Well, I still hate democracy.
Until then, I think it's worth refuting some of the "facts" as listed above. The Common Core (CCSS) was created largely by folks involved with testing corporations (especially ACT, Achieve, and College Board), none of whom have k-12 teaching experience. David Coleman, the main guy behind the English standards, is on record as boasting about how unqualified he was to write them. They were rushed through committee – teachers were allowed to give feedback, which isn't the same thing as having a hand in creating them – and the only reason they have so much bipartisan support is because Race to the Top funds were tied directly to adopting the CCSS and the tests that would accompany them. Turning down CCSS literally meant turning down millions of dollars in federal funds. These standardized tests, by the way, are a cash cow for Pearson, especially since Education Secretary Arne Duncan has currently proposed more tests with more frequency than the country has ever seen before. Teachers' unions supported the CCSS only until they realized the effect they were having, and education experts – those who actually know a thing or two about k-12 classrooms – have never supported them.
Most of my current research involves examining how CCSS and other "reform" measures are affecting teacher identity and professional autonomy. I'm in classrooms pretty regularly, and the effect of CCSS here in Georgia has been pretty chilling. I hear similar things from teachers in other parts of the country (specifically, California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania). Think scripted lessons, test prep, and jettisoning most literature and non-expository writing from the curriculum. It's hard to write more without getting too far into the weeds, so until I have more time, here's some names to check out: Diane Ravitch, Stephen Krashen, Paul Thomas, Anthony Cody, Susan Ohanian.
They're all doing incredibly smart work examining how CCSS and standardized testing were basically foisted on the country's teachers, children, and parents as a made-up solution to a crisis that doesn't actually exist.
It's also worth mentioning that there is zero research to demonstrate that more rigorous standards (whatever that means) have anything to do with our students' abilities to think critically. But again, more later.
Also, if you don't think there's a crisis in how mathematics is taught in this country, you've not been paying attention. Most people -- a majority of voting-age Americans -- are profoundly stupid when it comes to the simplest numerical concepts.
Last edited by jackstraw94086; 06-30-2014 at 12:21 PM.
Also, please explain your second comment about how people learn differently. Are you suggesting something simply about the language they use or is it something more fundamental?
CC does not tell a teacher the manner in which to teach things. There really isn't even any common core curriculum created yet. Teachers are angry because they have to create it (boo hoo). The CCSS practically mirror the current (former as of now I suppose) CA state standards. People complaining about the way that math is taught should be angry with the teacher and not CC. Again, CC says NOTHING about the manner in which the content should be taught. I keep hearing that literature and creative writing (narrative / poetry) are being "jettisoned" as mentioned above, but it simply is not true. Sure, English teachers are going to be required to balance lit with expository writing/reading. Many schools in CA have actually used much of their CC funds to purchase more classroom sets of novels. Scripted teaching actually played a massive role during the NCLB years (especially those teaching English learners), so it is nothing new. CCSS testing (SBAC in CA) is NOT standardized testing. Again, the tests ARE NOT standardized. Are the tests poorly written? Are they a good measure of what students have learned and how well the teacher has taught? These are the same questions that have been asked and dealt with during NCLB. The complaint that people learn differently is invalid as well. No matter what the standards are, teachers should be designing various lessons along the way that activate different learning modalities (Jack: auditory, visual, discovery, written) in order to best teach to all types. It doesnt matter if someone in SF learns differently than someone from the south. The multitude of personalities and types of learners in any given classroom already presents that problem. I also keep hearing that CCSS has teachers teaching to the test. Of course they are. The tests test knowledge of the standards. The standards are what the teachers are SUPPOSED to teach.
Some of the issue in all of this is that union teachers are not evaluated properly. In CA they are evaluated once every two years.
I understand that individuals within a population may learn differently, but still curious about Bryan's assertion that there are differences across populations based on geography (or whatever else distinguishes them that may be correlated with that geography).
How are CA teachers evaluated? Is it purely based on classroom testing performance or are there board tests for the teachers themselves?
The evaluation process may be somewhat different from different from school to school to based on the competency of administrators, but most simply have to submit a plan for one lesson and be observed during that lesson (for about an hour), and then afterward they have a post-lesson meeting with their observer.
Classroom test performances have absolutely no bearing on a teacher's evaluation? Somehow I don't believe this is true. My brother refused to actually honestly take one of those tests during his junior year and just drew patterns on the answer sheet and his teacher begged and begged and sobbed to him about how badly she needed him to take it seriously because her future depended on it.
Well, in LA's school district, test scores count for 30% of teacher evaluations: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lano...valuation.html
Last edited by guedita; 06-30-2014 at 02:00 PM.
7/18: The Field @ The Independent
8/23-8/24: FYF Fest
9/24 - 28: Decibel Festival
10/5: The War on Drugs, Cass McCombs @ The Fillmore
10/18-19: Treasure Island Music Festival
Remember: the current system is not the future system. Duncan has been very honest that a huge part of Race to the Top and CCSS is teacher evaluation. The CCSS-aligned tests were originally scheduled to go live in the next year, and the goal there is twofold: 1) evaluate the teachers, and 2) track the teachers' evaluations back to the colleges they graduated from to evaluate those colleges.
Apologies for not responding point by point. Bud Luster's first post gave me a seizure.
Different socioeconomic backgrounds, access to technology, education level of parents, general infrastructure and tons of other factors are going to affect how anyone learns. That statement was meant more generally, that different students and communities can have wildly different needs, and nationalizing a system ignores that reality.
The teacher's union made it so that it was pretty much impossible for a principal to fire a teacher based on performance. What happened to many teachers that I know was that they were given the "difficult" and lower performing students so that they couldn't "hurt" anyone with their teaching. They were also moved to kinder/TK teachers (basically babysitters).
As far as the socioeconomic differences, those can exist from one neighborhood to the next (even within range of bus programs). I have hard time seeing those should be a basis to treat children differently. Your parents' education, or lack thereof, is one of the primary barriers that the program is aiming to defeat. If the kid doesn't have a computer at home then I think we need to do better to make technology available in schools. Do you have ideas, your or someone else's, for how you would teach them differently but manage to bring them up to the same standards of learning in the end?
Related question: Would you feel more comfortable wearing an assault rifle in class?