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Earlier this year in one of Delaware School's teacher/parent open houses, where the parent is given the child's schedule and follows that child's schedule room by room, block by block, one single parent anxiously anticipated seeing her child's English teacher. This parent had been an avid reader and throughly enjoyed her English classes growing up which turned her onto literature and writing.

After all the adults had finally wriggled themselves into the kids seats by sucking in their loose bellies, the teacher began with "this year I will be following the Common Core Curriculum."

She continued she had been educated in it over the summer in a number of seminars. "I don't really agree with it but I really have no choice. I was told that this is what we are going to learn, this has achieved results, and that results, bottom line, are what we are after."

Each day, she told us, she was to distribute the corporate-created handout and the class would then read it together, go over it for meaning and technique, and then write paragraphs at the end of each class.

Near the end of the session this parent raised her hand.


"Will they be reading any literature, and if so, which historical period is it that they will be reading?"

"Umm, that's a great question" was the response. "I hope as it gets close to the end of the year, to sometime pull out a book for extra credit if we get ourselves through the curriculum, but right now, the curriculum is so well organized that we have to follow it exactly until we get to the end. Hopefully, then, we can do something interesting. I read some good books over the summer and I would love to analyze that with the class."

"Was it 50 Shades of Gray?"

"Ohh, I did read that. i, umm, loved that book."

Well that is what happened last fall.....

This January the grades came out. And I happened to be talking to this mother's daughter.... "Oh, wow, you really dropped in English. That was your best grade last year? What's different?

"It's SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO boring.!" "Last year we were performing Romeo and Juliette, and actually writing Sonnets, poetry, Haiku's and reading and discussing some really great stories. "

"What is this year like?"

"We get this paper and it is sooo boring. Just like reading those things on the DST (Delaware State Test), where they have one paragraph and you have to answer questions about that paragraph."

"What are these paragraphs about? Aren't the topics even interesting? Like Literature? "

"They are soooooo stupid. Here is today's... i was sooooo bored I forgot to turn it in.... "


"Inventory" was almost here. Miguel had to count all the product on his shelves. He didn't have time. In the morning deliveries came and had to be stocked and rotated. Once he opened his doors, he had to handle customers, and never was a time that no one was in the building. Then in the evening, he had to stay to make sure his evening shift was running smoothly. His assistant came in at five, and Miguel would wait to make sure all staff was present and accounted for, that no manpower shortages would occur, and that all equipment was working properly, before he could leave. He started every day at 5 am..."










From Shakespeare to this..... This is Common Core, ladies and gentlemen.

This approaches the most basic, lowest common denominator level of educating students to the barest minimum. Whereas you may look into this story for additional insight and perspective as one would be prone to look to literature for the same, and if you did, you would be marked wrong.
Because the answers expected here, are not profound. Common Core is asking students who have never run a grocery store or even been employed, to fill in the last sentence of something that is entirely alien to them. None have ever taken management 101. At most, their only experience with time-management was balance two homework assignments in the same evening. The correct answer to the question asking for the key point of this paragraph, (drumroll please), is..... "Miguel doesn't have time to do inventory".  If you had said, "Miguel needs more help", "Miguel needs to hire more people", "Miguel should fake inventory,""Miguel has an all-nighter coming up soon", you would be wrong with a big red X. There is nothing open to interpretation here. Common Core is always right.

You are beginning to see the problem here.  Common Core went to employers to find out what was missing in the education pieces in what they were receiving.  My guess one of them was a manager.. To "him", this is a big dilemma:  no time to do inventory because of all ones regular duties.  To "him", overcoming this problem was the biggest challenge in his early career.  I'm sure he means well when he puts this problem down for all to consider.

To "him", the subtleness of Marc Anthony's speech in Julius Caesar, is completely lost. After all, it is irrelevant to his world, which consists of putting product on a shelf and selling it to neighborhood customers.
Shakespeare's Julius Caesar is the reason today I fight so hard for democracy, and understand why democracy and autocratic competence are always in opposition...  It was when i was in this little child's grade that I read that and then stood in front of my class as did everyone else, and recite...."Friends, Romans, Countrymen. Lend my your ears." (I always wanted to hand out plastic Mr. Potato ears to the entire class and have us all throw them at the first person who got up to recite....)  

We are creating a nation of shelf stockers who will never think past "first let me put up this can, then next, I'll put up that can, and then I'll put up another can."  Right now I can hear Steve Martin saying "that person hates cans!"

America needs shelf stockers.  But I think society is made better when those shelf stockers do what they have to do to make a living, and then go home and write their novel....

Just as Budweiser got watered down to broaden its appeal to non beer drinkers who would balk at a Dogfish IPA 90. Just as television dumbed down it's comedy so even the most stupid would still tune in just to see tits and ass; just as newspapers write on a 8th grade level to sell more papers to those who can understand what they are discussing, .... the success we currently see on Common Core taught class tests, is simply there because no un-watered-down knowledge is required.  The tests are created so simple that everyone will pass. If of course, they are given the "right" code and "know" the "prompts" for the "correct" answer to each question that will be asked.....

We are not educating America.  We are turning off America from really learning....
"But you do so well on taking the tests," I said!

"Oh, the final exams are only 10% of the grade. The classwork is the other 90%. And I'm pretty good on tests.  I can tell which is the right answer by reading how they ask and how they offer the answer, even if I have no idea of what they are talking about. "

Wow.  I had no idea it was this bad.

So, guys.  what are we going to do about it?

Originally posted to kavips on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 10:10 PM PST.

Also republished by Education Alternatives and Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (192+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ckntfld, Cassandra Waites, revsue, Empty Vessel, Renee, radical simplicity, Lonely Texan, Siri, Chi, Lily O Lady, worldlotus, nuclear winter solstice, radarlady, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, concernedamerican, Cedwyn, Mrs M, Thestral, Steven D, enufisenuf, MPociask, irate, Captain Pants, DBunn, sfgb, PsychoSavannah, Magnifico, elwior, pixxer, quill, noladq, mrkvica, Smoh, hubcap, entrelac, jguzman17, heedolsi, futilitismo, gulfgal98, timj, Dartagnan, Eowyn9, Calamity Jean, Marjmar, stormicats, AnnieR, NoMoreLies, dwahzon, codairem, FloridaSNMOM, lcrp, sostos, Gowrie Gal, zerelda, jfromga, Nina Katarina, rbird, TheDuckManCometh, blackjackal, Son of a Cat, Azazello, anodnhajo, Eddie L, Bill Roberts, zenox, The Lone Apple, myeye, Reino, bronte17, figbash, maggiejean, liz dexic, roses, cybersaur, Rogneid, Orinoco, Shockwave, J M F, OregonWetDog, texasmom, wader, nomandates, Regina in a Sears Kit House, VTCC73, MKinTN, Wood Dragon, wayoutinthestix, Mac in Maine, madhaus, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, Jake Williams, marleycat, Snuffleupagus, Leeloo, Lujane, Gorette, prfb, gizmo59, CorinaR, Chitown Kev, 2laneIA, Al Fondy, Guile Of The Gods, Brooke In Seattle, madgranny, slowbutsure, tofumagoo, weaponsofmassdeception, socindemsclothing, serendipityisabitch, Nicci August, wasatch, dewtx, DianeNYS, dkmich, AZGoob, ubertar, RoCali, Subterranean, cwsmoke, Mr Robert, Matilda, J V Calin, dRefractor, alice kleeman, angelajean, Another Grizzle, HeyMikey, CoolOnion, spacecadet1, Shadowmage36, lazybum, JerryNA, Temmoku, possum, Milly Watt, Miss Jones, linkage, annan, WearyIdealist, TheGreatLeapForward, decisivemoment, OllieGarkey, leftist vegetarian patriot, blueoasis, old wobbly, denise b, pat bunny, orson, BlueDragon, emal, helpImdrowning, cardboardurinal, ToeJamFootball, Aaa T Tudeattack, mythatsme, xaxnar, magnetics, itzadryheat, Friend in Miami, eeff, trumpeter, Chaddiwicker, splashy, terabytes, lurkyloo, semioticjim, Grandma Susie, vahana, dle2GA, Robynhood too, carolyn urban, Frameshift, Black Max, The Pseudorandom Cat, HamilcarBarca, Yamara, tubacat, blukat, Jollie Ollie Orange, flor de jasmim, nzanne, Ohkwai, qofdisks, mungley, joycemocha, ccasas, GeorgeXVIII, YucatanMan, GreyHawk, bluedust, jayden
  •  We've killed education. (76+ / 0-)

    I'm really afraid we'll have a lost generation or two until enough people realize we've killed the ability to enjoy narrative, context, and the meaning of life beyond struggling to survive.

    Maybe we'll need to do underground schools, the way the women and girls learn in Afghanistan, just so our kids can have the chance to be exposed to literature.

    "Because inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened." -Terry Pratchett

    by revsue on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 10:25:45 PM PST

    •  There is a reason why secular homeschooling (64+ / 0-)

      Is now 50/50 with religious homeschooling. Much as we'd like to use the public schools, there is NO WAY our kids are going to be stunted this way, if we have any option at all to give them a better education. For many of us, since we can't afford private school, we opt to teach our kids.

    •  revsue - many "communities" in the US (16+ / 0-)

      have had a focus on supplemental teaching when they thought the public schools were lacking. The most common one in my area were the Asian children who would attend math classes every Saturday morning. There doesn't need to be an "underground" character to supplemental education and the more open it is the better chance it would have to influence local educational policy. A one evening a week, or Saturday morning, literature class could make a real difference. Another option is finding an online literature class and "home schooling" one subject as a supplement to the public school English curriculum.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 07:42:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

        •  Nance - that's certainly true (9+ / 0-)

          But Asians in the freshmen class at UC Berkeley and UCLA are overrepresented by 3X compared to their percentage of the number of high school students in California.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:06:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yippee! (17+ / 0-)

            Let's all go to school 6 days a week because our local public school can't manage to prepare us if we only go 5 days a week and that's what life is, kids, competing to get that slot at college.

            Gad. What a sad way to live.

            •  speaking as the parent of a half asian (7+ / 0-)

              and one who worked in schools in Taiwan, China, Thailand, and Laos, they too feel sorry for you.   And your kids.

