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View Diary: The wilting common core (18 comments)

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  •  Seriously? (5+ / 0-)
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    Catte Nappe, Youffraita, elfling, Yoshimi, FG

    You're posting one picture of part of one page of one kindergarten workbook as your explanation of the reasons for the controversy?

    Workbooks are generally accompanied by textbooks and teachers. Here, it is clear from the headings ("Test Prep," "Lesson Check," "Spiral Review") that the students do the work on this page after extensive teaching, in which presumably they would have been told and shown what to do on the worksheet.

    The teacher critique that you linked blames the Common Core standards for her district's stupid policies requiring word-for-word scripted lessons and excessive emphasis on data in teacher evaluations. Neither of these have anything to do with the Common Core standards. They have to do with poor management by the upper levels of educational adminstration. Scripted lessons existed (to the shame of the educational profession, imho) long before the Common Core standards were developed, and "accountability" based on "data" is the trend in all teacher evaluations everywhere these days -- again, not because of Common Core; the two things just happen to be occurring at the same moment in time.

    Diane Ravitch (the "researcher" -- although she is much more than that; she is the pre-eminent voice of sanity in today's increasingly nightmarish version of public education) doesn't actually criticize the Common Core standards; she criticizes the effusive, overblown predictions that are being made about what their effect will be. She rightly points out that there are a lot of other really terrible things happening in education, and the Common Core won't fix those things.

    Bottom line: There is an extensive, rich, and intense discussion to be had about the benefits and drawbacks of the Common Core standards. This diary isn't it.

    "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

    by NWTerriD on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 12:40:02 PM PST

    •  PS - (5+ / 0-)
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      Youffraita, elfling, Yoshimi, FG, houyhnhnm

      I support and agree with your desire to be sure we have the best educational system possible, and your critique of the role of for-profit players in the "reform" movement. They are killing education. I just don't agree that the CC is the villain here.

      The for-profit publishers etc are going to find ways to profit off of the educational system regardless of what standards are in place. We need to fight them directly, not obliquely by attacking the standards that, from what I've seen, are likely to be an improvement over a lot of what was previously in place.

      I also agree with Ravitch that it doesn't make sense to do high-stakes testing (high-stakes for kids and even higher-stakes for teacher) during the first year or two that a new regime of standards is in place. Give the system time to implement the standards before using them as a basis for making irrevocable decisions about people's lives.

      But none of that is a critique of the standards themselves.

      "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

      by NWTerriD on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 12:47:09 PM PST

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      •  Agreed - CC not necessarily the villain (2+ / 0-)
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        NWTerriD, Mostel26

        I agree that for-profit are going to make their money any way they can.  A big policy such as Common Core or NCLB provides a large opportunity for the for-profits.  
        Support for CC is diminishing.  This is a fact.  That does not mean it is the villain.  It is simply the state of things.  And, maybe the lack of support will help policymakers and educators work together to make it work.  I expect CC will stay and hopefully, over the long term, there will be a back and forth through the implementation process to have the core values (no pun intended) of Common Core implemented - to provide equity in standards and to push towards deep learning and skill building for students.

        ------ Enjoying the gift of an ordinary day

        by DocRunning on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 01:35:20 PM PST

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    •  Yes there is a long discussion (2+ / 0-)
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      NWTerriD, Yoshimi

      But this wasn't the point of the diary.  There are pros to common core and many of those currently opposing it still believe there is value in it.  The problem seems to stem from implementation, which was not given the time or resources to be successful.  And sure, a workbook is accompanied by many other things, but if a kindergartner brings home "homework" that the parent can't figure out how to help their child with, than certainly the implementation is questionable.  Education reform is constantly trying to reinvent the wheel instead of building all the good that is already in schools.

      ------ Enjoying the gift of an ordinary day

      by DocRunning on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 01:30:25 PM PST

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      •  My wife who is a teacher thinks CC (4+ / 0-)

        is great but the standards are a lot higher than what is currently being taught in most schools in the U.S. Her concern is that when students start doing poorly in school because of the leap in what they should be learning at their grade level, that parents will blame CC.

