed to history, which might alert them to the failure of past efforts similar to their brave new undertakings. And they are unfamiliar with basic lessons from political science on the dangers and failures of technocratic central planning.

 

In his second post, he explains why it is a mistake to seek total and complete victory, a complete reconstruction of people’s work and lives, and why such grandiose plans usually fail:

Technocrats are inclined to seek total and final victory. If science or the experts have shown something to be wrong, why should that wrong be allowed to continue anywhere? This produces a tendency to over-reach. Technocrats can’t tolerate the notion that a solution won’t cover everybody and improve things for everyone. If things are bad in Mississippi it just ruins their whole day.

But trying to fix everything, everywhere usually leads to fixing nothing anywhere — or sometimes to making things much worse. In the end the technocrat doesn’t seem as motivated by helping as many people as possible, as much as motivated by the unreasonable feeling of responsibility for “allowing” something bad to continue for someone. But addressing your inner angst about someone still suffering somewhere at the expense of making progress toward helping more people is egotistical. It isn’t about you. You are not the Master of the Universe who “allows” bad things to happen. You’re just a person trying to work with others to make progress….Even if you are a standards and test-based accountability person, you are better off not seeking total victory as the Common Core people have. Yes, some states had lousy standards. And yes, some tests were poorly designed or had low thresholds for passing. But trying to fix all standards and tests, everywhere, all at once is the wrong approach. Seeking this total victory has more fully mobilized the opponents of all standards and testing. In response to a more heavy-handed and top-down national effort, more previously un-involved people have flocked to the anti-testing side. Not only will these folks undermine effective implementation of Common Core, but in their counter-effort to roll back national standards, they will destroy much of what was good about state standards and tests. The whole idea of standards and test-based accountability is being undermined by the imprudent over-reach of Common Core.

 

Greene ends his second post with a sage observation that ought to be pinned to the wall in every government office, every executive suite of every foundation, and every advocacy group:

 

Whether your preferred policy solution is based on standards and accountability, parental choice, instructional reform, or something else, the better approach to reform is gradual and decentralized so that everyone can learn and adapt. Your reform strategy has to be consistent with the diverse, decentralized, and democratic country in which we live. You won’t fix everything for everyone right away, but you should avoid Great Leaps Forward. Seek partial victories because with the paradoxical logic of ed reform politics total victory ultimately leads to total defeat.

 

 

 

 

On Friday, Néw York Times’ columnist David Brooks wrote a column excoriating critics of the Common Core standards as “clowns.”

He didn’t seem aware that his personal opinion piece, devoid of documentation other than anecdotes, is precisely the kind of writing that David Voleman abhors. In his most famous statement about the Common Core, Coleman said that when you grow up, no one gives a &$@& about what you think or feel. Brooks told us what he thinks and feels, but gets all the facts wrong.

Here is Mercedes Schneider at her best.

Schneider writes:

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David Brooks, Common Core Circus Performer

Why newspapers hire individuals to regularly offer the public unsubstantiated opinions baffles me. I am a researcher. Unless my posts are grounded in my personal experience, I offer my readers links to document my position on matters about which I write.

David Brooks is an opinion writer. He publishes his opinions regularly in the New York Times (NYT) and has done so since 2003.

Brooks is not a teacher. He has no firsthand experience with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Nevertheless, Brooks has an opinion on the matter, and the NYT has published his opinion because, well, the NYT publishes Brooks’ opinions.

Brooks supports CCSS. That is his opinion.

Allow me to present another opinion: that of the “lead architect” of CCSS, David Coleman. Coleman is quoted here from his presentation, Bringing the Common Core to Life:

Do you know the two most popular forms of writing in the American high school today?…It is either the exposition of a personal opinion or the presentation of a personal matter. The only problem, forgive me for saying this so bluntly, the only problem with these two forms of writing is as you grow up in this world you realize people don’t really give a **** about what you feel or think. What they instead care about is can you make an argument with evidence, is there something verifiable behind what you’re saying or what you think or feel that you can demonstrate to me. [Emphasis added.]

