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.
10/18-19: Treasure Island Music Festival
10/22: Roman Flugel @ f8
10/25: Moodymann @ PW
11/20: The Drive by Truckers, Sturgill Simpson @ The Fillmore
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?
"Gov. Rick Perry of Texas Is Indicted on Charge of Abuse of Power"
A House Republican candidate is using video footage moments before the beheading of American James Foley in a campaign ad slamming Arizona Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema as weak on national security.
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Wendy Rogers launched the commercial that opens with a member of the Islamic State group with a knife as Foley kneels, an image directly from video footage released by the militants on Aug. 19. The spot does not show the beheading.
"Terrorist threats are growing. Are we secure? Are we protected?" an announcer says as other images of ISIS are shown. "Keeping us safe and secure is Congress' job. Kyrsten Sinema hasn't done her job. … She's allowed her liberal agenda to get in the way of our safety."
Republican candidates have criticized Democrats as soft on terrorism using images of members of militants from ISIS carrying a black banner. The Rogers ad marked the first time that video footage of the beheading showed up in an ad, prompting Democrats to demand that Rogers take the commercial off the air.
"It is reprehensible and unbecoming of anyone seeking elected office to use the footage of an American tragedy for political gain, and Wendy Rogers should remove this ad immediately and apologize to Mr. Foley's family," said Tyrone Gale, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "For Wendy Rogers to use such a reprehensible tactic to make baseless claims just to smear Representative Sinema proves how desperate her campaign has become."
Rogers' campaign spokesman, James Harris, defended using the footage, saying it was a fair use of current-affairs scenes to highlight differences between the candidates.
"We think it's an important ad to highlight the differences on what this election is about and how President Obama's failed leadership internationally has made our country less safe," he said.
Sinema referred questions to her campaign staff, and they were not able to comment immediately.
Rogers has purchased about $124,000 worth of ad time to air the commercial in the Phoenix market and on cable, according to ad buys.
Although Sinema narrowly won her seat in 2012, she is considered a favorite to win re-election.
Absolutely. The fascists won’t have a veto-proof majority regardless, so Obama can (and will) block any insane bills that pass, which will pretty much be all of them. Very likely the most “do-nothing” Congress in history.
Executive appointments will be just the opposite, however. Any Supreme Court vacancy will engender a shit-storm of unprecedented proportions. William Rehnquist’s re-animated corpse wouldn’t pass muster if the Kenyan Muslim Usurper nominated him.
Wendy Rogers is using Terrorism to scare Americans.
Obama uses the right number of helicopters.
ISIS in Iraq is another of the unanticipated long-term consequences of George Bush's unjust war. ISIS in Syria has also emerged in a power vacuum, one that was created by the civil war between Assad and a ragtag rebel group, the Free Syrian Army (FSA)...and arming a rebel group is perilous at best. Even the Iraqi army, the same one we spent 10 years arming and training, couldn't hang onto the weapons we gave them and now we're dealing with a well armed ISIS flush with sophisticated US weapons systems capable of shooting down aircraft. It's ridiculous to now suggest that Obama has been weak by not supporting the FSA with more weapons and training. Republicans are skillful at playing on the fears, ignorance and short-term memory of the public.
Well what do you think we should do about it now?
I'm pretty supportive of what we're doing now. Coalition building, especially getting Arab states involved, airstrikes to slow ISIS advances, prop up Iraqi forces, but ultimately these are regional problems that need regional involvement and solutions...unfortunately, we have some responsibility for the mess in Iraq and so we should do we can to support their govt short of committing ground troops beyond special OPs and support personnel.