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    Another untested therefore dangerous theory is being foisted on public schools. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are still being written but we already have schedules for implementation. Budget strained school districts across the country are spending money on CCSS implementation. This is not a reasonable approach when radically changing education in America. A new airplane design is tested, a new marketing system is piloted but a radical and significant restructuring of public education is being instituted with no field tests. Diane Ravitch recently wrote, “The Common Core will be implemented in 45 states without that kind of trial. No one knows if they will raise expectations and achievement, whether they will have no effect, whether they will depress achievement, or whether they will be so rigorous that they increase the achievement gaps.” This risky endeavor with the future of America’s children should be abandoned. It is based on bad education philosophy; however, if this foolish approach to education reform cannot be stopped at the minimum it should be implemented in a prudent way. Slow down the entrepreneurs lusting for new business, be responsible stewards for America’s schools and run some thorough field tests on these proposed Common Core State Standards.

      A recently released Brookings Institute Study called “The 2012 Brown Center Report on American Education: HOW WELL ARE AMERICAN STUDENTS LEARNING?” tells us “Don’t let the ferocity of the oncoming debate fool you. The empirical evidence suggests that the Common Core will have little effect on American students’ achievement. The nation will have to look elsewhere for ways to improve its school”
    The Professional Educators of Tennessee’s blog site has a primer on the CCSS which quotes several expert views:

    “The Obama administration has pressed hard for the speedy acceptance of the so-called common core standards, arguing that the establishment of centralized norms replacing those in 50 states will raise the achievement of students who most need help. The opponents say that a system created in Washington will become captive to the education establishment, and that the standards, as currently written, will promote mediocrity across the board. …
     “Critic Alfie Kohn, the author of a dozen books on education and human behavior, states ‘uniformity isn’t the same thing as excellence; high standards don’t require common standards. And neither does uniformity promote equity’….
     “Sandra Stotsky a professor of education reform at the University of Arkansas takes a different approach, but reaches a similar conclusion:   ‘The Common Core standards may accomplish the  goal of equalizing education but not in a way the supporters initially hoped: they may lead to more uniformly mediocre student achievement than we now have.…’
     “Bruce Fuller, a professor of education and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, suggested: ‘standards threaten to further routinize pedagogy, filling students with bits of reified knowledge — leaving behind the essence, the humanistic genius of liberal learning.’ Then Fuller points out: ‘The strange thing in all this is that the political left is now preaching the virtues of systems, uniformity and sacred knowledge. Lost are the virtues of liberal learning, going back to the Enlightenment when progressives first nudged educators to nurture in children a sense of curiosity and how to question dominant doctrine persuasively.’”
    Jim Arnold  Pelham City, Ga., school chief writes:
    “Common Core is a standardized national curriculum. Why is this problematic? From an historical context, a centralized school curriculum serves the goals of totalitarian states. Jefferson warned us about that.
     “There are additional issues: 1) there are few interdisciplinary connections between subjects. Research for many years has shown the positive effects of interdisciplinary connections on student learning and achievement; 2) citizenship, personal development and the promotion of democratic values is ignored.
     “It is rather troubling to note the number of educational ‘reforms’ that ignore educational research, as if invoking the magic word ‘reform’ is enough to allow any imposition however implausible.
     “With adoption of the Common Core standards, you can rest assured that Common Core standardized testing is not far behind. How can we expect a single, nationwide standardized ‘pick-a-bubble’ machine scored test to effectively measure what is taught in practically every school system in the United States? The documented testing issues we already see with state assessments will increase exponentially.”
    Lynn Stoddard a retired educator from Utah and the author of four books on the need for authentic reform of public education wrote this month in the Deseret News, “One big problem with the Common Core Curriculum, recently adopted by Utah and 46 other states, is this feature. It specifies what all students should know and be able to do at grade-level check points. It pressures teachers, with excessive testing; to make students fit the curriculum. The testing draws forth low level teaching by trying to measure student growth in likenesses. Never mind that it's impossible to standardize students; the Common Core is exactly what it says it is, ‘common.’ It tries to make students "common" in knowledge and skills. It's a generic, narrow curriculum designed by subject matter specialists who have never even met the students it is designed to serve.”
    There are several valid reasons why so many voices across the nation are speaking out against the CCSS. (1) They are untested, so no one knows whether they will work or not. (2) They are based on a bad theory of pedagogy. It is a theory of pedagogy that encourages direct instruction and the development of fact knowledge and the accountability portion will narrow curriculum. What is tested is what is taught in a high stakes environment. It is the behavioral theory of education that was promoted by Edgar Thorndike and BF Skinner. (3) Professionals in the classroom have had no authentic input into the standards development which means the standards are not likely to be appropriate for various aged students. They are being written by university professors, noble laureates and businessmen none of whom have a reputation for knowing how to teach even at the college level and are especially clueless about how to teach third graders. (4) Who has control over the standards is a big concern. Are the standards being perverted for various business or religious or political purposes?  
    In his recent book Teaching Minds, Roger Schank - the founder of the renowned Institute for Learning Sciences at Northwestern University, where he is John P. Evans Professor Emeritus in Computer Science, Education and Psychology – makes several important points about good pedagogy. He point out, “There is no evidence whatsoever that accumulation of facts and background knowledge are the same thing. In fact, there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Facts learned out of context, and apart from actual real-world experience that is repeated over and over, are not retained.”
    In another section of the book, Dr. Schank quotes many politicians and describes their lack of understanding about how people learn and why they support accountability. He states:
    “Accountability must play well in Peoria because every politician is for it.
     “Accountability must mean to voters, I assume, that teacher will be measured by how well they teach their students. Political candidates, always willing to hop on an uncontroversial point of view, are all quite certain that the voters know what they are talking about. No matter how stupid NCLB is, no matter how mean spirited, no matter how awful for both teachers and students, its very horror rests on the premise that no one seems to be disputing that the federal government has the right to tell the schools what to teach and to see whether they are indeed teaching it.”
    In his book Dr. Schank excoriates the quality of teaching at universities. He attributes the poor quality of teaching to what he calls the star system in higher education. Universities that want high ratings look for Nobel Prize winners and other internationally famous professors. They do not look for good teachers. Dr. Schank himself came to Northwestern via the star system when Northwestern made him a better offer than Yale was willing to match. The point is that quality of teaching is not a consideration, yet these same professors who gained fame through the star system and not their understanding of pedagogy are writing the CCSS.
    Dr. Schank shares and interesting anecdote to bolster this point:
    “At MIT, where students are different than they are at Northwestern by quite a bit, there are a number of superstars that I know quite well. Two of them, whom I will not name but are about as famous as a professor can be, are people I have heard lecture many times. I have never understood what they were talking about in any of those lectures. Now, bear in mind that I know their fields very well so I should have been able to understand them. Also, bear in mind that I was a terrible student, which means my attention fades fast when I am bored or irritated.”

     The CCSS are purported to be the result of a group of states voluntarily agreeing to a set of curricular standards. The reality is the Gates foundation paid to develop the standards, paid to evaluate the standards, and is underwriting Pearson’s program to create online courses and resources for the standards, which will be sold by Pearson, for a profit, to schools across the nation. We are told, “The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an effort led by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers.” However, the reality is different. An example of the real process is the present Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which are in progress. Officially the NGSS development is “a joint effort between the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve.” When queried about the NGSS the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and Achieve are the only sites that give current information. The information at NSTA is illuminating:
    “In a process managed by Achieve, 26 states are leading the development of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The science education community got a first glimpse of the NGSS draft when it was released during the first public comment period from May 11 through June 1. According to Achieve, the writers are now working to review all of the comments and develop a second draft to be released for public comment in the fall 2012. Achieve has removed the first draft from the web while it undergoes revision."
     Achieve is the lead partner writing the science standards, but achieve is a private non-profit that is only accountable to its founders and donors. The Achieve web site lists their contributors:
    "The Battelle Foundation; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; The Boeing Company; Brookhill Foundation; Carnegie Corporation of New York; The Cisco Foundation; The GE Foundation; IBM Corporation; Intel Foundation; JP Morgan Chase Foundation; The Joyce Foundation; Lumina; MetLife Foundation; Nationwide; Noyce Foundation; The Prudential Foundation; Sandler Foundation; State Farm Insurance Companies; and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation."
So it is really these corporations and foundations who are writing the NGSS. The people of this country and professional educators have already lost control of these standards. They are in the control of these corporations which is exactly what is to be feared, an unaccountable group gaining sway over national education standards.
      The state of New York recently published some sample English language and mathematics Common Core questions for third graders. Jeff Nichols a parent of a 3rd grader responded, “Well, I looked at the sample 3rd grade ELA questions. Utterly bizarre (sic). I would never put this material in front of my 8-year-olds (avid, enthusiastic, proficient readers both). The Tolstoy translation is stilted and boring, and full of inappropriate vocabulary (hoarfrost? caftan? threshing-floor?) It's as though the selection were made to project this to the kids: "reading is excruciatingly dull and confusing; maybe you thought you could do it, but I'm here to tell you 8-year-olds are stupid and teachers (and test designers) are smart. You're going to have to work like a dog and suffer a lot if you want to pass this test." Honestly, I thought the practice tests that came home all year as homework were bad, but they were just meaty, unreadable trivial passages followed by absurd and confusing questions. This CC sample is worse: it's perverse, overtly hostile to young children. A former 3rd grade teacher commented, “I just looked at the 3rd grade math assessment and they are asking the children to understand algebra.” They are asking third graders to understand algebra because it is in the CCSS math standards for third grade. These standards and tests are not ready for prime time. They are being rushed through without regard for the possible damage.
      Stephen Krashen is professor emeritus at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education. He recently wrote:
    “The mediocre performance of American students on international tests seems to show that our schools are doing poorly. But students from middle-class homes who attend well-funded schools rank among the best in world on these tests, which means that teaching is not the problem. The problem is poverty. Our overall scores are unspectacular because so many American children live in poverty (23 percent, ranking us 34th out of 35 “economically advanced countries”).
     “Poverty means inadequate nutrition and health care, and little access to books, all associated with lower school achievement. Addressing those needs will increase achievement and better the lives of millions of children.
     “How can we pay for this? Reduce testing. The common core demands an astonishing increase in testing, far more than needed and far more than the already excessive amount required by No Child Left Behind.
     “The cost will be enormous. New York City plans to spend over half a billion dollars on technology in schools, primarily so that students can take the electronically delivered national tests. Research shows that increasing testing does not increase achievement. A better investment is protecting children from the effects of poverty, in feeding the animal, not just weighing it.”
     We are in a period in which states across the country are slashing education budgets but the CCSS which will cost billions up front for: text books; infrastructure such as high speed networks, new software and more computers; training; consultants; tests; and much more is being pushed through as if it were going to stop the end of civilization. This push to spend money we don’t have on standards that are not fully developed and are based on questionable pedagogical theory is unreasonable. The only thing certain about the CCSS is that a lot of private businesses will make a lot of money. A likely outcome of CCSS is less money will reach the classroom and another likely outcome is that education in America will be harmed!

Originally posted to tultican on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 05:15 PM PDT.

Also republished by Teachers Lounge, Education Alternatives, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you. (11+ / 0-)

    I've had my doubts about the CC, and now you've reinforced them nicely. Next week I take a two day course on them, so that I am able to implement them next year in my high school classes.

    Yeesh, yet another clusterflop in education. My enthusiasm is waning rapidly...

    •  We've Been Doing That Too (14+ / 0-)

      I teach at a very low-income school district, and over the past year we've spent our non-instructional days poring over the standards for our disciplines and grade-levels, working to take the general guidelines that the CC provides, and translating them into strategies, units, and lessons for our actual classes. I'm actually pretty grateful that my administrator carved out plenty of time for us to do that.

      Perhaps its partly because my state's existing Standard Course of Study/Curriculum is a huge, baggy monster, I've found the CC to be much more useful for actual instructional planning. They also seem to focus more on higher-order thinking than our old curriculum did. But the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, of course. Good luck! I'd enjoy hearing your thoughts after you've done the training.

      You cannot hate people for their own good. -- Unknown

      by IamGumby on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 08:54:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Higher level thinking - (0+ / 0-)

        analysis, synthesis and evaluation are a part of the curriculum. STEM utilizes inquiry methods with open-ended learning. While I am not a huge fan of all that is labeled reform, to paint the common core standards as a conspiracy to create sameness and mediocrity is a reach. Undoubtedly, the impact will be somewhere in the middle between the extremes of disaster and the magic bullet. Your approach to looking at them in context of what you do and job you have without preconceived notions about inherent good or evil seems very reasonable. I tend to respect those who are actually doing the work rather than pontificating about it.