              How big is your personal carbon footprint?

              by ban nock on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:33:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Nance - given your experience in home schooling (7+ / 0-)

              Parents could supplement classroom work with home schooling modules in subjects like literature. Most kids have an extra hour or so a day for an enrichment activity.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:50:00 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not after the homework is done... (12+ / 0-)

                Which is actually a separate problem, that some kids don't have time to do enough reading for pleasure.

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

                by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:31:46 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  My children are now adults (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wader, Lujane, JerryNA, Larin, Linda Wood

                  but it seems as though teens have an inordinate amount of time to be on the phone talking or texting or being in front of a TV or computer screen not working on homework. Being a parent before all teenagers had cell phones and PCs hadn't overwhelmed our life was easier. My children (all girls) were involved in sports after school until dinner and for a portion of most Saturdays and Sundays. They still had time to do their homework and read for pleasure. It's really about the priorities each family sets and how time is managed.  

                  "let's talk about that"

                  by VClib on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:58:55 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Then you are unfamiliar with how much high (12+ / 0-)

                    school has changed in the last few years.  My daughter is a senior in high school. She has increasingly found it difficult to meet with friends because of their schedules.  An extra trip their orchestra is taking is having a large number of them saying they don't have the time (or the money) to go. At this rate they may have to cancel the date.

                    Suggest you seek out "Race to Nowhere" to get an idea how much things have changed.

                    Also, I live in a school district that is a mix of white, East Asian, and South Asian, with a bit of Mexican/Central American.  There's a constant push/pull between one set of families asking for less busywork and another asking for more.  I'm sure you can imagine who is asking for what.  In the elementary school district there are four alternative programs. The "learning by doing" program, which is a little like Waldorf, is the whitest one of the 20 elementaries.  The most Asian (both East and South) is the "back-to-basics" that does drill, drill, drill, and then more drill.  They have repeatedly scored a perfect 1000 on the state API tests.  The whole SCHOOL.

                    While the district has so far resisted this corporate takeover of the curriculum, there is still the teaching to the test issue (the drill school is that in spades) so Common Core is the trickle down of that mentality to the district level.  We have to fight this, and we're up against a lot of very wealthy people.  This is what Gates and some of the other foundations run by even more right-wing jerks have done: they've trained a bunch of people in this thinking and then they get placed as school administrators and bring in this shit.  And we need to call it the shit it is.

                    It turns learning into drone work, teaching into an assembly-line, and schools into factories.  

                    And this is part of why I hate charter schools so much.  Because when the school districts resist these "reforms," they do an end-run around and destroy them.

                    •  madhause - thank you for a very informative (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      elfling, Larin, Steve Canella, kyril

                      and thoughtful comment. I don't doubt for a minute that times have changed in a significant way. My grandchildren are still toddlers so school hasn't become an issue in their lives yet. There is no doubt that parenting continues to be more challenging for each generation.

                      "let's talk about that"

                      by VClib on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:14:18 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, who will thrive? (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      FG, Steve Canella, kyril, Linda Wood

                      It turns learning into drone work, teaching into an assembly-line, and schools into factories.  

                      I would guess that controlling for economic background, the "back to basics" school with its "drill, drill, drill" focus will end up the most successful.

                      A few kids from the Waldorf-style school might go on to get into better colleges and have better/sexier jobs, but most of that was probably due to the social class advantages of the parents.

                      Not having a trust fund to fall back on, I will cast my lot with the "drill, drill, drill" school which is obviously producing amazing results.

                      •  It depends what you mean by successful (6+ / 0-)

                        Test scores are one measure but not the only one.

                        Singapore gets higher test scores, but how many Nobel prizes do they have?

                        The United States has never been a leader in international test scores... and yet we've done OK for ourselves.

                        What makes workers great and economies successful is the ability to synthesize combinations that no one else thought to try before. Drilling on facts and rules doesn't create that.

                        The right education includes a mix of facts, problem solving, and the ability to find facts when needed. These days, the ability to find and discern the right fact - when so much more knowledge is instantly available but where sources can be wrong - is probably more important than it used to be.

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

                        by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:30:25 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Certain things are difficult. (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Steve Canella, kyril, Linda Wood

                          In my experience, a lot of things in math and science and language don't lend themselves to osmosis. Rather, it takes a lot of hard work to master those concepts, and a lot of time spent doing "drill and kill." Rich kids at the Waldorf-type schools will do fine: their scores and grades might not be the highest, but they can take advantage of legacy admissions to college and find a good job through family connections. But without that, you have to rely on raw mastery of the material which these intense back-to-basics schools teach and the families most intensely focused on academic and professional achievement prefer. The other students' families tend to be more focused on natural talent and figure "they will do fine." But if you want to matter the most difficult material possible as quickly as possible, you will be drawn to these more intense schools.

                          •  Waldorf type schools are very popular in Silicon (3+ / 0-)

                            Valley. The parents there aren't choosing them because they think they'll get legacy university admissions.

                            Note your emphasis on "quickly." What is the advantage for "quickly" in education?

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

                            by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:59:04 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't know a lot about Waldorf (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Larin, mahakali overdrive, Linda Wood

                            but this study suggests that their graduates do well in college and are successful in a wide variety of fields including the sciences.

                            Standing-Out without Standing Alone: Profile of Waldorf School Graduates

                            The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

                            by Mr Robert on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 02:51:52 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Knitting is good for math skills (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Mr Robert

                            but hard to test on a bubble test.

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

                            by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 03:54:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh, yes (0+ / 0-)

                            Fortunately, I attended schools at a time when my teacher's assessment of my progress counted a lot more than some test.

                            The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

                            by Mr Robert on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:45:04 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I am sure they do fine (0+ / 0-)

                            Waldorf type schools are very popular in Silicon Valley

                            Since most parents will be unlikely to be a wealthy Silicon Valley parent raising my children in the wealthiest part of the USA, I am not sure the experience of any children I send to school will be directly comparable to theirs. As I said, I am sure Waldorf students do fine considering what kind of socio-economic background they come from. But I suspect that their success is more due to the "Silicon Valley parents" part than the "Waldorf" part.

                          •  Maybe (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Mr Robert

                            but these are people who are highly technical and who for the most part value skills that will make them valuable to a high technology world. You might ask yourself why those parents, people who are experts in technology and a technological workforce, aren't choosing drill-based instruction or flocking to schools with big homework loads. They're picking schools that value skills like knitting.

                            It may be that different parents, though, need different schools to complement their parental strengths and weaknesses. That's something that in general we need to consider in schooling.

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

                            by elfling on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 11:52:03 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Nope. (0+ / 0-)

                            Speaking as a graduate of a small rural Waldorf school I can tell you that while Waldorf schools in more affluent areas may perform better due to more funds, by no means is it even close to the absolute dichotomy that exists between say Los Gatos High School and Berkeley High School. Those schools may as well be on different planets for all intents and purposes.

                            The Waldorf theory and curriculum is vastly superior to those of public schools or even overpriced private religious schools. It teaches kids to be independent critical thinkers and actually encourages artistic development instead of stifling it. Public school graduates have to find artistic fulfillment through other means and are ridiculed by both students and teachers for wanting more out of life than material possessions.

                            Speak to some actual Waldorf graduates, then speak to some public school graduates and see the difference.

                            Don't send your kids to public schools! Our broken education system is one of the chief reasons our nation has so many problems, and our colleges are no better. If we don't find a way to create a more informed and better educated citizenry soon, the world will leave us in the dust. Period.

                          •  quickly (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Linda Wood

                            What is the advantage for "quickly" in education?

                            You start school at the age of 5. You have precisely 8 years to prepare for high school and then 4 years after that. You need to demonstrate mastery of a lot of concepts very soon in order to prepare yourself for admission to college, and that includes calculus, the sciences, a foreign language, and a large corpus of literature. Math and science in particular are very difficult to master and take a lot of time to figure out-- like learning a musical instrument, it depends on practice, practice, practice. "Drill, drill, drill" is like boot camp for the mind: it gets it "in shape."

                            I am sure if you are particularly wealthy and charismatic, you can distinguish yourself in the classroom on the basis of your charm. But some people are going to have to distinguish themselves on the basis on their test scores and demonstration of mastery of the material.

                          •  Learning is not strictly linear, though (0+ / 0-)

                            and maturity is part of learning. I see this in sports as well as in reading or math or science. If you introduce a skill too early, it won't necessarily be mastered earlier.

                            There are some optimal times in brain formation for certain skills, and there is a real importance in foundations as well. For example, when my mom taught math, she found that kids had a hard time learning algebra because they were hardwired to feel that the answer is always on the right. That's why today math starting in kindergarten puts the "answer" spot everywhere it could be - left, right, in the middle, as in 4 + ? = 6.

                            There's a movement within education to make kindergarten more and more academic, expecting kids to read and do math by the end of K. Parents are responding... that is, wealthy parents who can afford to ... by keeping their kids out of kindergarten until a year later. There's no evidence that suggests those more academic kindergartens are creating more kids who get to calculus.

                            Now foreign language... that's maybe something that all our kindergarteners should probably have.

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

                            by elfling on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 11:58:55 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I could not disagree more (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassandra Waites, Nance, Larin

                            with your point about drill and kill. I hated math in high school, an did not realize that I was geared for it until I got into college. Had an amazing prof who had the ability to put things into a bigger context, not just a series of small tasks.

                            The way math is taught in high school makes people hate it. It is forced down throats, rather than offered up as a way to make sense of the universe.

                            We need more Carl Sagans and Richard Feynmans, and less Sgt. Hartmans.

                            Small varmints, if you will.

                            by aztecraingod on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 01:59:08 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Dr. Feynman on drill-and-kill (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Eowyn9, aztecraingod

                            This is from a sabbatical he took in Brazil.

                            I discovered a very strange phenomenon: I could ask a question, which the students would answer immediately. But the next time I would ask the question – the same subject, and the same question, as far as I could tell – they couldn’t answer it at all! For instance, one time I was talking about polarized light, and I gave them all some strips of polaroid.

                            Polaroid passes only light whose electric vector is in a certain direction, so I explained how you could tell which way the light is polarized from whether the polaroid is dark or light.
                            We first took two strips of polaroid and rotated them until they let the most light through. From doing that we could tell that the two strips were now admitting light polarized in the same direction – what passed through one piece of polaroid could also pass through the other. But then I asked them how one could tell the absolute direction of polarization, for a single piece of polaroid.

                            They hadn’t any idea.

                            I knew this took a certain amount of ingenuity, so I gave them a hint: “Look at the light reflected from the bay outside.”