How is that for irony? David Brooks writes his opinion on CCSS, and the “lead architect” of CCSS is knocking opinion writing.

Brooks’ opinion is that opponents to CCSS are part of a “circus.”

How sad it is that Brooks does not realize that he is part of the very circus about which he writes. Brooks believes he writes about CCSS from an op/ed perch outside of the Big Top. However, his place is in the ring of the many who support CCSS on the unsubstantiated opinion that CCSS is necessary to American public education; that it was properly and democratically created and chosen by stakeholders; that it is the solution to some supposed failure of American public education, and that opponents of CCSS act only from “hysteria.”

In his op/ed, Brooks presents the “reality” of CCSS as it appears to him in the Fun House mirror.

Brooks refers to a time “about seven years ago.” That would be 2007, the year that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was declared a failure. Brooks notes “it was widely acknowledged that state education standards were a complete mess.” So, in his effort to support CCSS, Brooks blames varied state standards for “huge numbers of students were graduating from high school unprepared either for college work or modern employment.”

Brooks provides no evidence to support his statements. How “non-CCSS” of him.

He even contradicts himself by the end of his article: “The new standards won’t revolutionize education. It’s not enough to set goals; you have to figure out how to meet them.”

Those who actually have careers in the classroom know there is more to the issue than “setting goals” and “meeting them” based upon a set of standards.

In 2007, David Hursh of the University of Rochester published a paper on the failure of NCLB. Hursh does not mention “common standards” as a solution to some widespread failure of public education.  However, he does mention other complex issues that have a bearing on the classroom and which are ignored by the likes of Brooks in promoting the CCSS “solution”:

The passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) marks the largest intervention of the federal government into education in the history of the United States. NCLB received and continues to receive support, in part because it promises to improve student learning and to close the achievement gap between White students and students of color. However, NCLB has failed to live up to its promises and may exacerbate inequality. Furthermore, by focusing on education as the solution to social and economic inequality, it diverts the public’s attention away from the issues such as poverty, lack of decent paying jobs and health care, that need to be confronted if inequality is to be reduced. [Emphasis added.]

Notice how the focus has shifted from the NCLB goal of “closing the achievement gap” to the Race to the Top (RTTT) goal of “competitiveness in the global economy.”

Neither NCLB with its “100 percent proficiency in math and reading by 2014″ nor RTTT with its “internationally benchmarked standards and assessments, teacher evaluation, data systems, and ‘turning around low performing’ schools” accounts for economic influences upon learning, not the least of which is the relationship between student learning and community economic viability.

I wrote about the fact that based upon employment projections for 2014, 2016 and 2020, Louisiana will have far more jobs available for high school dropouts and high school graduates than it will college graduates.

CCSS Fun House writers like Brooks do not address the disconnect between the call for “academic rigor” and the sagging economies that cannot support the Brooks-style finger-wag.

Know what else is funny? In 2007, when NCLB was openly acknowledged to be a failure, some legislators were still crying, “Stay the course.”

Sounds like CCSS “stay the course” opinions here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here….

You get the picture.

Another interesting fact about 2007: It was the year that David Coleman started his national-standards-writing company-gone nonprofit (first 990 on file not until 2011), Student Achievement Partners (SAP). Prior to SAP, Coleman and fellow CCSS “lead writer” Jason Zimba started a company to analyze NCLB test data.

Coleman had his foot in the proverbial NCLB door and “just happened” to start a company completely devoted to CCSS in 2007, the year that the NCLB circus began to show impending collapse.

A truly astounding, “state-led” coincidence.

Brooks also states that “the new standards are more rigorous than the old,” yet he also uses the Fordham Institute “finding” that CCSS is only “better” than standards in 37 states. I wrote about the 2010 Fordham Institute “grading” of state standards here and Fordham CCSS peddler Mike Petrilli here. Petrilli even tried the “stay the course” line in Indiana– a state with standards that Fordham graded as superior to CCSS.

Attempting to convince a state with standards “superior” to CCSS to keep CCSS is part of the CCSS sales job, yet this act somehow escapes Brooks’ notice.

How convenient.