        If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living. - Gail Sheehy

        by itisuptous on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 09:02:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  hmm... (21+ / 0-)

      So, one of the areas of emphasis in the Common Core ELA literacy standards for science (and other areas too) is the ability to write and critique arguments.  An argument consists of a claim, evidence and resasoning (OK, warrants, rebuttals, too).  Let's do a bit of critique...

      This diary seems like it had a claim and then stitched together evidence to support it.  However, the evidence doesn't really fit the claim.

      Example 1:  There is no comparison between the development process of Common Common Core and Next Gen Science.  None.  Do any amount of research and you will see that the processes are VERY different....from funding (neither are corporate) to writing teams to critique processes.

      Example 2:  It is a faulty assumption to assume that because a non-profit gets funding from corporations that it only serves corporate interests.  The fact that Achieve is funded by Gates (and others) may influence the standards...or not - you need to dig deeper.  I'm familiar with the Next Gen process and am very confident that the people at the table are the right people (scientists, engineers, classroom teachers, cognitive scientists, science ed publishing companies).

      Example 3:  The Shank book simply does not fit.  The book is about crappy university teaching. Common Core is K-12. However, perhaps we can make some connections. The crappy pedagogy he describes is direct instruction on isolated facts -- trivia pursuit.  This is actually the "norm" in many K-12 classrooms as a result of the current batch of standards and fact-driven standardized tests.  Common Core (and Next Gen Science) are not fact-driven and require much deeper thinking by students.  The standards cover less content by focusing deeper on core concepts.  The new tests being created for common core are focused on performance on complicated "authentic" problems.  So, Shank's book actually becomes a HUGE proponent FOR Common Core and Next Gen Science.

      •  More problems with this diary... (17+ / 0-)

        Example 4.  You tell the story about stupid Common Core Assessment questions from New York.  However, you cite a blog ( and ignore the source (

        If you go to the primary source, you quickly realize that New York State put out draft questions to illustrate the differences in what students will need to be able to do with assessments based on common core.  However, the questions released are NOT COMMON CORE ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS.  NY State clearly states:

        The sample questions are teaching tools for educators and can be shared freely with students and parents. They are designed to help illuminate the way the Common Core should drive instruction and how students will be assessed starting in the 2012-13 school year.

        NYSED is eager for feedback on these sample questions. Your input will inform us as we develop next year’s assessments.
        These Questions Are NOT Test Samplers

        These sample questions are a change from what NYSED has traditionally provided to schools to illustrate changes to assessments. They were developed primarily for the purposes of communications and training. They are not test samplers, and are not meant to mirror full-length assessments. Additional information about the composition of the full-length assessments will be provided by NYSED during the summer.

        The sample questions were designed to emphasize the instructional shifts demanded by the Common Core, so some sample questions do not look exactly the same as what will be on future state assessments.

        •  This Critique . . . (10+ / 0-)

          . . . is excellent, and raised questions that I had as well for this diary; however, since I've only been working with the CC at the school/instructional level, I am not as well-informed about how the CC was developed, and how it is being implemented in other states.

          But my limited experience confirms what you've pointed out, especially in terms of more complicated tasks that require critical thinking and evaluation rather than remembering and applying. As an example from the work I've been doing with my colleagues, an old standard from our existing state curriculum asks that students be able to identify and interpret figurative language (metaphors, hyperbole, etc). So students would read examples of figurative language, discuss them in class or in groups, and then take tests that might ask them to identify the type of figurative language in a passage, and explain its denotation and connotation. This type of question can be easily plugged into a multiple-choice test.

          In our training on CC, we are working to take assignments like that and move them into higher levels of thinking. So after students become competent in identifying and interpreting figurative language (foundational skills), they will be asked to answer far more complex, open-ended questions: for example, they might write, present, or participate in a shared-inquiry discussion tackling the question, "What does our enjoyment of figurative language tell us about how we use language to make meaning?"

          I am a little concerned about criticisms of the Common Core that neglect to look at the actual standards themselves in some detail. As I think I said before, by all means should we be aware of its development and implementation, and we should certainly scrutinize any attempt to turn a profit from the CC very closely. But the standards themselves (which are freely available online:  Common Core) deserve reasonably neutral assessment.

          (Personal rant alert: Why do schools or teachers need prefabricated educational materials? The most committed teachers in my school already seek out opportunities for continued training, and actively work to create high-quality, critical and evaluative interdisciplinary lessons and units for their own classrooms. When they share their work with colleagues, less enthusiastic teachers often find themselves getting excited about changing their practices. There are probably teachers out there who would like nothing better than to be handed a shiny package of stuff that would do their job for them, but I think they are a significant minority.)

          Thanks for your excellent comments.

          You cannot hate people for their own good. -- Unknown

          by IamGumby on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 06:19:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

          If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living. - Gail Sheehy

          by itisuptous on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 09:08:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The implementation is the Problem (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        StrayCat, quill, Lh1695

        I have no real problem with the way the standards are written or the sincere effort people have put into devising standards that will improve pedagogy. I also think a national curriculum which can be implemented by school districts as they see fit is a great idea. A well written curriculum is important and possibly these CCSS could be used by schools and universities as a beginning of a nationally developed and studied curriculum.

        However as soon as accountability from outside of the local school board is mandated with tests mandated by federal edicts under penalty of loss of funds; the good intentions will be eclipsed. Teacher will not be using PBL to prepare for the Pearson corporation tests. CCSS in fact promise more testing than ever. The tests will become the real standards. What is tested will be what is taught. Publishers will develop programs to help schools achieve high marks on the tests. CCSS will inevitably lead to fact teaching and narrowed curriculum because that is the nature of standards based education enforced by accountability.

        •  Implementation is the key (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and that is why teacher unions and leadership need to be involved in the process. The practitioner voice, experience and feedback is essential. From gaining teacther buy-in on the front-end to listenting to them throughout the implementation to making modifications based upon experience - teacher unions can and should be playing a value-added role. There are those who subvert the process for profit, but we do not have to let them do it.  

          If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living. - Gail Sheehy

          by itisuptous on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 09:15:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You are right - (0+ / 0-)

        It is just not as simple as this diary would lead us to believe.

        If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living. - Gail Sheehy

        by itisuptous on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 09:05:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't see anything wrong with the goals (17+ / 0-)

    either in the Common Core Literacy in Science  and Technology standards or the Framework for K-12 Science Education.  They are laudable goals.

    I have not read all 283 pages of the draft framework (which I downloaded while it was still available).  A lot of it is specific content standards, but what I have skimmed through looks appropriate and complete.

    The general process skills that are to woven throughout the curricula  seem like goods ones to me.

    By grade 12 students should be able to:
     Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds—for example: Why are there
    seasons? What do bees do? Why did that structure collapse? How is electric power
     Distinguish a scientific question (e.g., Why do helium balloons rise?) from a
    nonscientific question (Which of these colored balloons is the prettiest?).
     Formulate and refine questions that can be answered empirically in a science
    classroom and use them to design an inquiry or construct a pragmatic solution.
     Ask probing questions that seek to identify the premises of an argument, request
    further elaboration, refine a research question or engineering problem, or challenge
    the interpretation of a data set—for example: How do you know? What evidence
    supports that argument?
     Note features, patterns, or contradictions in observations and ask questions about
     For engineering, ask questions about the need or desire to be met in order to define
    constraints and specifications for a solution.
    I'm willing to embrace all of those goals.  The problem is how do you get there from here.  I don't know and I don't really see that anybody knows.

    I do know that there is one thing that scares me more than science standards that are impossibly ambitious, though, and that is having no standards at all.  Common core standards, it seems to me, are a weapon with which to fight those who would replace science with pseudoscience, fairy tales and superstition.

    Light is seen through a small hole.

    by houyhnhnm on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 08:34:35 PM PDT

    •  Why do our political leaders continue to ignore (14+ / 0-)

      the evidence staring them in the face? The hypothesis that we can improve education for impoverished students by administering tests has failed, repeatedly. Implementing a large, expensive, disruptive program that has not yet been tested on a smaller scale is the opposite of scientific. It is embracing the pseudoscience of magical multiple choice exams over the concrete evidence which demonstrates that poverty is the biggest hindrance to acquiring a decent education in our country.

      I went to a school with lots of poor kids. Kids who would eat food off the ground during lunch. Some teachers were great and cared deeply, others stunk, most were somewhere in between, leaning towards the good side. However, even the best teachers couldn't overcome the fact that many of the students, who were struggling with basic survival day in and day out, simply weren't going to be able to make algebra and biology a priority. No test in the world will ever change that.

      My belly was fed and I had a decent roof over my head so I did alright in school, but I could easily see why many of my peers were not focused on academics. They were hungry. They were stressed. They were literally fighting to survive.

      Run for office. It's fun!

      by Alfonso Nevarez on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 09:13:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The purpose of common standards (17+ / 0-)

        as I see it, is about having a consensus of what  a scientifically literate citizen should know and what intellectual skills a high school graduate should be able to exercise.  I think it is important to reach that consensus and I'm am sure that you are not suggesting that there should be a lower standard for poor children.

        Naturally assessments will follow and assessments are the problem.

        I'm going to have to withdraw the word "complete" in my comment above.  I have looked more closely at the physical science content standards and I can't say that i find them complete.

        For example, all I could find about periodic trends was the following:

        Atoms side by side in the periodic table are close to each other in mass and differ by 1 in their numbers of protons. They have different chemical properties.

        Atoms above or below the other in the periodic table have similar chemical properties but differ significantly in mass and atomic number.  

        The periodic table can be used to see the patterns of chemical behavior based on patterns of atomic structure.

        So, what do I teach? Just atomic number and mass? Electron configuration? Atomic radii trends? Electronegativity?  I could teach all of those topics and they could have a question about ionization energies on the test and I'm screwed.

        Or I could teach all of the above and discover that students had not made the connection to chemical properties.

        The problem is that the standards become ever more general while the assessment items remain fairly specific (I mean, how do you assess this?"The periodic table can be used to see the patterns of chemical behavior based on patterns of atomic structure."

        The problem is not only that the assessment instruments poorly designed but that they are being used by people who want to further an anti-democratic agenda.

        But that doesn't mean there shouldn't be standards.

        BTW, I teach in a school that is 87% free and reduced lunch eligible, 85% minority, half ELL (many of them refugees).  It is not reasonable to expect them to score the same as affluent kids in the suburbs and it is evil to try to use those lower scores as an excuse to destroy public education and deprive them of any education at all (because that's what will happen.  The charter school utopia is a fairy tale.)

        I still think there should be standards.  There should be a society-wide consensus on what an educated person should know in the 21st century or else we are headed for a new Dark Age.

        Light is seen through a small hole.

        by houyhnhnm on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 09:58:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Any of you remember the Harvard Classics? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril, Linda Wood, StrayCat

          My folks had the 'five foot shelf'. I read some of them...

          I'm not big on required reading as much as a list of the highest recommended books. Personally, I would even like a list that has rec, ok and don't bother. (My suggestions for the last are Catcher in the Rye and Gone with the Wind.)

          I am bookmarking this for the very detailed comments that are very appreciated. This has been a concern for me that has taken a back seat to many others, largely because my children have been out of K-12 since '03.

          My only addition is (you may already know) the Naperville, IL PE program explained by Ratey in Spark. Ultimately, the physical fitness of a student greatly improves their mental fitness and doesn't take that much time.

          Food, facilities, etc are a political piece that needs much more fighting. Another tax battle to redistribute SOME of the wealth....

          "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

          by Ginny in CO on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 12:18:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  And common standards (13+ / 0-)

          help poor kids. Poor kids are far more likely to move and to switch schools. Continuity in curriculum through a common set of standards for each grade can help alleviate that disruption.

          "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

          by kyril on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 04:14:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I was educated in Germany 40 years ago (4+ / 0-)

          We had "common core state standards" that were tested in the "Abitur" -- the high school exit test which figured strongly in the options open to students who wanted to enter higher education. By the way, I "clepped" out of 30 semester hours for college in the US based on my high school education in Germany.

          The CLEP test was my first multiple choice test ever. All our testing in Germany was open-ended and required the student to demonstrate how he or she arrived at the final answer, and do it coherently using progressive logic, effective language and proper grammar. It was not just a "show your work" but a "show your thinking" approach.

          In addition to core subjects, we were expected to know how to read music, critique a work of art, and do a close reading of a poem. The idea was to educate every student to become a well-rounded, knowledgeable citizen whose many intellectual skills included an appreciation for culture as well -- in short, a Renaissance person, not a skilled marketable commodity.