                            Nobody said anything.

                            Then I said, “Have you ever heard of Brewster’s Angle?”
                            “Yes, sir! Brewster’s Angle is the angle at which light reflected from a medium with an index of refraction is completely polarized.”

                            “And which way is the light polarized when it’s reflected?”
                            “The light is polarized perpendicular to the plane of reflection, sir.” Even now, I have to think about it; they knew it cold! They even knew the tangent of the angle equals the index!
                            I said, “Well?”

                            Still nothing. They had just told me that light reflected from a medium with an index, such as the bay outside, was polarized; they had even told me which way it was polarized.
                            I said, “Look at the bay outside, through the polaroid. Now turn the polaroid.”

                            “Ooh, it’s polarized!” they said.

                            After a lot of investigation, I finally figured out that the students had memorized everything, but they didn’t know what anything meant. When they heard “light that is reflected from a medium with an index,” they didn’t know that it meant a material such as water. They didn’t know that the “direction of the light” is the direction in which you see something when you’re looking at it, and so on. Everything was entirely memorized, yet nothing had been translated into meaningful words. So if I asked, “What is Brewster’s Angle?” I’m going into the computer with the right keywords. But if I say, “Look at the water,” nothing happens – they don’t have anything under “Look at the water”!

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

                            by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:14:50 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  By the way, I would say that the goals of common (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Linda Wood


                            are to avoid this problem he encountered in Brazil, to ensure that kids have more hands on and more application of the material they learn. Whether or not that is how it will be implemented remains to be seen.

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

                            by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:16:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  How it is implemented may be (0+ / 0-)

                            the entire point of this diary, as the Common Core is implemented differently by districts all over the country.

                            Some states and districts may develop beneficial and effective curricula, while others may design curricula aimed at preparing students to place cans on shelves at Walmart.

                          •  Making sense of the universe is great! (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Linda Wood

                            It is! But calculus is a lot of effort. I think the problem is that people approach a field and realize, "this is hard. I guess I don't have a natural talent for it" and give up. But that's the point: even if you are "talented", material takes a lot of time and work to master. Learning a language is a lot of effort. Figuring out physics is tough-- you have to do it over and over again until you "get it." But teachers don't like to teach that way and only a subset of parents consider those skills valuable.

                        •  What is not taught, and whether it is (4+ / 0-)

                          purposeful or not, is critical thinking.  The most basic skills are in the textbook 'systems' we teachers are given, approved by the state, and are made by textbook monopolies like Houghton-Mifflin, which has pretty much gobbled up all competition.  Yes, the way it is expected of us, we really are supposed to turn out semiskilled temp workers who question nothing and work with mindless precision on dull, repetitious tasks.  

                          But being an admirer of the late Professor Carl Sagan, I have found that whether it is part of the curriculum or not, I can teach critical thinking skills simply by modelling them for my their role-model, my third grade class looks to me for guidance.  I teach them to question authority, to refuse to accept on faith any information offered them without proof, even from me: doubt the claims of television commercials, the praise of 'them' for the latest popular music, films, or games... I tell them, "What do YOU think about it?  Don't ask ME what I think of it, what do YOU think?"  Remember, these are eight and nine year old children, and the sense of empowerment they get at being able to challenge suspect information from adults is amazing.  Of course, the flip side of this is that they also get taught by me to accept verified proof as fact.  No questioning something you have found to be undeniably true, even if it conflicts with your own opinions or previously-held beliefs.

                          To sum up:  Until they install cameras or armed guards in my classroom, NO ONE is forcing me to mis-educate the priceless little people in my room.  I'll practice what amounts to civil disobedience in there, regardless of test scores, until they run me out of town.

                          "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell

                          by HamilcarBarca on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:26:21 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  today's Village Voice takes a good look at these (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ubertar, Mr Robert

                      If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

                      by livjack on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:29:35 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  My kid doesn't have a cell phone (14+ / 0-)

                    and very typically has 2-3 hours of homework in an evening. She is in Jr. High.

                    I won't say that her time is 100% productive, but it's not spent texting or doing something else. That's only counting time staring at a book or worksheet.

                    When I was a kid, I didn't have any homework until high school. My daughter has had homework since kindergarten.

                    By the time she gets home, she is tired. It's not optimal for trying to do productive learning. I know I am not the only parent in my school who has been dismayed to discover that weeknight dinners at the grandparents will mean that my child can't finish her homework that night without staying up far past bedtime.

                    There is a sense that "more is better" and has been a lot of pressure on teachers to add homework. I am not sure it is actually improving learning (and this has been an ongoing discussion with the school). It's hard, though, to be brave enough to make a commitment to less homework, as a parent, teacher, or administrator. No one will fault you if too much homework makes the test scores go down.

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

                    by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:09:42 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Bedtime reading (9+ / 0-)

                  My mother loved great literature and read to me every night.  We did the complete works of O. Henry, Mark Twain, Shirley Jackson, E. M. Forster, H. H. Munro, James Joyce, Kafka etc.  This cemented my great love of reading and literature.

                •  AND they are expected to volunteer for (6+ / 0-)

                  community service, and now they are saying having a job looks good too.

                  Give me a break.

                  Since when is the party that embraces all the top tenets of Satan allowed to call the God shots?--wyvern

                  by voracious on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:07:55 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It is possible. They could get their doctor to (0+ / 0-)

                    give them Modafinil (which is not a stimulant, btw) which would let them stay up for 5 days straight and then crash on Saturday.  Not even the company that makes it has any idea what that would do long term though it probably isn't anything good.

                    You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

                    by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 12:55:23 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Our kids read for pleasure (4+ / 0-)

                  in the bathoom, before bedtime, on weekends, etc.

                  When we tell them to turn off the television and computer(s), of course.

                  "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

                  by wader on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:08:28 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  We had a teacher who seemed to think none of us (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elfling, JerryNA, Steve Canella

                  were taking any other non-elective but hers.

                  Meaning we had kids who were doing homework on the bus to and from school, in the cafeteria at lunch, at the dinner table, and until their parents turned the lights off... and still weren't done. For that one class.

                  And when we complained, because just about everyone was doing one of those and a handful were doing all, we were reminded of how much later our parents were letting us stay up than when we were 5 and how early school let out and how we were honors students and not on athletic teams so certainly we had those multiple hours available every night to do her homework.

                  And then I got an F on the Pygmalion worksheet packet we were given to do over Thanksgiving that I literally ignored the entire family gathering to get done. They just left me alone on the couch with the book once we were done reading and wished me well. She said she couldn't read my handwriting - my hand had been cramping and I was writing fast to simply try to get it over and done with, and I still nearly didn't have it done by Monday.

                  Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

                  by Cassandra Waites on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:59:59 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Not if they are taking AP classes which bog the (6+ / 0-)

                kids down with ridiculous homework. I don't really care if my son is spending his nights writing essays, but I do care that he has his History book open and he is just taking page after page of notes that have to be turned in for credit. Come on, that is not preparing someone for college.

                Since when is the party that embraces all the top tenets of Satan allowed to call the God shots?--wyvern

                by voracious on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:07:19 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  That is what prepares them for college (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Lujane, FG, Maple Jenny

                  While by the time you get to high school, you should be grading students' notes, college does involve having to absorb and understand voluminous amounts of information in a very short time period, and AP classes prepare students for that level of workload. See how many students get 4s and 5s on the AP exam: if it is most of the class, then the teacher is doing a good job.

                  •  not really (0+ / 0-)

                    My son took AP literature in high school and was bored and resentful. Now at a small liberal arts college where there are no standardized exams to prep for, he is stretching beyond his wildest imaginings. His peers are bright and thoughtful and he's never worked harder in school. Thank goodness there is no drill and kill to be found in this place where he finally has the space to read and think and write.

                    And not all Waldorf-type students are rich or will turn to family connections to get jobs. My son attended a crunchy private K-8 school and then attended a public high school. He has done some entrepreneurial things, all through his own pluck and grit. He learned his times tables without much difficulty. Other applications of drill and kill are suspect.

                    •  AP literature (0+ / 0-)

                      Lots of students would be desperate for an opportunity to take a well-taught AP English Literature class in high school. Sure it would take a lot of work, but that would be a process of preparing oneself for a university-level workload.

                      We had our own version of "drill, drill, drill" in English class for high school: every two weeks, we had to turn in a paper of 800-1200 words. It did us a lot of good because we got a lot of experience in writing that students in other schools never got and were unprepared for when they came to college. That did wonders for me, and to this day, I remember my English teachers the most fondly, even though I am currently a research scientist.

              •  Yes. We call that life. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                It's not on top of 6 or 8 hours of drone work. There is a vast difference between having the time to enjoy a good book -- whether or not it is anyone's idea of literature -- and piling a "module" on top of everything else a schooled kid would have to do.

            •  You don't have to go to school for 6 days a week. (7+ / 0-)

              I feel like the public high school my son attends wastes their time. His home-schooled peers spend less time in a classroom but they are twice as educated because their time is spent more wisely.

              When it is time to compete for space in California's UC campuses homeschooled kids are twice as educated. My son spent a year taking AP US History where the kids took endless notes out of the textbook and crammed for a test that they may or may not pass. It is not accelerated work, it is just more rote work. His homeschooled friend took US History at a community college. He has the college credit in one semester, and can take another class the second semester.

              My opinion of my child's public high school is that even the advanced, honors or accelerated classes are a joke. They do not offer keyboarding or Excel/Word as a requirement anymore, but the kids are forced to take PE for two years. So my kid will graduate without taking a single computers class, but he will have had 4 units of square dancing.

              Since when is the party that embraces all the top tenets of Satan allowed to call the God shots?--wyvern

              by voracious on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:06:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree with everything except the PE (4+ / 0-)

                It's trying to instill the idea that exercise is useful and sports can be part of your life. Square dancing is aerobic activity.  And that's better than the bad old days where the least athletic still had to take football and get knocked around.

                Some states require all 4 years of PE.  I think 2 is a good compromise.

                My son is angry at all the busywork in high school and now he is refusing to go at all.

                •  I have no problem with PE but if a kid plays (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elfling, Mr Robert, Larin, Steve Canella

                  a sport they shouldn't have to take it. My son ran cross country, he should have been able to take an elective instead of PE.

                  My son is a Junior and is taking classes at the local university. He has really had his eyes opened about what a waste of time some high school classes are.

