A reader reacts to an earlier post and comments on the  Common Core State Standards:

I agree that CC standards alone aren’t the game changer. These types of efforts to rename, reframe, polish, market and sell new initiatives from the top down have a temporary success when some grant-style funding and enthusiasm accompanies it. In the end, though, you are attempting to sculpt whatever clay comes to you with the tools you are allowed. Imagine a baker thrown into a kitchen and told their career will live or die based on some baking standards and evaluations for pies, cakes, cookies, and various pastries. What if that kitchen has little or no flour? A true master might know that there are options (gluten-free), but the results are not typical-they just get the job done. Imagine missing even more of the vital ingredients like sugar, eggs, butter…Again, the job can get done, but if standards, expectations and evaluations (along with state test results) don’t consider how the kitchen is stocked to begin with, then it isn’t an honest system-even if the standards alone are useful. As a teacher, I can make up for the difference a missing “pinch of salt” might make. I can figure out a way to substitute some “ingredients” to help students arrive at a decent final product, that demonstrates their best.
The missing ingredient in most CCLS/reform/evaluation discussion is the fact that not all students come to school “ready”. Even some that do have disruptions in their life that impact how ready they are, temporarily, short term, or maybe long term. There is not much you can do about unforeseen accident or tragedy. But when we have policy that panders to wealthy private interests, feeding a society that promotes self-interest and consumerism, erodes the employment opportunities of the middle class…well, the conversation needs to change. Instead of “Teachers aren’t doing their job”, it needs to be “We need to ask teachers how we can help them and their students cope with an economy we aren’t ready to reform.”