          As I become more familiar with CCSS, I see a hint of that Renaissance spirit that tries to weave the strands of knowledge into a coherent whole. What good is all that highly specialized knowledge if we cannot connect it to the bigger picture? How can we solve the grave problems that are facing our species and our earth if we continue to think and act in isolated silos?

          The devil will be in the details, of course. However, it is a start in the right direction.

          If money is speech, then speech is money and I should be able to pay my bills with witty social commentary, astute political analysis or good old blarney

          by heiderose1 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 07:03:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  however, your premise might be completey wrong... (12+ / 0-)

        Yes, the testing part is out of balance right now.  However, there is plenty of research to show that the curriculum in many schools is incoherent, trivia-mania, and superficial.  Good "common" standards will help teachers do their job better.

        •  Is there a state you can point to that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tultican, Lisa, quill

          has adopted a comparable set of standards? I'd love to see whether or not such standards have made any difference, before deploying this nationwide. The costs associated with implementation of this kind of program will be significant, and it will take a lot of effort from teachers and administrators to ensure lesson plans will conform to these standards. It's not as if the stakeholders have been sitting around with nothing to do waiting for yet another bureaucratic mandate to come along and create more work for them. I would hope that we can at least say that these standards will achieve something, and that we have the evidence to prove it. And I would hope that these top down standards would at least come with some funding, but of course that isn't going to happen is it. What could be the harm in placing more fiscal and professional burdens on our nations educators?

          Run for office. It's fun!

          by Alfonso Nevarez on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 05:13:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes (8+ / 0-)

            The CC standards are, in large part, based on the MA standards. MA ranks in the top three (with CA and VT) in student achievement by whatever metric you choose.

            Now, CC is not identical--but MA was the standard they were shooting for. Most state's current standards are considered a joke compared to MA's.

            "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

            by ChurchofBruce on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 06:42:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  MN and VA have both adopted strong standards. (9+ / 0-)

            I am sure there are others.

            However, we can also look at the opposite side of this.  We have plenty of research (look at William Schmidt's work as an example) that shows that our current standards are fact-based and often incoherent.  By incoherent, I mean that topics are introduced before pre-requisites are introduced.

            We also have plenty of research that shows that our current standards are overburdened with fragmented concepts.  We "cover" more content than almost any other country and rarely get into depth at any grade level.  This overburdened curriculum leads to one of the biggest complaints I hear when teachers try to do higher-level inquiry /problem solving / project-based learning -- No TIME to do extended work while still covering everything in the curriculum.  And, these strategies (learning, PBL, etc) DO have a strong research base showing improved learning across all demographics (special needs, racial groups, students in poverty, etc)

            Yes, it is the responsibility for districts and schools to implement these standards -- and it should be.  If districts have weak instructional leadership, they will do a crappy job & Common Core won't have much of an impact.  If districts have strong instructional leadership, good things will happen.

      •  Yes... HELLO!!! (I agree!) (7+ / 0-)

        My emphatic, dramatic "HELLO!!!" is motivated by the big fat elephant in the room (or donkey, given that the Obama admin has been driving this) that cheerleader after cheerleader for these reforms, like common core, continues to ignore. So much so that I'll state it again, exactly as stated by Krashen in the diary, with some bold to boot:

        “The mediocre performance of American students on international tests seems to show that our schools are doing poorly. But students from middle-class homes who attend well-funded schools rank among the best in world on these tests, which means that teaching is not the problem. The problem is poverty. Our overall scores are unspectacular because so many American children live in poverty (23 percent, ranking us 34th out of 35 “economically advanced countries”).

        “Poverty means inadequate nutrition and health care, and little access to books, all associated with lower school achievement. Addressing those needs will increase achievement and better the lives of millions of children.

        “How can we pay for this? Reduce testing. The common core demands an astonishing increase in testing, far more than needed and far more than the already excessive amount required by No Child Left Behind.

        Another elephant in the room is the first, last and most lasting influence on the children:
        Remember them?

        This aint to beat up on the folks at home, but to simply state a FACT. I taught in the poorest inner city neighborhoods, with high populations of Latino and Black kids, and I will tell you that even some of the sweetest, gentlest parents (not to mention those who barely spoke to their kids except to bark out orders, even cussing at them, and I am talking kids in Kindergarten, kids in the damn baby carriage!), if you were to visit them in their homes (I did), would not have a book in sight. A TV, yes. A book, no.

        Nobody was reading at home. Get it, trendy education reformers and assorted cheerleaders? Extrapolate, because books are simply expressive language, the written word instead of the spoken word. Word. Words! Words, language, the richness of communication, even if communication in the native language, if it was, say, Spanish (a good portion was), was deficient. This lends itself very dramatically to success in school, or the lack thereof. You simply cannot put this burden, that of overcoming this yawning deficit, so disproportionately on the teacher, esp since EARLY language devel - babies, tots - is key to what comes later.

        Oh, but they do!

        And they have promoted this flawed message with no shortage of intensive propagandizing by the corporate media, who robustly, often nastily, finger wagged at teachers and unions while tipping their hats for such reforms, echoing the politicians (esp when Obama's reform bomb, Race to the Top, was in full throttle mode - 2009 to 2010). All of this tied, of course, to why Johnny or Jamal cant learn.

        It's the awful teachers and their awful unions, stupid!  

        One might easily deduce from the lack of attention given to issues OUTside the classroom that impact performance INside the classroom that it is verboten to acknowledge that mighty donkephant in the room: the family's influence on kids school achievement.

        Hey, ya cant fire Mom or Dad (if he is around, and often Dad was not). They aint on the payroll for the job of raising their kids to be successful at school. Dont want to put much onus on them, as they may vote for you, and they may support the stuff you want to do, enable you to do it. Such as these reforms that give you a magic pill to swallow re academic success: It's the teacher, Stupid! This is especially relevant in this depressed, outsourced job landscape, where there is no reward in making these low strata folks more educated, more responsible, because then they might need more and better JOBS, which you cant provide... ie, they might become a healthy middle class demographic, in an unhealthy economy that seeks a shrinking, attenuated middle class. The only sort it can feed.

        Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

        by NYCee on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 11:33:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think this point (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NYCee, quill

          also goes to the question of whether we "want to" hold poor children to lower standards. Of course no one wants that. But practically speaking, children who start school with significant literacy and numeracy and critical thinking skills are going to blow through the curriculum at a different rate than those who don't.

          Is it up to the kindergarten teacher to equalize those differences? I think we can agree that that's not how it works, partly because while the disadvantaged kids are learning basic skills in kindergarten, parents of middle class kids don't want their kids idling -- they, too, are learning. So when does the catch-up happen? IME at various pre-k-12 grade levels, it doesn't, by and large. "Closing the Gap" has been the stated purpose of my local school district for YEARS. Doesn't mean it's happening.

          •  Snake Oil: Slap a feel-good mantra (5+ / 0-)

            on top of the reality. Hokey expectations they can sell to a lot of limousine liberals and folks who have NEVER set foot in a minority, inner city community, never mind taught for years in it. Or a poor rural community of white folks, for that matter. Makes for some great feel good movies though - five hanky tear jerkers. And while theyre at it, they can also sell it to some of the parents in these communities, as it requires no stress on them when it is all: Look outward as to where your kid's problem lies, at school: It is with the TEACHERS.

            The BS I hear spewing from these pols and their back up crew in the media, etc, reminds me of early 80's, burned out Bronx, where the city actually began to paint happy scenes (a smiling, waving child, a colorful flower pot... ) over the boarded up windows of abandoned buildings. This was, of course, to give the illusion of it being a far better place than it actually was.

            This also comes to mind when I read the mantra printed over and over on the opening page of reform queen Michelle Rhee's IMPACT curriculum. The messaging goes like this:

            • All children, regardless of background or circumstance,
            can achieve at the highest levels.
            There you have it, Exhibit A (for Audacious) of Reformer Lies. Rhee was lauded by Duncan and Obama. Corey Booker calls her his "Superwoman." Well, he's a big star in the Democrats for Education Reform movement. Pro voucher. The whole enchilada.

            An essential aspect to push their agenda thru, is to push the notion that folks are underselling and undercutting underachieving minority kids by saying it takes more than a teacher to raise a child.... to the highest levels. (Whatever happened to that village?)

            These reforms are framed as "The Civil Rights Issue of Our Time!" (by folks like Sharpton and his buddy, Gingrich, when they took the education agenda out on the road) Always accompanied by a hiss and a boo, a finger wagging of NO MORE EXCUSES, Teacher! if anyone dares to bring up the drawbacks of the family/community situation re achieving these lofty goals.

            One teacher of K-12 put it this way: I'm just waiting for these people behind these reforms to give me a house with 25 bedrooms, so I can raise as well as teach these kids... up to expectations.

            As you said, they certainly arent giving the teachers the green light for materials and methods, for class grouping, that addresses these needs - those of the academically deficient and those who are in the same room, yet not on the same page, academically. "Push in" to the mainstream classroom is all they seem to push, these days. Let the miracles begin!

            Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

            by NYCee on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 01:35:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  there was a funny (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tultican, StrayCat, NYCee

              email going around about applying the NCLB standards to the football team. Not so funny when you realize how well funded some football teams are.

              I work in special ed. There ARE differences between people, and some of them make it damnably hard to master the general ed curriculum, before adding in poverty or family dysfunction. I am relieved that my former director, who told us over and over that everyone could achieve at grade level, and should be in general ed no matter what, has moved on to more gullible pastures.

              I was at an IEP meeting not long ago where one of the teachers was chiding the student for saying he didn't do his homework because he didn't have a pencil. Well, with his mom sitting right there (and giving him $2 for Gatorade), it turns out he didn't have any pencils. The one "by the microwave" belonged to his brother.

              I don't think some of these "deformers" want to know how different life can be for kids in the same school or in the same city. Sometimes you just can't imagine it until something like this comes up.

      •  It's the Bush method of educational improvement (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Linda Wood, tultican, quill

        Make the test insanely difficult the first year, to ensure poor grades across the board. In future years, "improve" the scores by reducing the difficulty of the questions, while teaching exclusively "to the test."

        Here's how well it worked in TX:

        During that same time, scores on the SAT and ACT, the two main college entrance exams, dropped slightly. And half the students enrolling in public colleges statewide were so ill-prepared academically that they needed remedial coursework, causing a financial drain on colleges as well as taxpayers, who this biennium will spend $183 million to teach college students what they didn't learn in high school.
            ... At TSU [Texas Southern University], 79 percent of the entering freshmen needed remedial help in 2000-01, the most recent data.
        In addition, Pearson and other testing agencies have goals they are expected to meet, which differ by community. The scores in certain communities are required to meet certain expectations if they want hopes of continuing to receive contracts for testing services. As a result, they ensure the scores fall into those ranges.

        Just read the following expose for an idea of just how accurately these tests reflect our children's knowledge:

        •  Standards are not the same as tests. (5+ / 0-)

          Everything you have written discusses standardized TESTING, not educational standards. They're not the same. They're not even closely related.

          •  There's nothing inherently wrong with tests (0+ / 0-)

            either. Test contents and what the test grades are used for can be wildly different. The poster above decries standardized testing, but quotes 79% of entering freshman at TSU need remedial help. Well, I wonder how they determined that!

            Could it be they used standardized placement tests?

            TSU Placement Exams Info

            Most universities do placement tests. If a student hasn't met some criteria, usually based on a test like the SAT, they have to take a placement test. Their score then determines the highest level course they can register for.

            People hate tests, but how else do you figure out what courses 1300 freshman have a reasonable chance of succeeding in?

            •  They needed remedial help because (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Texas had changed its educational model from the traditional model to the "teach to the test" model.  

              There was a significant decline in student learning as a result. However, the state standard, as measured by the state's standardized testing, implied student learning had improved. This is because they manipulated the test, to ensure it would appear that students were doing better. Alas, the students were not actually doing better, as evidenced by both the SAT and the drastic increase in remedial education needed when they reached college.

              In other words, the manipulated standardized testing model left the students with significant learning deficits (which were not present in prior years) - and entirely unprepared for college - at great expense to the students and the taxpayers.

              •  I don't disagree with anything you've (0+ / 0-)

                said.  Dumbing down these tests has killed education for many students. The current standards for curriculum here ALLOW this because they aren't that rigorous. Because so much importance is placed on the damn things, schools with performance issues focus on the test, while schools in richer areas and schools that are able to select their students can teach for college preparedness because they don't have to worry that their students will flub these tests. If the standards were higher, they wouldn't be able to do that, regardless of what the test is going to cover.