                  Since when is the party that embraces all the top tenets of Satan allowed to call the God shots?--wyvern

                  by voracious on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:10:26 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  My daughter is taking computers now (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mr Robert, Larin, Steve Canella

                We are lucky to have a really terrific computer instructor, someone who is creative and enthusiastic and really excellent.

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

                by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:32:46 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  the AP notetaking borders on the ridiculous (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                elfling, aztecraingod, JerryNA

                Instead of reading and discussing and analyzing the historical events, they are forced to produce pages and pages of material they are simply copying out of the texts. There may be some retention for those inclined that way--but for others??

                I do understand there is some overhauling of the AP curriculum underway--one can hope that the content shoveling approach is rethought.

                If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

                by livjack on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:36:33 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I say this not half jokingly (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mrs M

                  But I've learned more about European history from playing Crusader Kings 2 for a couple of months after work than I did in 2 years of high school history.

                  It's one thing to read a blurb about the causes of the Hundred Years' War, but it's another thing entirely to navigate a succession crisis yourself.

                  Pretty amazing thing, that.

                  Small varmints, if you will.

                  by aztecraingod on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 02:09:47 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  has AP curriculum changed? (0+ / 0-)

                  I don't remember having to turn in pages upon pages of notes for credit---this was 13 years ago though...

                  [insert pithy sig line here]

                  by terrypinder on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 04:43:21 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  at my childrens (6+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Nance, Larin, lurkyloo, Mrs M, Lisa, Linda Wood

                school the PE includes a lot of anatomy, health and first aid.  It is a wonderful class.  I wish they would take 4 years of PE in place of a few AP classes.  I never thought I would say or feel such a thing.  

                My kids have way too much homework.  I have to plead with them to go  to bed at night so they get enough sleep.  Right now I don't care about their grades (they do).  All I care about is their health and the stress on these kids is TOO much.

                Balance is missing.

                •  And people wonder why Ritalin and Adderall (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  are being sold in many schools to kids who would normally never use such drugs.  That's right, kids are now taking amphetamines not for recreational purposes but  for performance enhancement.

                  You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

                  by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 12:58:35 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Did we ever really have it? (5+ / 0-)

      The poor and disenfranchised never have. Education also threatens the power elite because an educational system that actually turns out the best and brightest operating at full potential will eventually disrupt and replace the existing hierarchy. So I don't think this country has ever fulfilled the mission of educating the public as it should be done.

    •  there is life beyond struggling to survive? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      I'm really afraid we'll have a lost generation or two until enough people realize we've killed the ability to enjoy narrative, context, and the meaning of life beyond struggling to survive.
      Maybe for rich people who have the luxury of making their own decisions and then choosing to things on the basis of values and aspirations.

      Something's wrong when the bad guys are the utopian ones.

      by Visceral on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:40:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hey! but don't worry! Tom Friedman's got your (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vahana, Linda Wood

      back!  Online education --or as I call it, virtual education, is going to save everyone.

      It gets rid of those pesky teachers who always want a raise, and replaces them with online videos of the world's greatest professors.  What could go wrong?

      Well, I work in a technical profession, and I will certify that the difficult subject matter I struggled with during my schooling, and throughout my career, cannot be taught without a flesh and blood classroom experience.  I refer to subjects such as thermodynamics, electromagnetism, even basic calculus.

      These things are bloody hard, and students have to get over serious misconceptions to finally master them, and without interactive guidance and mentoring, it won't be done.  You say the classroom experience is imperfect?  Some teachers aren't great mentors?  Welcome to reality!  On average they have done an amazing job over the past, say, four or five centuries.

      On the other hand, who needs people at the intellectual level of scientists and engineers?  If everyone was as smart as a newspaper columnist, wouldn't that be good enough?  A columnist who never pays a penalty for having given the wrong answer?  Try that out next time you have to build a bridge.

      The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

      by magnetics on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:28:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not "we" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's the right wingers that want everyone to not have the ability to reason things out.

      Oh, and make money doing it.

      Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

      by splashy on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:39:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm thinking there is another way (29+ / 0-)

    besides retreating from public schools. That is essentially what the voucher system sells.  Retreat, retreat.

    I think that exposing to the general public what actually is being taught, will be enough to jar them and make them understand that teachers truly aren't the problem.

    They are the whistle-blowers like Rose on the debris of the Titanic, signaling, we're still alive; quick, help is needed over here.....
    •  I think the voucher system just sells fear, (28+ / 0-)

      in order to get private business hands on public money.

      Poverty = politics.

      by Renee on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:15:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  devil is in the details (19+ / 0-)

        I can specifically remember when I first heard of the voucher system, ... it was on some CNN show called Hannity and Colmes.  It has sales appeal.  Wow,  i thought. Letting people choose a successful school is ideal.  The bad schools fail, the good survive, and everyone gets a great education....

        Problem, is that most charter schools fail.  The problem is not the teaching.  Nor is it the academics.  It is primarily lack of funding, lack of business savvy, emotionally made personnel decisions, and doing all this, while at the same time trying to jump through the necessary hoops required by both state and Federal law.  Their success rate is very low.

        So dooming a district to fail by instituting a voucher system into a failed program, is not helping educate those children.
        The answer is not as easy as just staying in public schools. The answer is re-investing considerable amounts of money back into public schools, and to do that, all talk of a voucher system needs to disappear completely...

        Vouchers are a synonym for education for a profit.  If vouchers were legal, Bain Capital would jump at the chance to buy a school, leverage it with excruciating debt, pay off the investors with bonuses and then go bankrupt.  They would jump at the chance.....

    •  The 'general public' isn't going to have the clout (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, Lujane, JerryNA

      with the administrators setting curriculum.  You need to rally all of the parents with kids in those and upcoming classes specifically, and get a full fledged revolt going.

    •  Whoops, my apologies, I hadn't realized (12+ / 0-)

      this was being imposed at the state level, and not just the by local school district.  It looks like you were correct, it does need to be more than just the parents of kids in that one school. Ick, ick, ick.

    •  Since most children (7+ / 0-)

      are going to go to public school, yes, it is important to publicize exactly what is, and isn't, being taught there.

    •  The "General Public" is what started this. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, Subterranean, magnetics

      Before the emphasis on testing, the General Public saw that many inner-city kids were not learning to read.  So they allowed the current pro-testing regime to take control.

      The Diarist implies that kids used to learn Shakespeare and now they learn Inventory, but that's just not true.

      The truth is that inner-city kids used to learn nothing...and now they learn inventory.
      Unfortunately, many Nice Suburban Schools are getting caught in the net. These people are whining that their good, well-rounded classes are being replaced by test drills. They have a point.

      IF ONLY THERE WAS A WAY to let kids in tough schools choose better schools without dumbing down the whole system! If only parents in bad schools had a choice of where to send their kids! Then we would not have to impose Inventory Management Prose on all kids!

      But that would imply school choice. And there are entrenched interests that do not want to allow families to have choices.

      So, we must serve Mediocrity to all. Why? Because while Mediocrity is worse than Good, it is a damn sight better than Bad! And in the inner cities (not the leafy suburbs), Bad is the problem.

      •  My sister teaches at an inner city charter school (12+ / 0-)

        in Oakland. Her school follows a very rigid test-teaching curriculum. One year her students jumped higher than the other classes in test scores and they wanted to know what she did differently. She carved a few minutes out of every day to read a novel together as a class.

        Novels make reading fun. Inventory paragraphs aren't exactly fun to "discuss in depth."

        Since when is the party that embraces all the top tenets of Satan allowed to call the God shots?--wyvern

        by voracious on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:10:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It doesn't have to be novels either (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Whatever they read should be interesting and useful, not just reading for the sake of reading. They'd be better off with the newspaper than nonsense about inventories.

          We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

          by denise b on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 03:15:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  But WHO would make money off THAT?! (0+ / 0-)

            Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

            by ranton on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:52:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Let me add a link for exploration into school (0+ / 0-)
      •  I call bullshit. My wife taught for years (7+ / 0-)

        in inner city schools.  One year she taught her high-school seniors 'Othello', and introduced it with a football metaphor: black quarterback, white coach.

        Corny you say? It got over.

        Everyone wants to dump on public education, but the result is that a great system of national reach is being systematically ruined.  

        And charter schools are significant actors in the ruin.

        The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

        by magnetics on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:34:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Public education... (0+ / 0-)

 fantastic! It's great!

 the suburbs.

          Maybe you know one teacher in the inner city who was great. Maybe you know two!

          But overall, the results in the inner cities and poor rural areas are bad.

          This is not the fault of teachers. It is mostly because of socioeconomic factors. But the fact remains that tough situations call for tough measures. Hence the need for testing.

          We tried letting every teacher be their own special butterfly. It didn't work.

      •  School choice = Legally-encouraged white flight. (7+ / 0-)

        What you're asking for is for the parents who can afford to drive their kids and for the parents who have time investigating every school in the city to be the "winners."  The poor kids, the black kids and the brown kids, the ones whose parents don't speak much English and work two jobs, they'll still be in the bad schools.

        I don't mind merit-based or interest-based schools like they have in NYC and Boston.  I think that's good - send the struggling kid who loves art to an art magnet school and maybe they've got a better shot.  But plain vanilla school choice?  I know that you're not intending to be racism, but school choice, just like vouchers, is a tool of racists.  Sadly, the school choice people have gotten other reasonable people who care about their kids to sign on for it.

        Just answer this question - shouldn't every school be of at least minimum quality?  And if not, if you believe that some kids don't deserve to go to a school that meets at least minimum goals, why?  Which kids don't deserve to go to a competent school?  Who are they?  How do we identify those kids?

        Most other first-world countries can educate their kids, albeit with very different methods; Japanese schools and Swedish schools couldn't be more different, yet they manage to turn out better-educated graduates.  Why the fuck can't we?  Nobody asks that question.  Instead of doing what other countries do right, we keep trying to invent new shit; the new shit isn't even reasonable, it's usually motivated by either racism or a desire to completely remove Unionized labor from the American portrait.

        "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

        by auron renouille on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:16:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I had school choice in my district (0+ / 0-)

        It was only for high school, but during the summer between 8th and 9th grade my mom took me to all the public high school open house events (21 of them), and I got to speak with some of the teachers at each school, and booklets about the various magnet programs each school offered.  I went from hating every minute of every day (near suicide at times) in K-8, to loving school when I picked my high school.

      •  Here is an especially pertinent report on parent (0+ / 0-)

        choice as it relates to education...

