Common core is all wrong and they know it. But the bought off media hails it. And the blunderous Duncan regime pushes it. It’s all about the take over. No one cares about the consequence.
The Feds and corporations never before had a financial stake in schools. Now they push Pearson material, Gate$ curriculum, and for profit charters. Public schools are slipping away, piece by piece. The pro common core set are paid. They push it for money. No amount of money can buy children from their parents.
(This comment is fairly generous, yet still relevant.)
“The trouble with the Common Core is not that it was the handiwork of anti-American ideologues or anti-teacher dogmatists, but that it was the work of well-meaning, self-impressed technocrats who fudged difficult questions, used federal coercion to compel rapid national adoption, and assumed that things would work out. When critics of the Common Core hyperbolically accuse the program’s architects of harboring a hidden agenda, they obscure this reality and leave moderate observers inclined to trust the relatively calm, rational, and polished voices of those defending the Common Core. In reality, the disingenuous manner in which the enterprise has been pursued has ensured tepid buy-in. This, coupled with the entirely foreseeable politicization of the issue, has created a mess for America’s students.”
“Such standards, I believe, should be voluntary, not imposed by the federal government; before implemented widely, they should be thoroughly tested to see how they work in real classrooms; and they should be free of any mandates that tell teachers how to teach because there are many ways to be a good teacher, not just one. I envision standards not as a demand for compliance by teachers, but as an aspiration defining what states and districts are expected to do. They should serve as a promise that schools will provide all students the opportunity and resources to learn reading and mathematics, the sciences, the arts, history, literature, civics, geography, and physical education, taught by well-qualified teachers, in schools led by experienced and competent educators.
For the past two years, I have steadfastly insisted that I was neither for nor against the Common Core standards. I was agnostic. I wanted to see how they worked in practice. I wanted to know, based on evidence, whether or not they improve education and whether they reduce or increase the achievement gaps among different racial and ethnic groups.
After much deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that I can’t wait five or ten years to find out whether test scores go up or down, whether or not schools improve, and whether the kids now far behind are worse off than they are today.
I have come to the conclusion that the Common Core standards effort is fundamentally flawed by the process with which they have been foisted upon the nation.
The Common Core standards have been adopted in 46 states and the District of Columbia without any field test. They are being imposed on the children of this nation despite the fact that no one has any idea how they will affect students, teachers, or schools. We are a nation of guinea pigs, almost all trying an unknown new program at the same time.
Maybe the standards will be great. Maybe they will be a disaster. Maybe they will improve achievement. Maybe they will widen the achievement gaps between haves and have-nots. Maybe they will cause the children who now struggle to give up altogether. Would the Federal Drug Administration approve the use of a drug with no trials, no concern for possible harm or unintended consequences?
President Obama and Secretary Duncan often say that the Common Core standards were developed by the states and voluntarily adopted by them. This is not true.
They were developed by an organization called Achieve and the National Governors Association, both of which were generously funded by the Gates Foundation. There was minimal public engagement in the development of the Common Core. Their creation was neither grassroots nor did it emanate from the states.”
“Even if a school claims to teach arithmetic, for one example, it does so in a Common Core approach that virtually guarantees children don’t know how to do arithmetic.
We don’t hear much about what facts the children will actually learn. And how do you test all this stuff? Collaborating and communicating? The feeling is that the school system prefers to discuss all these generalized methodologies rather than saying children will know the states in the union or how to do long division.”
“The Common Core standards are a clear case of federal overreach, facilitated by corporate philanthropies acting to circumvent democratic process. The standards are themselves deeply flawed as a result, and they are embedded in an accountability system that is causing grave harm to students.
The U.S. Department of Education is forbidden, by the very laws that brought it into existence, from prescribing the content of curriculum and assessments. To circumvent this prohibition, the Gates Foundation stepped in with about $200 million in funding to pay for the process. These funds paid for Achieve and the National Governors Association to write the standards.
Although it has been claimed, after the fact, that teachers had an important role in writing the standards, there is little evidence of the robust public debate and discussion one would expect for such a momentous shift. This is one of the key reasons that the Common Core has met with such a backlash. If we look at the process for setting standards recommended by the American National Standards Institute, we find that the process by which the Common Core was written and adopted was wholly inadequate, as described by historian Diane Ravitch.