          •  You measure attainment of the standard (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            with the test.

            •  And if the standard is higher... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Linda Wood

              The test really doesn't matter. Schools will have to show in their curricula that they are meeting the improved standards. If the students can graduate with a better education and rates of success increase, like more kids going to college, maybe it will actually help make the tests better. The only reason the tests are so poor in the first place is because the standards aren't very good either.  

    •  Very Well Put (5+ / 0-)

      Excellent comments.

      You cannot hate people for their own good. -- Unknown

      by IamGumby on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 09:25:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This comment shows what is wrong... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      about schools. By the 12th grade

      1. Students should be able to identify quotes from five different Shakespeare plays..
      2. Diagram a sentence.
      3. Explain the General Theory of Relativity, the three laws of thermodynamics.
      4. Solve a quadratic equation.
      5. Identify 12 different foreign capitals.
      6. Explain evolution.

      We have to get away from the bullshit.

      •  As a future teacher of English Language Arts, (7+ / 0-)

        I can think about 30 things I would consider more important to learn by 12th grade than diagramming a sentence.

        "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

        by ChurchofBruce on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 06:44:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As a Current Teacher . . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          . . . Who has taught College Freshman Composition, Middle School Language Arts, and High School English (Grades 9-12), neither can I.

          You cannot hate people for their own good. -- Unknown

          by IamGumby on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 08:47:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  D'oh! Correction: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ChurchofBruce, Cassandra Waites

            Responded too quickly. "Neither can I" should be "So can I." I was thinking along the lines of, "I can't think of many things that are less important to learn by 12th grade than diagramming a sentence."

            You cannot hate people for their own good. -- Unknown

            by IamGumby on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 08:49:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have a Ph.D. in a humanities discipline (0+ / 0-)

              I've published a book and over a dozen articles.  I have never diagrammed a sentence in my life.  

              "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

              by Nespolo on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 03:26:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Not an English teacher (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril, Linda Wood, AkaEnragedGoddess

          but as a science teacher I can see a case for teaching students to diagram sentences: 1)Analyzing language helps structure analytical thinking in general 2)The concepts of noun and verb lay the groundwork for the concepts of matter and energy.

          Light is seen through a small hole.

          by houyhnhnm on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 10:03:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The concept of noun, verb, etc. (0+ / 0-)

            is important (and hopefully you learn it long before 12th grade!), but the actual diagramming of sentences?

            I absolutely HATE diagramming sentences. Why? Because I don't need it. Diagramming is a crutch. Yes, some students need it; but, if I've got an AP class that shows me, through their writing, that they understand proper sentence structure? I'm not going to waste my time (and theirs) by diagramming.

            So, yeah, my future student that does A work in my AP class and can write properly? If s/he never learns to diagram, I'm perfectly fine with that. Students who need that help to understand sentence structure? For them, I'll gladly teach it. But, no, not everybody needs to learn to diagram, not by a long shot.

            "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

            by ChurchofBruce on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 10:21:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Common core standards are a floor (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              not a ceiling. They don't apply to AP courses, which answer to a Higher Power.

              I'm going to be teaching AP chem for the first time next year and I'm certainly not going to teach students that "atoms side by side in the periodic table are close to each other in mass and differ by 1 in their numbers of protons. They have different chemical properties."  They'd better know that already!  

              That doesn't mean that it's not a good idea for all high school graduates to at least know that "atoms side by side in the periodic table are close to each other in mass and differ by 1 in their numbers of protons. They have different chemical properties."

              Light is seen through a small hole.

              by houyhnhnm on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 10:48:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Do they still teach sentence diagrams? (0+ / 0-)

          I don't think either of my high school graduates ever saw one. They're doing fine, by the way.

      •  Can you tell me where this is from? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, kyril, houyhnhnm, Linda Wood

        Are these from Common Core?  Next Gen Science Standards?  Current standards that are now being replaced?  Or did you just make this up?

        I do know that #3 and #6 are not from the Next Gen Science Standards draft.  #5 is a social studies standard, so has nothing to do with Common Core or Next Gen Social Studies standards are in the very earliest stages (the groups are barely beginning to organize).

      •  Keep going or just borrow from Hirsch (0+ / 0-)

        or is the complete list of essential knowledge in your veiw?

        If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living. - Gail Sheehy

        by itisuptous on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 09:32:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We can only get there from here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      by putting good processes in place that empower teachers to be active participants in controlling the implementation so that it is manageable and sustainable. They are really the only ones in a position to do so. Their unions should be involved in creating those processes and protecting them from clueless interests demanding changes without regard to the number of hours in the day...

      If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living. - Gail Sheehy

      by itisuptous on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 09:19:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  umm the report you linked to (11+ / 0-)

    is from the Heartland Institute, an ALEC member and a pile of climate change denialist conspiracy nutcase right wing "free Market" wackos that promote the profitization of k-12 education. I went to the local anti common core meeting put on by The Utah taxpayers assoc., the Sutherland institute and the Eagle Forum with speakers from the Pioneer institute of Massachusetts another ALEC member.founded and staffed by ex Romney staffers. All of these orgs are members of ALEC's state based scaffolding. Also Romney's education advisor was there. So there is alot of Koch/Davos/Walton money behind this BIG astroturf campaign against the common core curriculum. They are all quoting this Brookings study among others they won't name, (which was weird). Most of the other rhetoric at this event was more Tea Party than anything really Ed reformy and their arguments were that it was a federal takeover,and a conspiracy to indoctrinate our precious children with multicultural UN values (?). blatant lies and FUD as educators from the participating states worked together regionally to put this together to improve rigor and success. i have my reasons for appreciating most of the things Common Core provides, I also make a certain judgement regarding who is loudest against it.

    •  The report is not from heartland (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, Ginny in CO, Reino, tultican

      it is from The Brown Center on Education of Brookings. Heartland was where the author found a good online copy.

      As far as sources go, I tend to look at its champions and critics alike. The champions here are the conservative Fordham Institute and the Obama Administration. Great President, but education policy has been misguided, at best. So in my opinion that's two strikes against their champions. Add the Gates Foundation and that's strike three for champions.

      As far as opponents go, Diane Ravitch was critical of this plan to implement without pilot, and I agree with her assessment, and respect her opinion over anyone at the Department of Education.

      If you have your reasons for appreciating the policy you should state those, rather than try to muddy the waters with the daily kos version of reductio ad Hitlerum (associating a position with a group that is reviled, like the Nazis, or in this case, the tea party).

      Run for office. It's fun!

      by Alfonso Nevarez on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 09:39:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Susan Ohanian is no friend of corporate influence (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alfonso Nevarez, tultican

      … and she sees Common Core as a Trojan horse for privatization and corporate control of education.

      Pretty much the opposite spin as the one your comment puts on the issue.

      The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

      by lotlizard on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 03:34:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you want to see corporatization of education, (6+ / 0-)

        it is easy to make any reform effort fit that narrative.  I don't see how Common Core does anything for privatization that the current standards and testing regime doesn't already do.

        Mega-publishers already control the testing and textbook market -- they will continue to do the same, except with better standards.  The good thing is that the standards and assessments (especially PARC and SmarterBalanced consortium) actually were lead by experts not connected to corporate education.

        •  One simple argument to show this- (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IamGumby, houyhnhnm, kyril

          If corporate education concerns (i.e. textbook companies) were running the show with Common Core and Next Gen Science, the aligned textbooks would have been on the market already -- yet publishers are struggling to align their products to the new standards (NGSS isn't done yet).

          If these corporate concerns wrote the standards, they would be very different --- vague and fact-based -- because it is much easier to write products to meet the current superficial standards.

          •  it depends on your subject area (0+ / 0-)

            My district bought new textbooks already aligned with the CCS last year for ELA. Math is slated for this year.

            "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way" Juan Ramon Jimnez

            by Teiresias70 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 12:26:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  your district might have gotten screwed by a fancy (0+ / 0-)

              salesman.  Textbook companies have slapped "Common Core Aliged" on the cover but that doesn't make it so.  I know in math, there are a couple of series that are close (can't think of the name off the top of my head), but nothing that is very well aligned.

              In science, publishers are already saying that textbooks are aligned...and the final version of the standards is still 7-8 months away...

  •  Our Schools Are Not "Doing Poorly" (18+ / 0-)

    This is just another part of the propaganda against schools designed to destroy them. This is a strategic objective of our opponents and it helps them out by taking away financial power from a core democratic constituency and by carving off part of the public for private indoctrination.

    If we really wanted to do something to improve the quality of schools, there's actually a simple formula:

    (1) Pay teachers more.
    (2) Develop and deploy better teaching methods.
    (3) Spend more on technology so that students aren't kept tech poor.
    (4) Spread the money around so that there are no pools of poverty.
    (5) Improve community involvement in schools and the ability of communities to support their schools.

    These are based on known techniques for increasing quality in a service business. Unless we keep our priorities straight, we can count on our opponents to destroy education for political purposes. The attack on the schools is purely political, and it needs a political response. That response has to be to forcefully promote what's best for the schools and expose the lies and bad thinking that's been all too prevalent in attacks on the public schools we've been enduring for years.

    •  Exactly (11+ / 0-)

      One fault of this diary is that it lacks any discussion of the specific standards themselves. It also seems to conflate the standards with pedagogical practice: that is, the guidelines for curriculum with how curriculum is taught. If the five steps you outlined were carried out effectively, it would do more to raise student achievement than any curriculum could.

      And THANK you for challenging the "Our schools are failing!" canard!

      You cannot hate people for their own good. -- Unknown

      by IamGumby on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 09:38:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with these points, but these are not in (10+ / 0-)

      conflict with having good "common" standards.  And by good, I mean standards that provide guidance for outcomes and disciplinary thinking (i.e. how to think like a mathematician) without dictating specific curriculum.

    •  I agree all 5 can help improve schools but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking, Linda Wood

      I strongly disagree that our schools aren't really doing poorly, that the education problems are almost purely a question of money.

      Students entering my CC are increasingly placing into remedial courses for math and English, courses designed to get them up to an EIGHTH grade level proficiency. Yes 18 year olds have to take math courses such that they can be taught to do math that 14 year olds SHOULD be doing . They take math classes in high school called algebra and trigonometry and they passed them, because they graduated, but they can't actually do any algebra, never mind trigonometry. The difference in curricula from the 1954 to 1999 to now is clear if you look at the NY tests for algebra.





      Where's the algebra on the 2012 one? There's barely any! I took that test in 1999. It was algebra. Solve for x. Solve for x. 1955 has algebra too. 2012? You can pass it without solving for x even once. There's a goddamn cheat sheet in the back of it. This is the "math" that's being taught, this is why we have students who take remedial courses in college and fail, and take interventions and fail, and get free tutoring and fail. They can't do math because no one ever made them actually solve problems. For 13 years they get by without having to solve for x and then they hit a brick wall in college. They waste money taking remedial courses, they get discouraged when they don't pass, and they drop out. Yes, there's absolutely nothing wrong with our schools that they are pumping out thousands of math illiterate graduates. The poor kids? Of course they have it worse! Their parents can't afford the schools that teach to get them college ready instead of preparing them to pass tests that test for nothing and they damn sure can't afford tutors to fix what our schools are teaching.    

      These standards are NOT bad. I've looked at the changes proposed for NY in math and I am RELIEVED. It looks like they will be teaching actual math with actual problem solving skills once again. That "former third grade teacher" quoted dissing the 3rd grade sample? Teaching algebra skills to an eight year old, the horror! I looked at that sample and it's wonderful. Exactly what they should be learning. I'm glad she's a "former teacher". The guy complaining about words like hoarfrost in the english sample? Failed to mention those words were bolded to designate them as words that could be defined for the kids. What a travesty, teaching kids new words and expecting them to incorporate their understanding into the overall reading!

      I don't know how whatever bs these kids have been learning got implemented in our schools, but it sucks and it's really way past time that something happened to change it. I'm all in for these standards at this point.

      •  I Understand Your Points (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AkaEnragedGoddess, tultican

        Do you think that students in the well-funded schools are struggling with algebra?

        What does it mean to claim that the schools are "doing poorly"? Relative to what? To some absolute standard? (By that measure they've always been doing poorly.) Compared to other countries? (They don't have our population.) Compared to private schools? (I think you'd find that they compare quite well to private schools.)

        I don't think our public schools are doing a bad job. I think they are a reflection of what the community chooses and the methods we use to educate. In fact, the tests you point to are methods used to educate.