        Three guesses as to what it says.

    •  Kavips, I'm just curious: (10+ / 0-)

      do you happen to know whether all the questions on that test were focused on such practical workplace scenarios? Like, you know,

      If Biff is regional manager for a paper distributor, and has ten employees in his white-collar workplace, how many trust-building exercises and leadership seminars will Biff have to participate in in order to optimize this work force, bringing them into line with corporate best practices?




      By the end of the sample paragraph you provided, I wanted to tie a boulder to my legs and leap into the nearest lake.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:39:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for writing that! (0+ / 0-)

      Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

      by ranton on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:49:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's a link (9+ / 0-)

    showing which states have adopted the common core standards.

    Poverty = politics.

    by Renee on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:18:59 PM PST

  •  Here are the Common Core Guidelines (20+ / 0-)

    As per the Washington Post two months ago.......

    Recommended Reading:

    Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” “FedViews,” by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (2009) and “Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management,” published by the General Services Administration.

    hmm. So which of Shakespeare's plays do we delete from our curriculum?

    Here is my problem.  Making your kid take out the trash every day at home, doesn't do a darn thing to help their habits in college where you aren't there to enforce it....   In the meantime, that kid goes through life thinking your priority in life is only about "taking out the trash."

    Tocqueville would be great in a class studying the origins of Democracy.  But it sure does little to inspire recreational reading....

    The fact that this was recommended by National Governors Association, which I remind everyone is dominated by Republicans,  proves we have some pretty dumb governors.

    •  To be fair (8+ / 0-)

      I don't think the Scarlet Letter inspired much recreational reading either.. Yeah sure, it's an interesting literary style (though difficult for some to read), but the book was about almost nothing..

      now the Great Gatsby on the other hand... I just hope that Leo and Toby don't screw that up.

      •  Actually Scarlet Letter is very age appropriate (12+ / 0-)

        at a point in their lives at which children are extremely tribal in outlook, and 'letterization' is in full bloom among them and their peers.  The problem is that very few teachers actually bother to turn it into learning on group dynamics and acceptance of difference.

        •  Age appropriate, maybe, but dull as dirt, IMHO. (14+ / 0-)

          My posse were voracious readers, well-read and well-taught, but we had to force ourselves to turn the pages of The Scarlet Letter.

          Around the same time (junior year), we also read Lord of the Flies. Also about tribalism and ostracism. Plus, engaging to young readers.

          •  So you should have been able to rip through it (8+ / 0-)

            very quickly and move on, then bring it all home in an AP style essay about the common themes of the two, and the lessons on alienation and social cohesion ;)

            But yeah, the dullest semester of my academic career was 'Modern Novel', whose main take-away for me was that the writing styles of most 'masterpieces' of the last century were godawful.  James Joyce, for instance, made me want to find a time machine, so I could go back in time to prevent him from writing Ulysses.

          •  I hate Lord of the Flies :-) (3+ / 0-)

            It didn't help that I ended up having to read it three times due to a quirk in curriculum.

            One of the things that I've noticed is that we tend to put literature that engaged the previous generation as our "hip trendy fiction." Holden Caufield spoke to his generation... but read it today and it doesn't really hold up over time.

            I'm a fan, actually, of teaching from novelas, shorter but meaty stories in the 100 page length. You can teach more of them, and they tend to be more tightly written than novels.

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

            by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:36:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Age-appropriate? Are we talking about the same (12+ / 0-)


          Yes, I read The Scarlet Letter when I was a sophomore in high school.  I thought it was boring and full of stupid people.  I re-read it when I was 18, and pow!  All of a sudden I understood that it was about a young woman married without love to an old man and sent to a foreign place where she had no friends or family, not even her husband!  Why was anyone surprised she committed adultery when she met a charismatic young man and experienced love for the first time?

          Frankly, this book shouldn't be part of the curriculum until at least senior in high school, and possibly college.  You need to have life experience to truly appreciate the story.

          We did Romeo and Juliet as 9th graders.  Clueless - I was clueless.  I didn't feel anything about it - other than the adults were stupid.  I saw the Zefferelli film after I was engaged to be married, and for the first time, I cried over the deaths of those two.  Because I was in love, I finally got what was happening!  (And Friar Lawrence is a huge idiot - did it never occur to him to go to the Prince and say, 'Have I got a solution for the violence in your city!'  Nope.)

          Yeah, I was an English major in college.  Can you tell? :)

          •  agree that some of these works are presented (8+ / 0-)

            way too early in life for a student to make heads or tails of them.  It is not the worst thing in the world to re-think some of this--perhaps introducing more contemporary literature to begin and later dealing with the classics.

            If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

            by livjack on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:18:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That was one of the issues I had when some group (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JerryNA, Temmoku

              was arguing that current teenage reading is too juvenile for age level - they were taking reading difficulty scores as absolute truth without considering vocabulary level or concepts addressed in the text into account.

              Problem: Dialogue has short sentences. Fiction tends to be pronoun heavy relative to non-fiction, and pronouns are all short words. Unless you are a Bronte or Jane Austen (or string together semicolons the way they did) it is HARD to get fiction to have a reading difficulty score in the upper high school level.

              They were arguing things like The Hunger Games ought to be early middle school reading material. Things that would be developmentally inappropriate content-wise for the grade the reading difficulty scores claim ought to be able to read them.

              I almost didn't read Huck Finn in school because 'too many' of my classmates had read it before in another class - until the school administration had it pointed out to them that the kids HADN'T understood it at that grade and HAD been through an in-depth slavery unit in history class since then, so why SHOULDN'T they reread the book now that they'd actually get some comprehension of the text from reading it?

              We read Romeo and Juliet freshman year - and lost a lot because the textbook it was printed in had edited to make it 'age-appropriate', meaning the context that Nurse had been Juliet's wet-nurse and thus a surrogate secondary mother figure for her entire life was completely cut out among other things. Nominally we read it, but we weren't reading the text an outside adult would have assumed we did.

              Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

              by Cassandra Waites on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:46:47 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I think your teacher missed chances to connect (0+ / 0-)

            SL to the very experiences most teens go through in middle and high school if that's all you got out of it as a sophomore.

            •  Most likely - and, of course, I was in the (0+ / 0-)

              minority of teens who did NOT fall in "love" every other week, etc., etc.

              I was the nerd/geek/outsider who just wanted to be left alone, and was perfectly happy to be ignored by my classmates since my other option was to be their verbal (and sometimes physical) punching bag.

              Yeah, I hated high school (except for the learning part).

        •  Ours did The Scarlet Letter in 9th (3+ / 0-)

          pre-AP. They did team projects around it, which took a couple of weeks.  Mine did a video (VHS) of an interview with the good Reverend, done a la Lives of the Rich and Famous, which was popular at the time.  They filmed it in the spare room, with the dialog taped around the ceiling since no teleprompter was available. ;)  We still have that VHS somewhere.

          I think another group produced a gossip magazine tell-all article.  At least it got the students into the story.

          The truth always matters.

          by texasmom on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:11:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  None of that is against the new standards. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Linda Wood, texasmom

            As long as the creative examples are thoroughly text-based and not wholly "How would you feel about it?" and require students to deeply analyze the novel, that is all still good practice with Common Core. Research projects into the time period and so forth would also be well-supported. Project Based Learning is a part of the Common Core - it just requires textual support and deeper textual connection.

    •  Looks like CC wants you to read Shakespeare. (14+ / 0-)

      From their website:

      These guys want to help you incorporate the required Shakespeare in common core:

      Here's a lesson plan involving CC standard 9, synthesizing and analyzing bringing a Shakespeare text to a 30s style radio show - nice piece of work here:

      Gee, looks like the curriculum has them performing Pyramus and Thisbe.

      When I can find all this stuff in a few minutes - granted, I knew I'd find it - I start to question your motivations. Or did you just decide to not confirm whether Shakespeare has a place in CC before asserting that it didn't?

    •  That's a little misleading (5+ / 0-)

      From the article you link, it says that informational, non-fiction reading should increase to 50%, then 70% of the curriculum.  That 70% number is apparently supposed to be curriculum wide, not just for English classes (although in practice, it looks like English teachers are being forced to do the 70% themselves).  

      I can't believe we tell kids what to read.  Take them to the library.  Let them pick what they want to read.  

      •  There were so many kids reading nothing except (12+ / 0-)

        Literature, and often fairly low-grade stuff (think Magic TreeHouse Books) then entering into College with no familiarity with written texts. The Common Core, in principle, is good, and it does not discount Literature from its curriculum. It's bad in that it's more standardized crud, and it's very, deathly dull. I've sat in meetings with teachers working on its development. There's not much concern for pleasure, just utility.

        But that's partially because whatever High School teachers were doing with Literacy in general was pretty poor. I believe a big problem was reading text books and not primary sources, and that is one of the things the Common Core sought to rectify. However, they ought to have not developed such a pedantic style of interpretation, sorry, and also, they shouldn't have gouged Literature (wasn't PE or something up for grabs? Wicked smirk...)

        Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

        by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 07:51:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly. (4+ / 0-)
          "But that's partially because whatever High School teachers were doing with Literacy in general was pretty poor."
          For decades, we let schools teach whatever the hell they wanted and we never asked any questions nor demanded any assessment of the results.

          Then we woke up and realized that millions of inner-city kids weren't getting educated.

          Now that we are putting standards in place, all these teachers are suddenly pretending that they were Ms. Frizzle and John Keating all along.

          Yeah, right.

          Some, maybe. But not all.

          Most public schools in the USA are pretty good. But some -- especially in poor neighborhoods -- are pretty bad. It is the bad ones that need Common Core.  It's sad that some truly good schools will get caught in the net, but we really need to look out for the kids most in need.

          •  Here's an excellent article on how well Common (0+ / 0-)

            Core standards are working out in K-3...

            •  Article means nothing... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Linda Wood

              ...unless you compare it to the status quo.

              And the status quo in NYC is pretty bad.

              The Educational Establishment's criticisms of school reform are eerily similar to the right-wing criticism of Obamacare. They nit-pick and build straw men. They rely on anecdotes and ignore data.

              And they always forget that the status quo is unacceptable, and is slowly killing us.

              So, yeah. There are bad tests, bad charters, bad reform plans, bad vouchers.

              But what we have now in the inner cities is much worse.

