A reader who calls himself or herself “Democracy” left comments criticizing me for defending Randi Weingarten–or perhaps for not attacking her.
Here is my response to Democracy:
Democracy, you ask a good question, and I will answer as best I can..
As you know, I have criticized the Common Core in many posts. I have criticized the lack of transparency and the lack of educator participation in its development. I have criticized the fact that the Gates Foundation paid out nearly $200 million to develop and promote the CCSS, which really means they are the Gates Standards. I have said that rigorous standards will not solve–let alone address–the economic dysfunction at the root of educational inequality–and is likely to exacerbate it.
Randi Weingarten is certainly more positive about Common Core than I am. She is the president of the AFT and has been willing to engage on the issues, while the NEA has remained supportive of Common Core and silent.
I have long believed that Randi would ultimately change course, and she has done so recently. First, she called for a moratorium on testing. only days ago, she came out in opposition to VAM, saying that VAM is a sham. She has followed her reasoning to its logical conclusion, which is that Common Core should be decoupled from testing. If Common Core is in fact decoupled from testing, it loses its power as a means of rating and ranking students and teachers and principals. It becomes a set of standards that may or may not prove useful but has no power to ruin lives and careers
The next, inevitable step is to recognize that Common Core must be amended by teachers and scholars. As it currently exists, it is an infallible edict encased in concrete. No standards are so perfect that they need never be updated.
I will not attack Randi, not only because she is a personal friend, not only because she is showing the capacity to evolve and change her mind, but because we who object to the current demolition derby can’t prevail without the support of at least one of the major unions. In short, we need her leadership. To turn against her is to wound our cause irreparably, our cause being the survival of public education and the teaching profession. To attack one of our few national leaders in the middle of a crucial war will aid those who are attacking public education and teachers. If we who are allies fight one another, we lose. I prefer success to defeat. Too much is riding on the outcome of these questions to indulge in ideological purity and cast out those who are not in complete agreement.