        But let's not think that the message that "the schools are doing poorly" is not political. It's part of a strategy to take money away from the public schools and give it to private  schools.

        That doesn't mean I don't think they could be improved. I absolutely do. And if we want to improve them we will do the things that are most responsible for improving quality. According to Six Sigma, that means improving the environment (aka "community") and the method used.

        Since our opponents aren't interested in this you can conclude that they aren't really interested in improving the schools. They're just using them as propaganda points for their politics.

        •  I'm sure there are students in well funded (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Linda Wood

          schools struggling with algebra. I was one of them. I struggled through algebra, geometry, trigonometry. I understood nothing of precalculus and passed because our teacher died in the middle of the year and the school decided to pass us. I went to one of the best science and math schools in New York city. I retook algebra, trig and precalc in college and filled in the gaps in my understanding that were holding me back. I went on to complete calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, advanced general physics, thermodynamics... I couldn't have done that without a decent math foundation.

          Students in the better funded schools here absolutely get more help and have more advantages. The primary advantage is a curriculum that aims to prepare these students for college, meaning they get to experience schools that actually put a focus on critical thinking. Schools are allowed to exceed the current standards and the better funded schools absolutely do. On the flip side, the poorer schools are pressured to stick to the current standards, which suck, so the students can perform better on these crappy tests. The current standards here encourage curricula that focus on rote learning and don't require much critical thinking. The new standards will give these students a shot at the same education their richer peers are already getting. Best of all, if they switch schools, they will be less likely to face knowledge gaps because their previous school followed lower standards.

          I'm under no delusions that our public schools are under attack, but this is not one of the attacks. Having schools that provide higher quality education can only improve their chances of surviving as public schools. The reason so many parents are on board with reforming public schools in the first place is they see their kids aren't getting a quality education, something that is made painfully clear when they get to college and have to shell out money for remedial courses, if they go to college at all. If our schools are a reflection of our community and our choices then we made the wrong ones.

          I've been hearing good, if a bit cautious, reactions to these standards so far from educators. The AFT issued a resolution in support of the standards and clearly stated their role in helping shape the standards. I'm unclear who you are referring to as our opponents, who is making standards an issue in order to further tear down public education? I see allies supporting these standards.

          •  I Agree on That (0+ / 0-)

            Having schools buy into a higher standard will definitely help students. I'm not against standards, per se.

            When I refer to our opponents I mean people often labeled as conservatives who have made it a political business to get the public to think that our schools are doing a poor job with the purpose of defunding public schools and moving kids to private education. Talking about standards is now just one prong of that attack.

            I just think that's the wrong focus, especially in a political forum.

            I don't have children and I'm not a teacher. I'm looking at this from the viewpoint of what's good for our society. What I want to see is something that will actually make a difference in the quality of education. Improvement in quality here will come from improving the methods and the environment. Standards are meaningless in that sense unless they are backed up by changes in these other areas.

            To the extent that they might help focus teaching methods they could be a useful tool for setting goals. But they are only going to help if we then work on the fundamentals.

            Thanks for writing back.

  •  My Experience So Far (13+ / 0-)

    I really appreciate the research that went into this diary, although I have of course not had time to look more closely at the studies cited (but will soon). I share the diarist's concern about the corporate, foundation, and large private interests involved with the CC, and believe their agenda should be closely scrutinized.

    But as a teacher, I'm very pleased with the high school English Common Core standards, and I'm not sure I understand the basis of perceived problems with the standards themselves. This statement by the diarist (it may be a quote from one of the diarist's sources rather than the diarist's own assessment) seems to run counter to what I am seeing (and doing):

    They are based on a bad theory of pedagogy. It is a theory of pedagogy that encourages direct instruction and the development of fact knowledge
    On my school's School Transformation Team, we are focusing on developing problem/project- and inquiry-based units, and working toward the goal of student-centered and student-led learning. If our administrators did a formal observation, and the teacher spent more than 15 minutes providing direct instruction, the admins would not view it favorably. The ideal would be short periods of direct instruction designed chiefly to equip the students with what they need to know, followed by students' applying the content in assignments and projects.

    At the same time, however, that may be a situation that is specific to my school; I have indeed read one or two articles which seem to still be hopelessly tied to the instructional model of Ferris Bueller's Economics teacher. But in general, the CC itself seems to be very clearly focused on higher-order thinking skills.

    On privatization; on for-profit companies peddling expensive materials and products to school districts; and on expensive online courses that have no track record of success, I am in complete agreement with the diarist.

    Of course, I don't think anyone can that we won't really know how effective the standards will be until we put them to the test in actual classrooms.

    You cannot hate people for their own good. -- Unknown

    by IamGumby on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 09:24:29 PM PDT

    •  I think you will continue to be pleased (0+ / 0-)

      I've been looking through the NYDOE samples and am really happy with what I see in math so far. Much more focus on building understanding and developing problem solving skills. I think the difference in cognitive abilities between students who learn under these standards and the current generation of students will be very noticeable in all subjects, just because of the proper math foundation alone.  

  •  Your discussion of Next Gen Science Standards (15+ / 0-)

    show that you have a very incomplete understanding in this area.

    First, Common Core and Next Gen represent VERY different development processes.  You simply can not compare the two development processes. You also jump to a conclusion about Achieve, but do not indicate that the NGSS process is funded by Carnegie foundation -- not corporate donations.  Second, neither are "national" curriculum.

    They are standards that provide guidelines for what students should know...but not how that content should be taught.  For example, in English Language Arts, students should be able to read and comprehend informational text...but Common Core does not DEMAND specific informational texts.  Common Core ELA does not demand specific textbooks, Pearson products, or even which "classics" should be read by students.  Instead, it identifies skills that students should be able to use when reading age appropriate texts (or writing for different purposes, or speaking, listenening, viewing, visual representation).

    The Common Core ELA literacy standards for science and technical fields are very well done.  They are based on strong research into content area literacy strategies.  For what it is worth, I (a politically liberal college professor) also have practicioner evidence of increased student learning from 2 years of using these standards with high school teachers during professional development.

    The Common Core Math standards are internationally benchmarked and based on research into how students learn mathematics.  Although far from perfect, they are superior to math standards that were replaced in many states.  There is ample evidence (e.g. William Schmidt) to show that mathematics curriculum in the U.S. is bloated and incoherent.  The incoherent piece has been addressed by Common Core.

    The new batch of standardized tests (PARC & SMARTERBALANCE) will require a very different type of teaching than what we currently have.  Simply "knowing" something will no longer be enough.  Students will need to be able to apply their knowledge (Check out some of the example performance assessment items to get a feel).

    Although Achieve was in the lead for Common Core, the National Governor's Association was the driving force behind development.  The Obama administration jumped in late with funding carrots for implementation of better standards and test development.  However, the federal government does NOT mandate that states adopt these standards.

    Of course, textbook companies will have the "silver bullet" for Common Core, but that is nothing new.

    NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS is completely different.  I am actively involved in review and state-level (WI) implementation of these standards.  I have been doing professional development related to NGSS (and the Framework document that they are based on) for the past 3 years.  The draft that was released in May was very promising -- and a huge step forward when compared to science standards in most states.

    The development process for NGSS is NOT corporate run, in stark contrast to the piece that you cherry-picked from NSTA (I do have an elected position with NSTA).  If you searched for the development process for NGSS, you would quickly realize that it has been more transparent than Common Core, is funded by the Carnegie Foundation, and includes diverse writing teams.  The basis for these standards is the report, Framework for K-12 Science Education by the National Academies of Science.  This report was developed by scientists, engineers, and classroom teachers.  The Framework (and draft NGSS) is very clearly based on sound research into how people learn science and what we know about effective standards.  The structure of the standards brilliantly integrates practices (skills) with content into performance expectations -- what students should be able to do if they understand the content.

    The NGSS -standards - are performance expectations for assessment.  They guide assessment, but do not dictate curriculum.  Of course, publishers will eventually have their silver bullets, but again, this is nothing new.

    The Achieve writing teams include science content faculty, science ed faculty, and classroom teachers (I personally know 2 of the classroom teachers on the writing teams). NSTA and Achieve have engaged panels of educators (including science content experts, classroom educators, and cognitive scientists) throughout the U.S. in critiques of draft standards.  Although May was the first public draft, non-public drafts have been critiqued at different points starting last December - and Achieve has been mostly responsive (see NSTA for one area of contention).  Achieve has engaged state departments of education throughout the development process (26 lead states, adoption will be much less than common core).  At this point, the federal government has no say in the process and there are no corporate interests on the development team.

    Nearly 1000 science teachers and district administrators in Wisconsin participated in "preview meetings" in late May.  Although there are some concerns about implementation, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.  If implemented well at the district and classroom level, NGSS will have a positive impact on student learning.  In addition, "how" students learn will be much more active and process oriented instead of direct instruction about a bunch of facts.

    •  I have read all of the Next Gen Sci Standards (7+ / 0-)

      and provided my public comment on the first of two drafts. These public comment opportunities are provided before the final version is set near the start of 2013. My experience as a high school physics teacher, curriculum coord, science content specialist, etc, for 38 years tells me these NGSS are a clear step above the generally lower quality sets of standards now loosely 'guiding' instruction in many states.

      We do need a concerted effort to improve the instruction in science. We also need to more clearly and logically lay out the concepts to be taught. Our nation's science instruction is in trouble. It will be difficult to make it better. The NGSS is clearly a step in the right direction and should be supported.

      Universe started with a Big Bang. It's big, getting bigger, and mostly dark.

      by jim in IA on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 05:08:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am not an educator, but a parent with a unique (18+ / 0-)

    perspective.   I have two children born seven years apart.  This fall, one is entering her senior year in high school and the other is entering 4th grade.

    The problem is poverty.  Nothing more, nothing less.  My children have had different educations.  The eldest suffered through our well-meaning, but completely unfair to her mistakes.  Our youngest is benefiting tremendously from that learning process.   In our mission to ensure our children had a diverse community as well as a good education, we tried to keep them in city schools, first in Manhattan, and then later in Connecticut.  

    The problem is that even in affluent Stamford, CT poverty impacted everyone.  The schools were overwhelmed by very real problems the poorer kids dealt with every day.  So much so, that kids like my daughter, who needed extra help and attention, could not get it.  When we tried to get it from the school, the school teachers and admin said flat out "she's got you, these other kids have no one".  We couldn't argue with that.  So we did what we thought best and moved to one of the best school systems in CT, Wilton.

    It was the best decision we ever made as far as our children's education goes.  But what made it crystal that poverty is the problem was that while our eldest transferred in seventh grade, our youngest began kindergarten in Wilton.  

    Poverty is a non-issue in Wilton.  Every kids gets more than they need and more.  The school's have everything they need and more.  98% of the kids go to college, many to the best schools in the country.  But it's not just the money.

    Not having to deal with poverty makes an unbelievably huge difference.  Being able to compare the experience our youngest is having to what our eldest experienced in Stamford is literally night and day.  Having an older daughter who's almost finished in the system allows us to see how they are preparing these younger kids with critical thinking skills while knocking downs barriers to learning so that they can thrive is amazing.  

    In Stamford, we'd only get feedback at parent teacher conferences.  In Wilton, if your child is having a problem, even a tiny problem, the teacher contacts you.  Discusses the issue, works on a course of action with you, and follows up frequently until the issue is resolved.   In Wilton, we have 20 kids in a classroom.  In Stamford, we had 26-30 kids in a classroom.   In Wilton the kids are generally well behaved and productive.  In Stamford, that is not the norm.  It's hard to behave and be productive when you're hungry or afraid.  In Wilton, we have all the technology and supplies you need.  In Stamford, teachers buy a lot and in North Stamford, parents buy the rest.  On average, I spent around $500 each year to do my part to ensure my daughters classroom had everything they needed.  I know that at least 8 other parents did as well.  I don't know what the other schools did.

    In Wilton, almost every kid has a parent who is supporting them, encouraging them (sometimes too much), there for them whenever they need it.  In Stamford, there are far to many who do not.

    Are you getting the point yet?  I could go on and on.

    Imagine if no school in America had to deal with poverty.  That they all had the funding they needed, the kids had the food they needed, the support at home or after school, tutors, small classrooms, the best teachers, community support.

    The only difference between Stamford and Wilton is poverty.  American doesn't need to reinvent education when there are examples they could follow in every affluent town in the country.   Why spend millions on programs that are unnecessary when we could put that same money towards dealing with poverty?  

    Ah, yes.  There's the issue right there because Americans have turned they're back on the poor.  They've all been reduced to freeloaders.  The great society will never be, because we won't address the actual problem. Poverty.