              •  You actually think it is appropriate for (0+ / 0-)
                4- and 5-year-olds to write “informative/explanatory reports” and demonstrate “algebraic thinking”
                The big test: “Miguel has two shelves. Miguel has six books . . . How many different ways can Miguel put books on the two shelves? Show and tell how you know.”

                An “expert” would draw a diagram with a key, show all five combinations, write number sentences for each equation, and explain his or her conclusions using math terms.

                Yeah. That means absolutely nothing, all right. Every four year old should absolutely be able to do that.

                As far as the status quo, you might want to look a little deeper. While there may be certain schools that are not up to your standards, that doesn't mean we should destroy a national system that actually compares well internationally and replace it with a system that is demonstrably far, far worse, which is what you advocate.

                •  Nobody is... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...advocating destroying "a national system".

                  Only those families that chose to try alternatives will be affected. That is why it is called school "choice".

                  Your wealthy suburban public schools will be safe, don't worry!

                  We would just like to offer an alternative for poor kids who can't afford a house in Scarsdale, where the Public Schools are (I'm told) very nice.

        •  but, there is no reason why there can't still be a (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mahakali overdrive, Linda Wood

          an emphasis on pleasure and enjoyment.  Standards do not dictate a specific curriculum or specific teaching strategies.

          This is poor district, school, or teacher interpretation of what Common Core should be.

    •  the point is that literacy is more than just (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      denise b, white blitz

      literature.  Students should be reading good non-fiction too.  Many people struggle at comprehending technical or even non-technical non-fiction.  Common Core ELA suggests that there should be a balance so that students have experience making meaning of non-fiction and seeing different types of text structures (e.g. argumentative writing).

    •  Texts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Linda Wood

      The Common Core ELA standards are also for content-area courses (such as Social Studies and Science) and electives, so you will see a lot of texts like that on the lists. However many pieces from the canon are also on Common Core suggested reading lists! The whole idea of adding things like that is to get authentic reading (and writing) in other classes besides English - that's one of the largest changes.

      As a matter of fact, without Literature, a school isn't meeting the standards at all. Though it should represent only about 35% of what students read at the high school level (more narrative texts in elementary of course!). But that's not 35% of what they read in Language Arts/English -- it's in high school as a whole, because they should be reading more texts (especially more authentic texts instead of textbooks) in other classes.

      The Common Core "friendly" text list we got at my school included most of the America and British canon.

      The PARCC (the new test) will likely (no one really knows) have cross-curricula texts on it, so it's more likely to have nonfiction than anything else, because that applies to more than just ELA and it's combining reading/writing with other subject areas. But that doesn't mean you stop reading Shakespeare. It means you compare Shakespeare in your ELA class to the appropriate texts in your Social Studies class and Frankenstein to new ideas about cloning and medicine in your Science class and so forth.

  •  This is frightening. How will any of these kiddos (10+ / 0-)

    be prepared for university course work???

    And if the Common Core Guidelines continue to be misconstrued (as referenced in WaPo article) across  school districts-starting in Kindergarten-we potentially will have generations of children not prepared for university or exposed to classical literature or even knowing that such literature even exists.

    If the Common Core Guidelines are indeed being "misconstrued"  resulting in a LEA's subjective interpretation & implementation of Common Core Curriculum, then doesn't it need to be addressed at each local level before it becomes firmly entrenched???  

    Sadly, I cannot help but imagine how few parents realize the implications and/or even know about this.

    This is really scary on so many levels.  Now I'm going to be checking out my grand's "Common Core Curriculum", asap....and share this post with others.  

    Thanks for this important diary!


    •  Based off what you read (7+ / 0-)

      The thing seems to be to make sure that your district is doing a good job teaching to CC standards. The problem isn't the standards. Here they are, by the way.

      •  While reading the diary & the link provided, my (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        reenactor, Linda Wood

        initial reaction was the probability factor of the CCC guidelines being misconstrued or subjectively interpreted & implemented by district (LEA).  

        As a past educator & long time advocate, I have seen this happen with IDEA etal....from one district to another in my state or even from one school to another within the same district.

        Hence, my initial visceral concern & assumption that the only way to counter an incorrect application of the CCC is at an informed & involved local level.

      •  No, the problem is the Common Core standards (0+ / 0-)

        themselves.  A well written standard should not be possible to implement in such a crappy way and still meet the standard.  For example, there is nothing in black and white that says that "English should be primarily literature (at least 75% by word count), not non-fiction".

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 01:23:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Are you familiar with the standards? (0+ / 0-)

          I'm somewhat confused by your comment. Here they are:

          There's a literature standard, right there. Maybe tell me what the issue is there?

          •  I see nothing that says how much fiction (0+ / 0-)

            literature there needs to be so technically it could be handled with a few short stories and one filmed or live production (for the 8th grade standard) and that's it.  So just having the students read "The Cold Equation" and then watch the Twilight Zone version of it will cover most of it.  After that the rest of the year can be crappy worksheets like that teacher was told to hand out.

            If you want to see what a real standard looks like, read this one.  Notice how much more detailed it is than Common Core and how it constantly uses the words should and must?

            You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

            by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 06:22:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Except for this. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Linda Wood

              CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

              "Stories, dramas, and poems" is more than one. Your standards document was not from a related field, but what I will say is the "students will" we use in ed standards writing - not in the above passage, mind you, but in pretty much every ed standards docco I've seen - is as least as strong as "must" and much stronger than "should". I think it's safe to interpret CC standards with an implied "will".

    •  Technically, they're intended to fix this (8+ / 0-)

      gap between high school and college learning. Thus the shift to more expository prose and more primary sources.

      Post-NCLB, you don't even want to know what "literacy" has looked like coming into the colleges. Ugh.

      I'm mixed on Common Core. I've watched it be developed. It should be okay. But it's got its issues as well. And no, no one killed off Shakespeare. But there is more emphasis on reading non-fiction because students were reading fiction very passively, and it was being taught rather passively, and this was creating a problem (the genre itself was arbitrary): when trying to get teachers to shift their habits, without shifting to a new genre, it didn't seem viable. So they shook things up.

      Thus said, I find the Common Core to be deadly boring.

      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

      by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 07:55:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't want to be an apologist (28+ / 0-)

    but, I don't think that district and teacher know what the Common Core State Standards for ELA really state.

    The standards talk about how to read different texts for meaning by practicing reading those type of texts.  

    A quick scan of the standards does not mention that it needs to be boring, or that reading an entire text is impossible.  That is a rather poor implementation of the standard.

    The students probably think it is boring because the teacher doesn't buy into the overall concept and is implementing it in such a way that will sabotage the effort.

  •  Agreeing with Mille L above (26+ / 0-)

    I've never heard anything about common core requiring industry supplied handouts, or being designed so that it is inherently boring and non-engaging. It sounds like the teacher doesn't believe in it and she's not doing a good job teaching to it. She probably should go work in a different state or a private school.

    Most states are starting to implement the common core, and there certainly are benefits. I'm generally a supporter in math because it let's the students focus more depth on less standards than the current state standards (at least in NY state)
    It also asks students to understand and explain a lot more conceptually - which is going to be very difficult for many students - but is hard to argue against as a bad thing.However, test scores are going to plummet this year as students will be asked to do more than they've ever done.

    I've heard a lot of criticism about the standards in early grades being too difficult and about a mandate on reading 70 or 80% of non fiction in literature classes. These are not my areas of expertise, so that is all that I can say.

    However as a decent teacher, you always want to try and make things engaging for the class and also for yourself. That passage is pretty dreadful overall - it just sounds like something straight from a state test.

    "I'm a hopeless're just hopeless." -Bouncing Souls

    by AndrewOG on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 03:15:38 AM PST

    •  I will make the argument that it's boring (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rich in PA, Cassandra Waites, Lujane

      I've sat through a lot of the meetings where teachers were helping design the Common Core two years ago, and I kept thinking, "How are they going to get through this? It's dull."

      As for what they're asking... kids ought to learn to be able to do these things. I don't think it's a perfect solution, and I also think it's one prone to a LOT of implementational flaws.

      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

      by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 07:58:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If it's all (0+ / 0-)

      going to be judged by test scores in the end, what else do you expect?

      Here's a fabulous museum. Your grade, your school's grade and your teacher's salary will all be determined by your ability to bubble in the test correctly. Guess which part of the fabulous museum we are going to spend the most time in, guess which study aides we are going to focus on.

      It's the same garbage as the NCLB, dressed up with ideas like "asks students to understand and explain a lot more conceptually" and it will get the same result -- teaching to the test.

      •  Professional responsibility (5+ / 0-)

        It's my job to figure out if students are learning anything. That test should reflect the curriculum I'm teaching. That's not bad. "Teaching to the test" is more honest than otherwise and I'm not helping kids if I'm not teaching them what they are supposed to know. Some of the testing instruments have been bad though. You're going to find our latest generation of tests,coming out in the next few years depending on where you live, have drastically less bubbling and much more writing, explanation, and elaboration. Also: if you think the most effective way to prepare a kid to do well at a test,even a Scantron test, is rote drilling, you've not read the research.

      •  hmm... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Linda Wood

        yes in reality teachers are going to teach to the test, and kids are going to study to the test. Especially when the school's literal survival is based on passing the test.

        This doesn't mean that there aren't some good aspects to the common core. In math specifically, the goal is more depth and less breadth in each grade, which I whole-heartedly support. Whether or not that actually comes to fruition, I couldn't say.

        "I'm a hopeless're just hopeless." -Bouncing Souls

        by AndrewOG on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:30:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is something else going on here. (46+ / 0-)

    1. Common core is standards - what goals to hit when - not curriculum - what you do to get there. What you described was curriculum.

    2. One of the explicit goals of common core is to get a higher percentage of learning/questioning/experiences in the classroom higher up Bloom's taxonomy - so MORE synthesis, analysis, and comparison, and less memorization, the opposite of what you described.

    3. Your teacher may have been handed a curriculum packet. It's not common core's fault. Yell at the district for buying a crappy curriculum and ask the teacher why she doesn't join the curriculum committee next time.

    (I am a teacher who is currently working on curricular design and a published author of curriculum).

    •  After having hit your provided links (13+ / 0-)

      I have to agree in large part.  The standards actually detailed on the site are not unreasonable, it is exactly the prepackaged curriculum that is at fault above.