As to another convenient Brooks oversight: The 2010 Fordham “grading” of state standards offers no logic between scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and the Fordham grade for a state’s standards. Thus, a state could have low NAEP scores and have a high Fordham grade on standards, or vice-versa. No logic. Nevertheless, Brooks assumes Fordham to be standards-grading “experts,” and Fordham Executive Vice President (nice title) Petrilli travels the country (for examples, see here, and here, and here, and here) advising states to “stay the course” with CCSS standards that Fordham admits are not better than all state standards.

As to Brooks’ assertion that CCSS “unpopularity” is “false”: He believes it is enough to cite some survey evidence (no reference provided) for Kentucky and Tennessee, and New York (linked)– three states. More Fun House illusion: that “evidence” of CCSS “popularity” in three states justifies a nationwide CCSS.  Not so.

As to survey “evidence” on CCSS and education perceptions in general: I have written detailed accounts on a number of these surveys, all in 2013: NAESP (principals) surveyStand for Children Louisiana surveyGates Scholastic survey (partial results release); NEA surveyAssociated Press (AP) surveyAP and Gallup surveyAFT survey.

My “overwhelming” conclusion:  CCSS was an imposed education “reform” that administrators, teachers, and the public were forced to deal with. CCSS is not “popular”; it was tolerated at best as indicated by these 2013 survey results. As to the public perception: in 2013, the public was largely unaware of CCSS. Now they know. Now CCSS is in the news; it is in the classrooms, and it is in the statehouses.

CCSS-related legislation abounds.

As to Brooks’ Fun House assertion that CCSS is “state led, let us not forget the infamous CCSS “lead architect” David Coleman, who made the following statement to data analysts in Boston on May 31, 2013:

When I was involved in convincing governors and others around this country to adopt these standards, it was not “Obama likes them.” Do you think that would have gone well with the Republican crowd? [Emphasis added.]

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Though it might be difficult for Brooks to admit, Coleman just declared himself “CCSS Ringmaster.”

To Coleman, CCSS was a product to sell to “governors,” and he couldn’t say that “Obama likes” CCSS if he expected to make the sale to “the Republican crowd.”

Coleman must have made an effective sales pitch; in 2009– before CCSS was complete– 46 “states” had already “agreed to be state led.”

And so, our Big Top performance has come full circle in this post that began and ended with the CCSS Ringmaster, David Coleman.

It is one feat to “convince governors” to buy into CCSS; it is quite another to “convince” America.

Brooks is right; the circus in indeed “in town,” and in his opinion-spouting position, Brooks is attempting to sell tickets to The Greatest So-called “Standards” Show on Earth.

Those familiar with the CCSS imposition know better than to buy Brooks’ line that CCSS is “a perfectly sensible yet slightly boring idea.

From reading Brooks’ unanchored appeal, one issue is certain: This fount of unsolicited CCSS opinion is not a classroom teacher.

Let us leave him now, unsold tickets still in his ungrounded-opinion-writing hands.

Abby White is a junior at Shaker Heights High School in Ohio and an editor at her high school newspaper. She researched the Common Core, read the standards, interviewed faculty, and developed her own views about their strengths and weaknesses.

She wrote this article for her school newspaper, the Shakerite.

She has done more research than many newspaper reporters, who like to quote what people say for and against the Common Core, without deigning to read them. She works harder to understand and explain the subject than many people twice her age.

Without spoiling her effort to analyze the standards, I present here her biggest concern: how do we know they will measure up to all the promises?

She writes:

“That’s like devising a new surgical method to fix a man’s heart condition, not testing that method, and going ahead with the surgery anyway. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I would never act so rashly. Sure, the new method could work; it could also kill the patient.

“The Common Core State Standards are changing the face of America’s education for approximately 50 million students, teachers and other public school faculty — not including parents. Imposing such a huge change with no gauge of its effectiveness is downright irresponsible. Our education system is the patient, and we have no guarantee it won’t die on the operating table. In fact, right now, I don’t think its chances are good.”

See more at: http://www.shakerite.com/opinion/2014/04/08/the-craze-and-craziness-behind-the-common-core/#sthash.JnWj6rH7.dpuf

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