    Is it any wonder that the perceived failing of our schools has grown in direct relation to the growth in the number of people living in poverty in America?

    Newt Gingrich, during the primaries, on releasing Rmoney's tax returns: "If there's anything in there that's going to help us lose the election, we should know it before the nomination, and if there's nothing in there, why not release it?"

    by Back In Blue on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 11:45:21 PM PDT

    •  I agree - Thank You - N/T (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alfonso Nevarez

      "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

      by linkage on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 12:23:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It really is simple (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tultican, Lisa, Back In Blue

      and the evidence is staring every educator in the face. But with absolutely no political will to do anything about poverty at either the local, state, or national levels, and with rising levels of poverty and food insecurity, the state of education in our country is only going to get worse, and no bureaucratic nonsense is going to do a damn thing to prevent it.

      Everyone closely involved in the process will continue to be blamed for gaps in education. Teachers, parents, students, and administrators are easier targets than Grover Norquist, politicians, and greedy 1 percenters who have created this culture of cheap government, private gain, and public loss.

      Run for office. It's fun!

      by Alfonso Nevarez on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 05:00:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, well said. Diary this, please. (9+ / 0-)

      The same curriculum with will have totally different results for students and parents because of the resources available in the system.  It's a no-brainer, but for some reason, nobody gets it

      Tweak the system all you want, but if you don't have

        - enough teachers
        - enough teachers assistants
        - enough counselors

      you will flat out fail.

      And if your student population is poor, the school needs more.  You need to outreach to non-English speaking families.  You need to compensate for broken or chaotic homes.  You need to double your effort with learning disabled kids.

      We live in affluent suburban Maryland.  Our county is not uniformly affluent, so our area is a bit more mixed economically than other areas.  I like that.  We're doing very well, but other families are struggling.  I like being somewhere where  my family can help others one-on-one.
      About two years ago, the PTA sat down with our principal and raised some concerns about the number of families who are losing jobs, don't speak English primarily, or are struggling in some other way.

      She agreed to reserve a room that had been used as a teacher resource room (our grade school is a bit overcrowded, so she couldn't give up a classroom) and provide free wi-fi, some desks and computers.  The PTA worked to create a job board: a place to post handyman or domestic job requests that others could fill as well as announcements of openings close to the area.  PTA members who spoke the same language (there are over 25 languages spoken in family homes at our school) would "buddy up" with incoming parents.  

      The result has been skyrocketing test scores across the board.  But this is happening in the context of a school with adequate teachers, counselors, and assistants as well as a lot of parental and community support.

      Your average inner city school has none of that.

    •  Ditto - N/T (0+ / 0-)

      You cannot hate people for their own good. -- Unknown

      by IamGumby on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 06:33:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Poverty is a REAL issue, but not the only issue. (8+ / 0-)

      We won't fix the education system until we can effectively address poverty.  However, there are other issues too-

      1.  Teaching is not a "respected" field.  When compared to Canada, Finland, China, etc.  Our "best and brightest" high school graduates generally do not go on to become teachers.  Remember, this is a generalization across the entire teaching population, not finger pointing at any individual teacher.

      2. Teachers in the U.S. spend much more "face time" with students than in other countries.  Something like 1100 hours per year versus the OECD average of 830ish.  This eliminates any reasonable amount of time dedicated to professional growth and collaboration.  Other countries have this figured out...

      3.  Our current standards are overburdened and often incoherent.  Our standardized assessments measure these standards.  States generally have not revised standards from our "first attempt" from the 90's.  Common Core and NGSS ONLY address this issue.  I don't think any reasonable policy maker (e.g. Obama admin) is relying only new standards and assessments as a cure-all.  However, it is a necessary starting point.

      4. Teacher evaluation in most states is sloppy and trivial.  Evaluation is based on a handful (per year for early career, over multiple years for veterans) of observations, often with no criteria based in research on effective teaching.  If 90%+ of all teachers in Chicago are rated as "Highly Effective." you know we have a dysfunctional evaluation system.  We know what teaching strategies have positive impact on all learners (including students in poverty), yet these strategies are far from the norm in classrooms.

      I'm sure we could add a lot more to this list...

      •  All true, but poverty is first issue. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        When you exclude poor school districts, the US meets or outperforms all other nations.   If we're only comparing outcomes, we have something that works very well, just not for everyone.   All that you mention above would certainly make that even better.

        Newt Gingrich, during the primaries, on releasing Rmoney's tax returns: "If there's anything in there that's going to help us lose the election, we should know it before the nomination, and if there's nothing in there, why not release it?"

        by Back In Blue on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 01:19:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Teachers are too easily "stampeded" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        by the latest feel-good jargon. They do not themselves possess a common core of Pragmatic/Humanist philosophy which enables them to withstand the onslaught of the latest flavor of the month educational practice.

        As a result, when a "new" idea like CCCS comes down the pike, a bunch of stampeded neophytes jump on the bandwagon and force the more intelligent and thoughtful teachers to practice defense against poor practice and unsubstantiated change for no good reason.

        The most obvious and glaring example of American teachers not being among the best and brightest is their willingness to accept and support without question hare-brained schemes by Corporatist Democrats, Technologists and Social Systematists, and Right Wing pressure groups without critical questioning or analysis. CCCS is obviously a "Blame the Teachers" trojan horse, but only a few of the best educated and most perceptive teachers understand how to look around a corner and see the seeds of destruction for public education, which is doing quite well, and do what has to be done; teach as if the next generation was more valuable than your own generation. With heart and soul. No objectives, evaluations, accountability, technological fixes, checklists, rubric conventions and song and dance routines will ever replace teaching from the heart, soul and mind.

        That is what a Liberal Education is for. Teachers; Use it.

        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

        by OregonOak on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 02:19:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  CCSS is not an obvious blame the teacher trojan (3+ / 0-)

          horse.  It is a set of decent standards to guide instruction and assessment.  I support these standards over what our state had previously.  CCSS are not a "new idea" or "fad."  I see lots of crappy teaching in classrooms based on teachers' resistance to doing new things.

          For example, we have close to 2 decades of research into the power of formative assessment (not standardized tests), yet it is far from the norm in U.S. classrooms.

          •  And... are there two decades of research (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            behind a CCCS for the Nation? I doubt it. I know there isnt.

            The reason there is crappy teaching is that there is no way for a teacher to easily adopt new techniques given the hundreds of other constraints placed upon them. Formative Quizzes are a good idea, used correctly, in conjunction with Summative testing and written expression and discussion formats for students OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF ACADEMIC STRENGTHS.

            Teachers adapt the forms of assessment and standards to match the idiosyncracies of the class, the individual, the time of year, the events in the building. Locking people into a rigid set of PERFORMANCE STANDARDS will be seen to be just another shape of stick to beat the creative, the ones already behind, the eccentric, the too young, the too old, the escapees from gang life and those with teeth that hurt because they cannot afford a dentist.

            CCCS is a long-held dream for those who love to create and maintain uniform paperwork and data technology systems. It is a nightmare for those who love to create critically humane citizens. It is a technocrat's wet dream, and a humanists nightmare. It will collapse under the weight of its own machinery when it encounters human beings of all kinds and all varieties.

            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

            by OregonOak on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 06:52:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Assertions without Evidence (0+ / 0-)

          With all due respect, these are simply assertions:

          "Teachers do not possess a common core of Pragmatic/Humanist pliodophy"
          "Teachers are willing to accept and support without questions hare-brained schemes by pressure groups"
          "Neophyte teachers jump on the latest bandwagon"
          "Teachers accept without critical thinking or analysis"
          But you provide no evidence to support your assertions. Of course, exhortation is an effective rhetorical tool (and the specific exhortation at the end of your post is inspiring, and beautifully expressed). Nevertheless, it's still a series of assertions, and not an argument.

          And I feel that your sweeping, belittling generalizations about teachers undermine your conclusion. I am unaware of any other profession that is continually subject to the kind of reductive disparagement that is routinely flung at teachers (well, maybe politicians). It's a pretty effective way to shut down conversation.

          I cannot deny that the teaching profession includes practitioners who are lazy, poorly educated, lacking curiosity, gullible, uncritical, and "easily stampeded." But if you are going to claim that this describes all but "a few" teachers, I would appreciate hearing the evidence that supports your claim.

          You cannot hate people for their own good. -- Unknown

          by IamGumby on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 10:41:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Social reform and anti-poverty programs would (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tultican, kyril, Cassandra Waites

      improve matters, but there is a cause and effect assumption hidden in your reasoning.  Nothing anyone can do will ever make all the children above average.  Any meaningful standards will be an impossible barrier for some students, as has always been the case.  What should society do with or expect from the least able quintile or quartile?

      Where are we, now that we need us most?

      by Frank Knarf on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 07:18:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's really a different issue. (0+ / 0-)

        Certainly it should be addressed, in  a large part, through the education system.  But it never has been done well.   There's a whole host of reasons why those kids don't perform above average or even average.   Treating them as individuals with unique circumstances would be a great start.   Most of those kids have talents and abilities that could lead to successful lives.  Our definition of success is also warped around being "the best", rich, powerful.   It's part of why it is easy to make large groups of people into "the other" and demonize and blame them for all that's wrong with America.

        But my point was never that every kid is going to be an A student or headed to Ivy league school. That is simply not possible.  The point is that we shouldn't be spending and wasting money on for-profit programs that are really just taking advantage of the poverty stricken school districts, holding them up as representative of the American public school system, and using that as an excuse to take over public education.   The money spent (and lost in profits for the for-profit industry) and address the real core issue of poverty.  If we did that, it would be like night and day.

        Newt Gingrich, during the primaries, on releasing Rmoney's tax returns: "If there's anything in there that's going to help us lose the election, we should know it before the nomination, and if there's nothing in there, why not release it?"

        by Back In Blue on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 06:48:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Re (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, Linda Wood
      The problem is poverty.  Nothing more, nothing less.
      OK, so, the plan is throw up our hands and do nothing?

      "Those kids are poor, guess they'll be doomed to low-to-mediocre outcomes, nothing to be done. Move along."

      Or potentially even worse:

      "We have to go after poverty instead of fixing the educational system!"

      Fixing poverty is a laudable goal, but doing that would be a monumental society-wide effort. Do you see that happening anytime soon?

      In the meantime while we work on that herculanean task, do we just keep throwing up our hands endlessly tilting at the windmill of poverty when we can potentially improve education right now with much easier and cheaper solutions that don't require a civilizational bottoms-up rebuild?

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 09:19:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not saying that at all. (0+ / 0-)

        We won't "fix" poverty, but mitigating it's effects on education is possible.  I say we do that instead of wasting money on things that don't address the core issue.

        Newt Gingrich, during the primaries, on releasing Rmoney's tax returns: "If there's anything in there that's going to help us lose the election, we should know it before the nomination, and if there's nothing in there, why not release it?"

        by Back In Blue on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 01:21:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yup (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Back In Blue, mrsdbrown1

      I see this in the low-income middle school I work at, as well as the many private schools I work at. In the middle school, which is public, many kids fail their classes. They have not been properly prepared, from the very beginning (home), and they are hopelessly behind, checked out, humiliated, alienated.... And they are promoted. There is no problem with getting an F in one or more classes, you WILL be promoted. You will not be able to "walk" if you don't somehow address the Fs in summer school. Otherwise, carry on.

      At the private schools, I have very engaged parents, and some of the "over"-engaged ones I think you also experience. These kids experience different kinds of stress, sometimes related to unrealistic parental expectations. However, they have food, shelter, medical care, and enrichment up the wazoo. Their parents and teachers know how they are doing and are quick to step in with help if needed.

      One of the test questions I use with kids has to do with the power going out on a stormy night. Middle class kids make the connection between the storm and the electricity; too many of my poor students assume it's because the power was shut off due to lack of payment. Hey, it happens to them all the time, rain or shine.

  •  Taking a co-operative approach to educating (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2, tultican

    your child is key for their success. When parents are required to participate , it helps everyone. Poor parents can do this too. I have seen this approach work.

    There are so many things we could do to enrich our children
    that don't cost a lot. I homeschooled and had to be very creative at providing for my child's educational needs.
    Parents working together can be very successful at this.

    The thing I learned that helped me the most was that one-size does not fit all.  What helps one child learn might not work for another. A dedicated, creative mindset was essential to make it all work. I am happy to say it did.

    I looked at all the state standards and choose from the best. They were guidelines not prescriptions.
    I hate the thought of such limited input going into the selections.

    "Business model" approaches to education scare the tar out of me. I hope I can homeschool my grandchildren.