      Slightly off topic, I'm not an education major, nor do I have the time to take extra education classes atm, but might need to develop some small healthcare curriculum pieces for a project I'm working on for a nursing education class.  Got any good texts or websites to point me to on the basis of same?  Right now I'm slogging through dry as dust theoretical bases about cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains, and how to develop teaching plans, and I'm wondering why the authors of our text didn't follow their own advice about how to engage learners :P

      •  Oh man. (9+ / 0-)

        Lesson design is hard. First step, look online for lesson plans and see if anyone has solved part of your problem. If you know your subject you'll be fine: just give then a goal at the beginning (one that you can determine they can meet, and one you can truthfully assess); some kind of elaboration or work they can go with it as a means of learning it; and have an assessment and/or way they can report back at the end. If you vary your activities enough, and have ways of adapting each plan, you'll likely hit all the learning styles. Make the work relevant, make its significance obvious, and make them think about how it relates to other things in their field.

        The hardest part is the initial part - you have to know everything they're supposed to know by the end on day one, and design your curriculum backwards to get them there. Once you know the goals, have standards,and means to assess the standards, you're much farther along. Teachers generally need years to work this out. It's hard. Every time though the material you'll learn better how to teach and communicate it. Our technical literature is difficult because, well, it's technical, with the jargon found in any technical field.

      •  Throw something together (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Offer it as a community college extension class. Get feedback from your students (all six of them). Improve the materials and presentation based on their feedback and your own reflection on how things went.

        Rinse and repeat.

        After five or six iterations you will have a decent curriulum.

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:09:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is the 800 lb gorilla (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Linda Wood

        In the teacher's professional development living room

        I'm wondering why the authors of our text didn't follow their own advice about how to engage learners :P
        I actually watched from the balcony of a fairly large auditorium as a well known lecturer told a full house of elementary school teachers to avoid being the 'sage on the stage' by drawing a diagram on his overhead projector showing an audience on one side, a screen (labled "knowledge") on the other side, and a stick figure standing between the audience and "knowledge." He stood, of course, in between his audience and the screen with this diagram. I don't think he intended any irony.  

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:20:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks! - People listen to this person. (5+ / 0-)

      Common Core is being implemented in nearly every state. If it really did what the op says, we would have already heard about this from people everywhere. Think about it.

      •  that's bullshit. Yes, Common Core is being (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        implemented widely, but we are only in year 3 or 4.

        If a district was aggressive, the first year was spent helping teachers get their heads around what was in Common Core.  The second year was spent aligning and providing support for new concepts that many teachers might have been unfamiliar with (what are mathematical practices?  how do I teach argumentative writing? etc).  So, districts really are just at the beginning of changing over the curriculum.

        Add to this that it takes the first round of publishers (good and bad) a year or more to produce aligned materials and districts could be anywhere within their 5 - 10 year curriculum adoption phase, it will be quite a few more years before we see large scale change.

        Will Common Core have a national impact?  I don't know.  However, as one with plenty of curriculum experience, districts or schools that approach standards in a reasonable way should find them useful in improving their ELA and Math curriculum.

        •  While you are technically correct... (0+ / 0-)

          It's not like these standards just sprung from the earth. We have LOTS of research on the individual components - that's why they're in there, after all. So I find your argument a bit precious.

          •  Well, it is also my professional experiences... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            reenactor, Linda Wood

            In WI, the implementation window for common core is suggested as a three year process.  Lots of districts are taking longer or got a late start....often hampered by lots of administrative turnover.

            Making comprehensive curriculum changes is a multi-year process.  Trying to short circuit the process just results in stuffing the status quo into a new box.

            Just because something is well represented in research doesn't mean that it is the norm in classrooms or something that the average teacher is aware of. Take formative assessment as an example - it's been around for two decades and is still to lots of people.  Content area literacy strategies are decades old, but still far from the norm in classrooms.

            Sure, we know a ton about how people learn, but "we" are awful at systematically incorporating it into the classroom.

            •  so your point was (0+ / 0-)

              that things may not be implemented correctly at first? Okay. I thought you meant that we couldn't know what the effect of common core curriculum would be. My bad. You're right of course on that point.

              •  Actually, my point was tht it will take time to (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                reenactor, Linda Wood

                Understand the impact of Common Core...and it likely won't be a clear cut answer.  Too many moving pieces.

                Unfortunately, in many places, standards become a checklist instead of an opportunity to really examine what is taught.

                •  Yeah, okay. (0+ / 0-)

                  Holding to my earlier point then that research is behind the choices made. Also, building new things based on best practices, trying them, and examining the results is a pretty good description of what the best teachers among us do.

    •  thanks for posting this -- (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      reenactor, Aug6PDB, Linda Wood

      better than I could have stated.

      I'm not a "standards evangelist," but I don't think Common Core is bad...and, as a science educator am really excited about the Next Generation Science Standards.

  •  This is what I have been thinking about this week (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quill, Nance, FloridaSNMOM, Lujane, Miss Jones

    New York City has now adapted Core and as a librarian I sat in a meeting with someone from the DOE explain the above. All I could think of was where was the literature? Where was the art? Another concern is that many NYC schools do not have school librarians and I think they will be relying too much on the NY library systems. However we have had our budgets slashed and staffing is at an all time low.

  •  Now I would have flunked that assignment. (7+ / 0-)

    Because my identification of the core problem was the inherent exploitation of the workers under capitalism, and my five paragraph solution would have been about instituting socialism...

    What grade is your kid?  One potential solution might to be to see about getting her able to audit or even take for credit courses at a local community college in lieu of specific classes.  If she's high school, for instance, she might be able to simply step up to freshman English and get it out of the way early.

    You've got two paths - reform the curriculum following a parent-led revolt - overwhelming petitions from parents whose kids are being force fed that crap with massive attendance at school board and board of education meetings, or simply removing your own child by means such as the above, homeschooling, or some other alternative.

  •  Where the common-core impetus comes from (4+ / 0-)

    Most kids don't get what you consider the optimal curriculum--they get something worse than the Common Core.  The Common Core would depress the experience of some kids but improve the experience of a lot more.  It's a purely utilitarian thing.  I have never believed K-12 education, in its actually educational aspects, should be left to local communities.  It's not 1835 anymore.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:57:59 AM PST

  •  And, btw, I think your diary could only improve (22+ / 0-)

    if you did an update based upon reenactor's comments.  It really does look like common core is a set of standards, and actually not a bad one, and it's simply the implementation of same that has been screwed up in the curriculum handed down to the teacher at the district level.  Chances are that it was a matter of economics.  The problem with requiring such detailed standards lies in getting curriculum certified to meet those standards, so that you qualify for whatever strings are attached to meeting them.  

    Your district probably can't cough up the cash to redevelop all of their classes to meet the standards, so they merely bought an off-the-shelf curriculum from someone who developed one and got it certified.  Based on the text above, it looks like it was developed by someone with an agenda beyond 'teach children critical thinking skills'.

    We need a truly progressive 'education reform' financial backer (or crowdfunding?) to create one or more alternative curriculum and get them certified, then license them to be used for free by school districts.  This will undercut the for-profit curriculum makers, and allow us to remove the RW agenda (and racial stereotyping...) from the readings.

    •  Even so, I honestly think, (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fumie, MKinTN, worldlotus, Mr Robert, Dartagnan

      having sat through some meetings with common core curricular design, that it's a dull way to teach literacy. I do think this diary has mischaracterized it or misunderstood the Common Core -- perhaps inadvertently. And I would appreciate updates as well. But in and of itself, I find it to be a pedantic way to teach important things like how to make meaning from words on a page. I use a different approach with far more success, personally, and so I stopped attending workshops for the CC eventually. Also, it is designed to have less Literature. There's a view amongst some designing the standards that Literature has been part of the problem, along with text books, in terms of literacy goals.

      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

      by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:04:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Best way to teach literacy (7+ / 0-)

        is to get 'em enthused about reading at a very young age.  Often they'll take care of themselves that way, regardless of what they learn in school. Many children will gravitate all by themselves to more difficult reading because it's inherently more rewarding as they mature.

        Read to them at home, have books all over the house, make sure as parents that children perceive reading as one of your priorities. Be seen reading the paper, reading books by your kids and they'll internalize that.

        And keep them off the fucking computer, XBox and TV as much as possible.

        •  do you really think kids aren't reading on their (0+ / 0-)

          computers?  Just because they're not holding a book in their hands (since you seem to think that means reading) that they aren't reading?

          If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

          by livjack on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:45:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

            •  then you must think computers only show pictures. (0+ / 0-)

              If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

              by livjack on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:04:03 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Nope. I understand they show words. (4+ / 0-)

                But what we're talking about here is literacy.

                That's more to "reading" than being able to "read" and send Facebook messages, do some quick "research" on Wikipedia, or even "reading" newspaper articles that tend for the most part to run about two computer screens worth of information.  Computer media (with the possible exception of Kindle-type readers), "smartphones" (an oxymoron if there ever was one), laptops and the like, in my opinion are unsuited to if not altogether worthless in teaching young kids the appropriate reading, analysis and comprehension skills they will need to call upon as adults in order to reach their potential.

                By and large screens are simply not well-suited to lengthy, hours upon hours of concentrated reading. One reason is they're hard on the eyes, but I think it goes well beyond that.  The "computer culture" we've unfortunately evolved into doesn't encourage sustained, lengthy reading on single topics. It encourages sporadic, easily distracted reading. Because the computer is so often used as a toy (by both adults and children), and because of the advent of word searches like Google that substitute for actual research, I think comprehension and analytical skills can't help but suffer.

                I also think this is borne out by the howls of dismay we hear from those in the business community who are in the position of hiring this generation of people who have stunted research, writing and reading comprehensive skills, even though their school days were filled with computers, laptops and smartphones. The general perception is that kids' attention spans have been so devolved by these devices that concentrated, analytical reading is perceived as a chore rather than a pleasure.

                I know my views aren't widely shared, and I am constantly presented with anecdotal rebuttals about so and so and how smart their child is and what a good reader he is and how he never picks up a book, but boy does he do well in school!  I just shrug.  I'm happy being a dinosaur, even if the entire teaching profession and its computer-adoring philosophy think I'm nuts.

                And don't even get me started about the addictive powers of Xboxes, Wii's and video games. That's a whole 'nother issue.

                Computers are incredibly useful things... but on balance, by and large,  they are fucking kids up.

                •  Computer reading is interrupted each few seconds (4+ / 0-)

                  by messages from friends and advertisers.  Reading on computers teaches multi-tasking, and perhaps skimming long passages, but not the slower or deeper reading that is needed by some kinds of texts and thinking.