This is enough to declare the Common Core standards unworthy of support. Had the Common Core been the result of the public process and debate, including educators and education experts, serious problems might have been identified and avoided.
Because of the Common Core’s “rigor,” many students will find a high school diploma out of reach. What will our society do with the large numbers of students who are unable to meet the Common Core standards? Many of these young people might find trades and jobs that suit them, but they may never be interviewed due to their lack of a diploma. This repeats and expands on the error made with high school exit exams, which have been found to significantly increase incarceration levels among students who do not pass the exams, while offering no real educational benefits.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said that “we should be able to look every second grader in the eye and say, ‘You’re on track, you’re going to be able to go to a good college, or you’re not.” As an educator, I would never have the arrogance to predict a child’s future in this manner, and I think it is very destructive to give this power to a set of tests.
More recently, Secretary Duncan has spoken about how tests have become a distraction from real learning, and in that context has given states an additional year to implement the high stakes Common Core tests. However, even this slight delay makes little difference. The tests are arriving, and they are having a huge impact.
Early childhood educators have spoken to the inappropriateness of the Common Core standards, and more than 500 of them signed a statement several years ago that now seems prophetic in light of what is happening in classrooms. The key concerns they raised were:
“Such standards will lead to long hours of instruction in literacy and math.”
“They will lead to inappropriate standardized testing.”
“Didactic instruction and testing will crowd out other important areas of learning.”
“There is little evidence that such standards for young children lead to later success.”
This report from literacy experts raises major concerns about the wisdom of making texts more difficult for children who are learning to read, as demanded by Common Core. The authors warned,
Increasing the pressure on the primary grades – without careful work that indicates why the necessary levels are not attained by many more students – may have consequences that could widen a gap that is already too large for the students who, at present, are left out of many careers and higher education. How sadly ironic it would be if an effort intended to support these very students limited their readiness for college and careers.
Common Core tests are ranking and sorting students and teachers, as standardized tests have always done. This provides the illusion of preparation for college, but creates obstacles rather than opportunity.
A growing number of states are now pulling out of the Common Core. In some states, teachers are even resigning, citing the pressure to teach to Common Core tests as their reason.
What will we do when we finally get past the idea that the Common Core will improve our schools? Perhaps we will come to grips with what teachers have been saying for years. With one child in four now living in poverty, we need to address poverty itself as well as its effects on children. Our schools, especially those serving poor students, need support and stability, not constant pressure to raise test scores. These students need an enriched curriculum, with opportunities for engagement and self expression, not test preparation.
More difficult tests, tests on computers, tests on steroids – that is what Common Core has brought to our schools, not improved education. The data are in. It is time to dump the Common Core standards and the tests they rode in on.”
“*Test children into oblivion;
*Use tests from our children to grade and assess teachers and principals;
*Develop new standards that have very little input from the educators who will teach the new standards to our children;
*Do not trust teachers, principals, superintendents and school boards to make informed decisions about what is best for their children in relation to assessments, curricula and best practices at the local level;
*Ensure that state and federal government (Governor and President) has significant influence over teacher accountability systems and assessments. They should decide what is best for children in public education (even if their children don’t attend public school);
*Guarantee corporations will make billions of dollars in the age of compliance and testing
Is there an alternative to our present disastrous path? Dr. Hynes believes there is.
Some of us believe in trusting the local control of our school systems. I believe in the capacity building of our teachers individually and collectively. It’s about climate control within our schools and trying to work with the command and control mentality outside of them. State Education Departments should be working with school districts, not against them…. I believe the underpinnings of the New York Regents Reform Agenda have never been proven to work successfully AND longitudinally in any school district…. As Alfie Kohn stated, “The goal beyond testing is about building a thriving democracy. It is about helping each child reach his/her potential as a human being and learner.” Strip away the over-testing of students, tying student scores to teachers and principal evaluations, using the new poorly designed standards and the command and control mentality from our state and national education departments.
It seems the world of education is divided into two camps. Those who think we are on the wrong road, and those who say full speed ahead, regardless of the warning signs. Dr. Hynes is in the first camp. He is truly putting students first.”
Again we ask, why? Why has this train wreck not been halted? Why are we still “full steam ahead!”? Does money from philanthropists and the twisted vision of Arne Duncan really get to ruin this generation of learners? Because it sure looks that way, if no one steps up.