    •  It's hard when the parent is divorced and/or (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      working multiple jobs.  Poverty and domestic strife are extremely taxing to a family.  So many of our families experience this.  It's one of the reasons why it is so hard to just tell parents to participate.  You've got to reach out to them and that takes resources.

      In our area, we have a lot of immigrant families from all over the globe that come from countries where parents don't participate in the school system so they don't understand what the PTA is or does or how to interact with teachers.  We've used a "buddy-up" system with parents who speak the same language to great success.  However, we are in an affluent area and can afford the sort of resources to make that happen effectively.

      It's more than just parents,  however.  If your child has a learning challenge of any sort, you need adequate counselors and testing on top of the learning resources.  Few systems have enough for their population.

      •  I agree. Parents can't always participate the (0+ / 0-)

        way they wish they could. And they have the right to expect the needs of their child to be met since they are paying for the school system.

        My child was ADD and didn't get the help she needed until I paid for her to be tested myself. Even then a 504 Plan had to be hard fought for  to be implemented.

        Teachers told me they felt over-whelmed by the demands put upon them. I was sympathetic and offered to work with them in a support fashion. Some were very helpful, others not so much. Meanwhile my daughter suffered. Very frustrating.

  •  Read Susan Ohanian's criticisms of Common Core. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2, Reino, tultican

    Opposition to Common Core is not the exclusive preserve of right-wingers, as some comments directed to the diarist seem to imply.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 03:38:52 AM PDT

  •  After everybody "translates", "interprets" and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2, Alfonso Nevarez, tultican

    "refines" the standards so they are in a form that a teacher can teach, I don't see how they'll be "common" anymore!

    Another top-down "reform" that will prove expensive and meaningless, because they did not consult with teachers and other real experts from the field of education.

    •  It Will Be A Test (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      When it's all said and done, nobody will care what is in the documents that have already been published. Somebody will write a test, that test will be used to rate teachers, and teachers and textbook companies will try to figure out how to get students to do well on that test.

      The translation and interpretation that is going on now is all speculation, and you are correct that it is not common.

      "H.R.W.A.T.P.T.R.T.C.I.T.G -- He really was a terrible president that ran the country into the ground."

      by Reino on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 04:55:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  umm... (4+ / 0-)

      "they did not consult with teachers and other real experts from the field of education"

      Common Core did this ... to some extent.

      There is absolutely no way you can say that the Next Gen Science Standards did not include classroom teachers and experts from education & science.

  •  Blow this shit up.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Standardized educational experience and high stakes standardized testing is supposed to improve academic outcomes? That's a LIE.

    Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

    by semioticjim on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 05:14:08 AM PDT

    •  Your study is irrelevant to (4+ / 0-)

      the topic of this diary.  The study refers to data from 2007-10...before Common Core.  Almost everyone in education agrees that the current crop of standards and standardized tests are not good.

      That's why we have Common Core, Next Gen Science, PARC & Smarter Balanced testing consortia, etc.

      Also, your claim has a huge logic fallacy.  You say that standardized testing does not improved academic outcomes and cites a study that uses a standardized test (ACT) as the measurement for academic outcomes.

      How do you know if the Iowa test measures the same things as ACT?  They are two very different tests based on different assessment frameworks.

      But hey, whatever fits your narrative.

      •  You are right there have been no studies of CCSS. (0+ / 0-)

        I personally think authoritarian or accountability enforced by standardized testing education policy is terribly destructive to good tuition. But, if you want that kind of system, at least field test both the standards and the testing. I know Bill Gates had no problem selling untested software but at least we can try to protect children against the possibility of egregious errors in the system.

  •  The same old crap (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tultican, Linda Wood

    The tests based on the Common Core being "developed" by Pearson education are exactly the same as the current crappy tests:

    But are the Common Core Standards really "revolutionary"? Or are they fundamentally the same as the sets of standards that currently exist in each of the 50 states, different only in their wording? That is the question I recently set out to answer, when -- in an heroic act of corporate espionage that I undertook for you, dear readers -- I stealthily broke into the computer item bank of an assessment company I used to work for to look at their test questions and standards.

    What did I find? Maybe I'm wrong, but I think I found the Common Core Standards look a lot like every other set of state standards I worked with over the years (that is, a list or grid of overblown educational rhetoric describing the simple skills American students should have mastered). For instance, the following multiple-choice question (written to a passage about feuding neighbors) is aligned to the Common Core Standards.

    With which universal idea does this passage mostly deal?
    A)    the importance of overcoming grudges
    B)    the continued strength of the human spirit
    C)    the rebirth that happens each spring
    D)    the redemptive abilities of hard work

    The specific Common Core Standard that item is aligned to identifies it as a "Literature" question focused on "Key Ideas and Details" that specifically can show whether or not a student is able to "Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text."

    Heady talk indeed, all those impressive words summarizing up that short, little question. In any case, that item is being sold as one aligned to the Common Core Standards, part of the new wave of new assessments that will shake this country's schools right to the foundation.

    •  Well, the PARC and Smarter Balanced tests (5+ / 0-)

      for Common Core Math and ELA look VERY different from current tests AND are being developed by experts in the field.  Yes, some (but not all) of these experts do come from commercial companies, but that doesn't mean that they are not experts.

      The author of the piece that you cite picks ONE question of many as if it is the only question related to that standards.  It also ignores the performance assessments that are part of the tests.

      The author of that piece does not source the question -- which test is it from?  Additionally, the author conveniently leaves out a big piece of reality -- The current tests are not well aligned to Common Core.  These tests (again, look at the PARC and Smarter Balanced consortia) are still in development and will be used in the 2014-15 time frame.  Using test items from 2011 or 2012 state tests is forcing a narrative by not telling the entire story.

  •  Speaking as a parent of primary school students (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Linda Wood

    I really like standardized testing. It shows how well my kids match up against other kids their age in the US, it also shows me how well my school matches up.

    Until my kids actually attended school I'd no idea that simple things like reading and arithmetic were no longer being taught. When they stopped teaching the very basics of what is needed for an education something got off the tracks. I compare it to what is taught in the other place I've seen schools, a third world country with maybe a couple dollars per year spent per student and teachers with only a secondary education. At least there teachers know that teaching kids to read and write, add and subtract is a big deal. I blame school of ed.

    Our public education system is broken.

    The theory that nature is permanently in balance has been largely discredited

    by ban nock on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 07:06:14 AM PDT

    •  I can't imagine your scenario-- (4+ / 0-)

      Most primary schools in the U.S. only teach reading and math (especially at early elementary) and ignore science, social studies, the arts, etc.  

      That is because of incoherent policy decisions that have not been revised even as flaws have become very apparent.  Public schools are bound by the law -- NCLB -- which has yet to be reauthorized.

      "At least there teachers know that teaching kids to read and write, add and subtract is a big deal. I blame school of ed."

      This is completely disconnected from reality.  Yes, schools of education are part of the blame, but hardly the only factor.  Second, stating that U.S. teachers do not know that teaching kids to read and write, add and subtract is important is complete bullshit.

      •  bruns, I have recommended (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AkaEnragedGoddess, IamGumby

        of your comments to this diary with sincere thanks for your clarity and with agreement with your position.

        But I truly support what ban nock says here:

        Until my kids actually attended school I'd no idea that simple things like reading and arithmetic were no longer being taught. When they stopped teaching the very basics of what is needed for an education something got off the tracks.
        I think your remark in response,
        Most primary schools in the U.S. only teach reading and math (especially at early elementary) and ignore science, social studies, the arts, etc.
        may be an exaggeration, but if there is a recent emphasis on basic reading and math skills, it comes from a long period of problems confronting students, parents, and teachers, leading to cries for improved instruction in these areas.

        You mentioned something that may be in agreement:

        ... our current standards are overburdened with fragmented concepts.  We "cover" more content than almost any other country and rarely get into depth at any grade level.  This overburdened curriculum leads to one of the biggest complaints I hear when teachers try to do higher-level inquiry /problem solving / project-based learning -- No TIME to do extended work while still covering everything in the curriculum.
        I bolded the part of your comment that reminded me of the words of a university calculus instructor who has taken part in the development of the Common Core math standards. In recent decades significant numbers of his incoming students needed not only remedial math instruction, but also remedial reading and writing instruction in order to take part in his freshman courses. He and his colleagues had spent enormous time trying to bring their students to the level of knowledge and skill considered basic in previous decades, and that is why he became active in public school curriculum development.
        •  thanks for the recs & I agree with your comments- (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          My comment about elementary is based on anecdotal evidence (and some published research) from a variety of states.  I shouldn't have said "only" -- instead, I should have said that increased attention to reading and math over the past decade has squeezed out time for other subject areas.

          •  I imagine you're right, and I understand (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bruns, AkaEnragedGoddess

            that the time spent on reading and math is a contentious issue along with actual methods of instruction.

            I also understood you to mean that covering lots of subject matter lightly makes it very difficult to cover anything in depth, which is not the same as saying time spent at the university level teaching basic reading and math eliminates time for calculus.

            But I think we both see the importance of methods of instruction. For me, the primary classroom level is crucial in its preparation for everything else.

            •  I think the need for remedial courses in (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Linda Wood

              universities is driven by two factors (probably more).

              1.  We are admitting more students to colleges than in the past...not all are high achieving.

              2.  Good research (Sadler, Harvard) has shown that students that cover at least one topic in depth (at least a month) in high school are much more likely to be successful in college science courses than students that have not (only survey courses).  Our current overburdened curriculum could very well be the reason why students generally do not retain the knowledge and skills that they learn in school....they don't really "learn" it, it is just covered.

      •  they might teach it but they don't teach it in (0+ / 0-)

        such a way that kids learn it. I seem to remember being taught to read without all the razmataz. We had multiplication tables to memorize and we did. Many kids here are below grade level.

        We send our kids to public schools, but we now realize that it's up to us to teach them to read, write, and do basic math. What of the kids who don't have parents like us or whose parents don't even know they are expected to be the ones to teach their kids?

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 04:39:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  rec'd (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tultican, Fresno

    Mostly for the conversation it generated. There is much confusion about implementation and potential outcome because these conversations weren't done in a meaningful way prior to or during development. Now it is being implemented with little resources so even if it is viable we may never know it's true effect. I also want to point out that professional teachers are being asked to develop material without compensation. How many of you business people are asked to do that? It's no wonder so many good teachers leave the field, we ask so much from them, then denegrate the profession and don't compensate them for what they are worth.

    Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools, because they have to say something. - Plato

    by eashep on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 07:55:12 AM PDT

    •  Actually, businesses often develop material (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IamGumby, Fresno, AkaEnragedGoddess

      without compensation with the expectation that should demand arise for those materials, they will be the first out of the gate and have a leg up on their competitors.

      You can bet that companies that create and score tests are busy developing materials, without a contract or compensation, because they want to stay in business and have to be ready to meet emerging demand even if Common Core Standards are still in the beta stage.

      Where I agree with you whole-heartedly is teacher development and compensation. I know teachers who gladly invest in their own professional development so that they can provide the best possible learning experiences for their students. Just imagine what education would be like if society as a whole viewed an educated populace as the most important national resource that deserved full funding and attracted the best minds to the teaching profession.

      Watch the documentary "The Finland Phenomenon" and you will understand why this tiny country is leading the world in education right now.

      If money is speech, then speech is money and I should be able to pay my bills with witty social commentary, astute political analysis or good old blarney

      by heiderose1 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 11:25:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very well said! (0+ / 0-)

        I think I would actually like to use one of your quotes, with your permission:

        Just imagine what education would be like if society as a whole viewed an educated populace as the most important national resource that deserved full funding and attracted the best minds to the teaching profession.

        You cannot hate people for their own good. -- Unknown

        by IamGumby on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 01:01:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I doubt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that developers hired by companies are not getting compensated. The company itself is taking the risk that what they develop gets sold, but the people in development are most certainly getting paid.

        Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools, because they have to say something. - Plato

        by eashep on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 02:05:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That depends on the company's structure (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I work for an employee-owned company, so the company's risk is my risk as well. If the products we develop sell, I get to share in the profits; if not, I share in the loss.

          If money is speech, then speech is money and I should be able to pay my bills with witty social commentary, astute political analysis or good old blarney

          by heiderose1 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 06:16:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I Would Have Enjoyed . . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fresno, AkaEnragedGoddess

      . . . Having the diarist check back in and respond to some of the thought-provoking comments so many Kossacks have posted.