        If I were to do a rollput of CC, I wouldn't adopt if for the entire school, I'd start it with kindegarten and bring the school onboard as those kindegarteners make their way to the 12th grade.

      •  "not given the time or resources to be successful" (1+ / 0-)
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        houyhnhnm

        Sounds like everything else in this "cut-the-funding/blame-the-teacher/all-we-need-is-accountability" era that we are having to live through in education these days.

        My advisor when I went through my certification program a decade ago told me he was really glad he wasn't entering the profession at that time, because big changes were underway and things were really going to get ugly. (A year or two later, I heard through the grapevine that he had gotten out of education.)

        I didn't fully know what he was meant at that time, but it's sure become obvious as the nose on my face in the years since. I left the legal profession for reasons that weren't nearly as ugly as the deforms that have been happening in education.

        "Those who can, teach. Those who can't, pass laws about teaching."

        "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

        by NWTerriD on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 01:56:12 PM PST

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    •  I would agree with you here (3+ / 0-)
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      NWTerriD, Cassandra Waites, houyhnhnm

      There seem to be some pretty dramatic differences in implementation state to state that impact how people feel about Common Core, and lots of side things that are coming at the same time.

      Teachers in my area that I've talked to are optimistic about the changes that will let them spend more time on fewer topics. There is evidence to suggest this is better for developing learning skill and problem solving, that it is less emphasis on a wide range of disparate facts and more about being able to know a topic backwards and forwards.

      I was watching a poultry knowledge contest recently that involved smart, dedicated kids in the 11-13 age range. All these kids came from different school systems.

      The question was, "Marek's disease is caused by a virus. Spell virus."

      30 seconds went by; none dared to ring in to answer. (There is a large penalty for a wrong answer in this contest.)

      I am confident that all these kids can spell virus under ordinary circumstances. Probably all of them could have named Marek's as an example of a poultry virus or told you it was caused by a virus. But this was a question they weren't used to answering, and they couldn't process it.

      This is how standardized tests frequently trip kids up, and it's also an example of the hazard of drilling them on a wide range of facts that are always presented in a particular way. This skill -- to think on your feet and be able to answer a novel question that uses facts you already know in an unexpected way -- is one of the most valuable skills we can develop. It's really hard, but I think part of the idea of Common Core is to build this kind of mental agility.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 01:54:31 PM PST

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      •  (Just to add) (0+ / 0-)

        In this particular example, I have observed all the kids who were up at the time in multiple locations on multiple occasions, so I'm pretty familiar with their skills; I'm not guessing. :-)

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 01:55:58 PM PST

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      •  DOK -1 (0+ / 0-)

        Light is seen through a small hole.

        by houyhnhnm on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 04:42:16 PM PST

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        •  ??? (0+ / 0-)

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 05:43:47 PM PST

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          •  I thought the question (to spell virus) (0+ / 0-)

            was DOK minus 1. DOK stands for depth of knowledge -- a ranking of the complexity of test questions -- from 1(simple recall) to 5(synthesis).

            Light is seen through a small hole.

            by houyhnhnm on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 06:25:45 PM PST

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            •  Aha. I don't know the jargon. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              houyhnhnm

              It's a simple question for an adult. But they were all just completely unable to parse it. They sat there for 30 seconds and let it go rather than answer it. None of them expected a spelling question. It was so 'easy' perhaps that they assumed that they didn't understand the ask.

              After they'd had a few spelling questions of that type, one of the kids started answering them, and then they all did, and on much more challenging words too.

              Practice.

              One of the things I don't like about this contest format is the penalty for guessing. It's +5 for correct and -5 for a wrong answer, even a partially wrong answer. IMHO it might be okay for the older kids, but for the younger kids, it extinguishes guessing, which I quite dislike.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:27:22 PM PST

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