      You cannot hate people for their own good. -- Unknown

      by IamGumby on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 12:58:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great compilation of arguments against... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    standardized curriculum, I will forward a link to your piece to everyone I discuss the subject with!  Thank you so much for doing the work to put this together, it is a great resource for all of us fighting for the cause of learner-driven, rather than state-driven education.

    I particularly appreciate your call-out at the end of your piece...

    We are in a period in which states across the country are slashing education budgets but the CCSS which will cost billions up front for: text books; infrastructure such as high speed networks, new software and more computers; training; consultants; tests; and much more is being pushed through as if it were going to stop the end of civilization.
    The reality is that these standards have more to do with maintaining a market for educational vendors than enhancing the learning environment for the young people in the U.S.

    Cooper Zale Los Angeles

    by leftyparent on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 11:45:17 AM PDT

    •  I Appreciate Your Support. (0+ / 0-)

      The standards themselves may or may not be good. I teach physics and that class no longer appeared in the May draft of the NGSS. I personally think physics is the fundamental science and is important but that is just a personal opinion. The issue I see is the accountability part. I have no reason to believe that the testing will be greatly improved but ED promises a lot more testing with the CCSS. This will mean more teaching to the new tests and less authentic learning. I imagine that these new testing regimes will be used to prove that teachers are bad and that public schools are failing. I see the CCSS as one more arrow in the quiver of the people who are trying to privatize education in America.

    •  Please read some of the comments critical (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of this before you start sending this to people.  

      •  I have not taken that time yet... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AkaEnragedGoddess, tultican

        to go thru the comments, but based on yours, I will.  Is there a particular critique that you find trumps the argument in this diary?

        Confessing my bias, I'm a big opponent of standardized education, believing it leads to standardizing people as passive consumers rather than unique active participants in society.

        Cooper Zale Los Angeles

        by leftyparent on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 05:04:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Start with this thread (0+ / 0-)

          here. Bruns has some excellent comments throughout the comments section. And here is houyhnhnm with another.

          Setting basic standards doesn't mean that we are going to have cookie cutter education. These standards will set a basic bar, with an emphasis on higher order thinking that has been lacking in many state standards, that schools should work towards. There is nothing to say they can't EXCEED the standards and that is where you will get diversity of education, between schools that teach to the basic, but good, standards and schools that are aiming even higher. As opposed to having some schools that pump out remedial college students and some schools that graduate students fit for top tier colleges. Also the standards don't focus on methods to reach them, so while sample material will be provided to schools, it will be up to the states and their schools to figure out their approach.

          •  Thanks for the links!... I took a look thru... (0+ / 0-)

            and see some of the issues with specifics in the original post.  

            To confess my bias I'm just profoundly opposed to standardization of any aspect of life, and particularly pulling the learning process out of the context of real life and trying to formalize and regiment it.  So given that's already where my head is at I appreciate tuitican's compilation of a lot of the key arguments against standardization generally.

            I certainly had 21 years of what would be considered good quality standard formal education in my life (grades 1 to 12 and two college degrees), but looking back realize that most of the skills I use today I learned outside of school.  The formal education emperor has some clothes but they are pretty meager compared to the experiences I've been able to have as a youth and young adult in the real world!

            Cooper Zale Los Angeles

            by leftyparent on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 08:00:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I have read all of the comments. (0+ / 0-)

        My point is not that the CCSS are poorly designed or do not promote good pedagogy. As many posters have pointed out the real standards will be the tests. If we were to have a guideline curriculum and professionals across the country could implement the curriculum in a way the best benefited their students. That would be like a dream come true. But that will not be what happens. These untested standards will be implemented and we are promised more testing than ever. I have worked in corporate America - I know from experience that MBA's are not concerned with real quality. These next generation tests will only be more expensive and suck more money out of the classroom. The de facto standards written mostly by Pearson Corporation will become the real standards and they will continue to suck the life out of pedagogy in public schools.

        •  You return us to the key point, the testing... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The testing reduces the real standards to basically test prep, looking for those quantitative metrics that translate into numeric scores which lend themselves to easily measured and compared averages.

          But IMO its the same fallacy that led to the IQ testing in the early 20th century that supposedly "proved" that Jews, people of color, Southern and Eastern Europeans were intellectually inferior to Nordic whites.  It was pseudo-science masquerading as real wisdom because it was politically convenient for many in the U.S. with racial and ethnic biases to site it as "proof".

          As a parent who has never been a professional educator, I would only be comfortable with standards that are suggested and completely advisory only.

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 07:48:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  We should be focused instead on creating... (0+ / 0-)

          an enriched environment for more self-directed learning than trying jam a laundry list of facts and skills in young people's heads.   Standard knowledge tracks could still be available for young people to follow should they choose to.  

          In the 21st century with an explosion of knowledge in so many areas I think it is hubris to pick the bits of it that we say everyone must learn, often to the exclusion of what they are really interested in.

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 08:06:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I haven't an issue with the standards for ELA (3+ / 0-)

    They aren't radically different from what I am used to working with. I do have concerns, though.There are still standards that are difficult to assess properly, such as speaking and research. These are important to teach and teach well, but in the era of high stakes testing, if its not on the test, it is given short shrift.
         Also, I am concerned about the jump to yet another standardized test. Too much emphasis is already being placed on reading and math in the lower grades to the detriment of everything else. Yes, standards in those subject areas will alter that to an extent once the test is developed for that area, but not until then. In the meantime, districts will focus on tested subjects, which is overwhelmingly just reading and math.
         And I worry, too, about non-core subjects like foreign languages, art, music, business, health, etc.  and national standards are being/to be developed for them, but again, until there is a high stakes test to go along with them, they will be ignored.
         What  happens if (when?) the money runs out to develop these national standards in other subjects?  Will they just be forgetten?

    How can this be good for kids?

    "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way" Juan Ramon Jimnez

    by Teiresias70 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 12:43:36 PM PDT

  •  I have some concerns about CC also. I teach 2nd (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IamGumby, tultican

    grade in Michigan. In 2nd grade staff meetings we have noticed that the CC seems simpler than the Michigan curriculum we are currently using. We feel the CC is a step down for us.

    That said, we teachers are able to adjust the CC up as needed. As one of the responders above stated, the CC is a floor, a place to begin. In that sense, it is good for all schools to begin with the same minimum curriculum.

    I must agree that the common core curriculum won't "improve" education in America, nor solve its problems. Problems may begin to be solved when teachers are empowered to make educational decisions and legislators are taken out of it.

    "Those who can, teach. Those who cannot pass laws about teaching".

    Liberal (from Webster's Dictionary): tolerant of views differing from one's own; broad-minded

    by 50sbaby on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 06:49:04 AM PDT

  •  1 of 2. The social cla$$ is a parasitic elite. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Democratic social cla$$ pushing this is a parasitic elite.

    The high school where I’ve taught math for 6 years in Seattle is appx. 70% FRL and has appx 1250 to 1350 students. My students need, needed and will need the kinds of support that kids would tend to get from family situations where someone has a family wage job, therefore there are adults around to hopefully provide support to the young.

    Out here in Seattle, we’re afflicted by an alphabet soup of Astro Turfs funded by Gate$ – LEV, SFC, PFL, CRPE, NCTQ, A+ WA, … and when I go to ed deform events, I see the same social cla$$ I supported in prior careers.

    I grew up on welfare in Holyoke MA, and cooked in fine dining (ex. Four Seasons Hotels, Boston) for 5 years during the 80′s. After risking my butt on Alaska tugs and fishing boats, I picked up a math b.a. at the U.W. Seattle, and worked as a support serf at Microsoft for appx. 5 years, supporting email servers and database servers. I know what people from fancy neighborhoods, with fancy degrees, with fancy job titles and with fancy paychecks look like – I’ve supported them for decades.

    I know what corp-0-rat CON$ultant speak from this social cla$$ is about, I lived it for decades. Just as this social cla$$ has done little to improve health care access for the country, other than enhancing the current duct tape and coat hanger mess of AHIP-Care, just as this social cla$$ has allowed wall street to turn our retirments into Junk-Care –

    this social cla$$ has done NOTHING to help me help my kids.

    There are NO ideas which I get on a Monday and which I can use on Tuesday. The supports which do happen are underfunded and random. The touted ideas lack the details to implement the ideas, and the ideas certainly lack the resources to pay for the time needed to implement the details (oops! the details don’t exist!).

    There are fancy powerpoints, There are slick soundbites. There are nice paychecks and there are nice cars and there are nice houses in nice ‘hoods, and there are nice junkets for the social cla$$ –

    This is an elite social cla$$ who could come from the pages of Game Of Thrones, who could be the Ringwraiths of Sauron, who could come from the pages of Plutarch, The Guns of August, The Prince, Richard III or 1984.

    This social cla$$ is a parasitic elite.


    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 07:24:24 AM PDT

    •  2 of 2 Ideas need details, details need to be PAID (0+ / 0-)


      I get plenty of high level powerpoint from the parasite CON$ultant cla$$.

      Let's try something which is UN-American !!

      IF you haven't done the job for a decade, THEN you can NOT be a manager or a researcher in the field.

      IF you're an entry level manager and you can't model the processes you're in charge of with a flow chart and cost estimates for each step, THEN you're fired.

      IF you're a senior manager and you can't get reasonable flow charts and estimates together in a week for The New Idea, THEN you're fired.

      IF you're a senior manager and your ideas for efficiency entail cutting people's pay without remediation plans for the people with pay cuts, THEN you're fired.


      Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

      by seabos84 on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 07:29:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Politics killing education (0+ / 0-)

    My school has been introducing Common Core and it's not all bad. I was not impressed when the ELA standards had a major typo in it, rendering an important bullet point unfathomable.

    The argument that the federal government should not be directing state or local education is more to the point. Congress obviously can't do math, fails in science and history, and clearly does not read much.

    The corporatization of learning is even worse than the usual corruption, because it represents social engineering, grooming most kids to be easily manipulatable consumers or military enlistees who will always be disenfranchised politically and culturally.

    Getting my masters in Education just a few years ago, I learned well the latest theories and practices in education, where student teachers test everything out in real classrooms on real kids. The university I went to was great, the instructors know what they are talking about and show it, prove it in real classrooms.

    Then after I'm in a NY public school, I see that the policies implemented are intentionally disconnected from the latest research in Education. NCLB is a perfect example, it's been disproven and disowned by it's own authors, only to be expanded this year.

    With student performance down and teacher morale down, the policymakers at the highest levels are going completely in the wrong direction, prioritizing testing, demonizing teachers, ignoring students' needs.

    The biggest example of total corruption is the News Corp education division. The billionaire who brought you illegal phone hacking, the NY Post and Fox News will be selling all kinds of services to schools for profit. What happened to small government?

    Finally, I see first hand the union busting. There are bad teachers in our schools, but we do not need entire new evaluation systems, the DOE already has tools to fire them but doesn't want to do the required work to do it. Like students, teachers get promoted because admins don't do their job.

    •  I think the needed change is transforming... (0+ / 0-)

      the governance model of schools, from top-down control to a much more egalitarian "world is flat" approach, where teachers and students run their schools, rather than following orders from far away state capitols.

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles

      by leftyparent on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 08:10:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Diarists Wrap (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I tried to do some statistics on the comments. These are approximate and I tried to be fair.

    43 posts supported my general position that CCSS should be stopper or at least slowed.

    28 posts opposed my general position and there were another 41 posts that were tangential to the conversation or took no position.

    16 of the opposed posts came from one poster.

    There were 26 posters who supported my position and 9 posters who opposed it.

    Of the comments opposing my fundamental position, I agree with many of their points. I think it is likely that the CCSS will be an improvement over existing standards, however, no one knows for sure because the normally judicious step of field testing has been skipped. No poster addressed why that is reasonable or justifiable.

    I believe some people are working very hard to implement the CCSS and are so emotionally invested that they cannot look at the likelihood that these standards will be perverted by testing requirements and used as a weapon to further denigrate teachers and public schools.

    The rush to implement CCSS reminds me of the rush to implement value added measures (VAM). What little data we have about VAM is that it is unreliable yet the DOE is mandating VAM with many types of coercion. Standards based testing does not measure teaching so the idea that a valid measure of teaching can come from an instrument that does not measure teaching is folly. In the same way, we are mandating an expensive radical change in education without diligently reviewing the standards to ensure they are not misaligned.

    While I am for a national curriculum guideline or framework, I am absolutely opposed to standards based high stakes testing and the attended accountability associated. High stakes standardized testing is a recipe for terrible pedagogy. Standards and the testing that enforces them will continue the terrible legacy of NCLB. I believe it is a complete illusion to think that a new generation of testing will solve this problem. It will still come down to whatever is tested is what will be taught.

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