                  •  There are tons of studies on this as well (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Linda Wood

                    This is a huge deal in literacy education.

                    Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

                    by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 07:36:00 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  One of the reasons I want an e-reader (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    (or a tablet -Youversion is free, Bibles on Kindle are how much?) is so I can read ebooks without having other things going on on the same screen.

                    Heck, even just being able to edit my writing with the last full version in the e-reader and the parts I'm working on open on the laptop would be great.

                    I think there may not just be a difference from multitasking, but from switching back and forth in the same visual space. I know I used to work differently from print sources in college, to the point where just about every online research source I used for short stories in grad school ended up in hard copy even when I wasn't doing longhand drafting. And it wasn't that way when we did online research lessons in late high school - where I was taking notes on filler paper and not typing them in another window.

                    Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

                    by Cassandra Waites on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:28:02 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Sadly. many parents don't read much.

          Still, some kids need a bit more help besides. In our home, we are both English teachers; my child still "dislikes" reading -- and his comprehension always needs help here -- even though we do both read, and write, constantly. He's an A student in English, but that's taken a lot more than just exposure and enthusiasm. I think he feels toward reading as I do toward Math (I am good at Math, but I have to put work into it and have zero passion for it).

          Just to play devil's advocate.

          I basically agree with your point and think this is where it all begins, and I know that MOST parents do NOT read nearly enough at home.  

          Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

          by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:18:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks to you for starting this conversation (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reenactor, worldlotus, Temmoku, JerryNA

    and reenactor for providing links and insight into the core curriculum standards.

    Just to let you know, as a result, I've started dialogues in both my nursing education and nursing in public policy classes to attempt to find out if anyone in either has any knowledge of nurses working to develop agenda-neutral versions of such standards for health classes, and requested a meeting with a curriculum administrator at the local school district via email to discuss the interface between and implementation of curriculum and standards in relation to healthcare in the classrooms.

    I haven't kept up with what is being taught in health classes, but I know that when I went through, years ago, we wasted a lot of time in graphic detail on STDs, presumably to scare us into abstinence.  I think, given the problems facing the country today, health curricula might need updated, and that nurses should be active in developing such standards.

  •  A most important topic! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nance, FloridaSNMOM, worldlotus, JerryNA

    This has been going on for years and keeps getting worse.  

    People who know nothing about teaching make decisions for reasons other than what would be the best curriculum for the students to follow.

    Teachers who were well-trained when I began many years ago have retired.  We warned school districts, legislators, and the media that what was happening would be harmful when "No Child Left Behind" was forced on teachers.  Sadly, the warnings were seen as 'self-serving,' rather than sound advice.

    If you want to be involved in bringing good literature back to classrooms, ask teachers what actions are needed and work with them to make needed changes.  Teachers would be very happy to have the freedom to choose the stories and books that students enjoy and are proven motivators.  

    A first step might be to take a close look at the REAL decision-making process, rather than assuming that the teacher is to blame.  Your support is vital...

    •  This perspective is a little unnerving to me. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, FG

      If someone told you that we need to defer entirely to Wall Street in determining how to run the financial sector, you'd probably have some misgivings.  Education is something that is done on behalf of society and while teachers have a privileged position when it comes to what's more or less promising in the classroom, it is possible to defer to them too much.

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 07:56:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And yet (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus, JerryNA, Maple Jenny

        I still want recommendations for my medical procedures to come from doctors.

      •  Not sure what your misgivings are based on (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        reenactor, worldlotus, JerryNA

        What conflict of interest do you suppose teachers have that might lead them to miseducate children?

        And I'm not talking individual teachers. There may be a fundamentalist teacher determined to honor her god rather than her profession, or a slug more concerned with his after school activities than what is going on in his classroom. If, as Tigerlady suggested, parents work with teachers, they will quickly discover who these people are.

        But do you see some sort of systematic conflict of interest that teachers in general would have that is comparable to the financial conflict of interest, the built-in self-dealing insider-trading conflict of interest, that undermines the financial sector?

        There is so little deference paid to teachers at present, I think we are a long, long way from concerns that we may defer to them too much.

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:28:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I used to believe that all public school (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          teachers were non-racists. I learned differently. Some teachers actually believe low-income children are inherently less able to learn, that low-income families don't value education, and that low-income "cultures," associated with some ethnicities, deprive children of even the opportunity to benefit from an education. I consider that a conflict of interest.

          •  Some do think that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Linda Wood

            but, similar to teachers that think kids should learn that old time religion in science class, it is not a systematic conflict of interest, it's an individual one. It is a pretty widespread problem in some areas, though, and one which many schools and districts are taking steps to solve.

            Poverty, though, through poor nutrition, lack of enrichment opportunities outside school hours, uncorrected poor eyesight, uncorrected dental problems, all take a toll on a students ability and willingness to learn. Recognizing those effects and trying to fix them is not the same issue as an individual teacher giving up on a student because they are poor or brown or from the wrong part of town.

            "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

            by Orinoco on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 06:43:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  The problem isn't with common core (23+ / 0-)

    It's with principals and superintendents who misunderstand it. The increase in non-fiction is meant to be covered in Social Studies, Math, and Science classes; English is still supposed to be primarily literature.

    I'm not necessarily a big defender of Common Core; I've not read enough of it yet to form a strong opinion. But what is cited in this diary is NOT a problem with Common Core per se; it's a problem with how one school system is misunderstanding its directives, and poorly implementing based on that misunderstanding.

    "Heterosexuality is not normal, it's just common." Dorothy Parker

    by dedmonds on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 07:31:53 AM PST

    •  No, it is a problem with Common Core itself if (0+ / 0-)

      the standards allow implementation in such a manner.  Where exactly does it say in black and white that "English is still supposed to be primarily literature"?

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 01:11:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  On the contrary (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Linda Wood

        the beauty of Common Core is that we've moved away from "you must implement the standards in this way," which is what state standards did for years (and they drained much of the joy away from teaching).

        If we want standards to be implemented well, we have to allow a level of freedom that will also allow them to be implemented poorly.

        My understanding, incidentally, is that Common Core DOES, in fact, very clearly state that ELA is still intended to be primarily about literature. This understanding is based on extensive conversations with people in the New York City public school system (with whom I've worked closely in the past) and other professional educators (my field is education, albeit not K-12 public education, which is why I'm not yet personally tackled Common Core). I shared this store with a couple of friends who were appalled at how deeply Common Core was misunderstood by the teacher/administrator in the anecdote above. You can see several other comments throughout this comments section from educators who are similarly shocked.

        As I said, I think it's fair to look at and criticize Common Core. But the diary above suggests things that simply are NOT true about Common Core (not least of which is that the sample reading was somehow something Common Core was promoting or approving of, when, in fact, it looks far more like the sort of pablum people would read under the awful state standards Common Core is, in many cases, replacing).

        One final note: the English teachers I've spoken to about Common Core tell me it gives them more freedom to teacher more literature (and a wider range). One said it reminds her of the freedom provided by the AP (Advanced Placement) system.

        "Heterosexuality is not normal, it's just common." Dorothy Parker

        by dedmonds on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 07:39:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The freedom to teach poorly (0+ / 0-)

          is exactly what the Common Core standards are trying to rectify. I disagree with your statement,

          If we want standards to be implemented well, we have to allow a level of freedom that will also allow them to be implemented poorly.
          I feel you are supporting the status quo of teachers in the U.S. who are unprepared to teach well and effectively, though many do so in spite of their educations.

          I agree with ManhattanMan's statement in the comments to this diary:

          We tried letting every teacher be their own special butterfly. It didn't work.
          I'm concerned, when I read comments by the hundreds here at DailyKos about particular teachers who gave the writer a love of reading or a love of democracy, that there is an implication that the love was generated by the freedom to abandon all discipline, abandon all factual knowledge, abandon all rote memorization, abandon all accountability or tests, and just riff, floating freely like a butterfly in the rapture of learning what the teacher enjoyed talking about.

          The entire effort to reform in the direction of basic standards has come about because underprepared teachers, with or without rapture, were not providing students with the skills and knowledge necessary for college level work in significant numbers nationwide. Change will require an improvement in teaching skills as well as curriculum quality, but I doubt it will drain any joy from teaching. Hopefully there will be the additional joy of seeing students better equipped to enjoy more knowledge, more skill and the consequent ability to do more creative work.

          •  DKos reader bias (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Linda Wood

            I'm concerned, when I read comments by the hundreds here at DailyKos about particular teachers who gave the writer a love of reading or a love of democracy, that there is an implication that the love was generated by the freedom to abandon all discipline, abandon all factual knowledge, abandon all rote memorization, abandon all accountability or tests, and just riff, floating freely like a butterfly in the rapture of learning what the teacher enjoyed talking about.

            I think that much of DKos discussion is driven by two groups: teachers themselves and people whose school experience was colored with problems of bullying or boredom, or at least alienation from traditional schooling. Rarely do you have a diarist whose narrative is, "I went to school, studied hard, and got good grades and 1400s on my SATs." It is either a narrative of someone who never really connected with school or whose "good" experience was the creative teacher who opened up the student's mind where before they never connected with learning. And then you have teachers chafing under standardized testing regimes which they feel compromise their autonomy, in much the same way you find doctors complaining that they have to abide by evidence based medicine standards.

            You also don't have a lot of input from parents concerned that their school system isn't performing well by traditional metrics (eg, college admissions, SAT scores) and wondering how to improve that situation. So that tends to bias what diaries get written and what diaries are promoted.

            •  Thank you for your comments. (0+ / 0-)

              I was swinging wide and loose, and that's irresponsible. In fact there is a comment to this diary describing a teacher who was disciplined, unpopular, no fun, but well remembered by her students because they learned a lot from her. And I recognize that my own experience is that teachers who opened my eyes to the importance of knowing history and that math has an inherent beauty in and of itself, were variously structured and dreamy. I tended to like teachers always, whether they were laid back or task masters.

              But I find the resistance to standards expressed by public school teachers here at Daily Kos alarming. This diary in fact is one that has brought out a lot of support for the Common Core , and I am relieved to read it.

  •  hmmm, I interviewed the director of one (8+ / 0-)

    of the local alternative elementary charter school this fall, an extraordinarily bright and passionate educator, and she told me she was very excited about the Common Core standards and how they fit in with the school's "inquiry based" learning, far deeper than "teaching to the test."

    I would be very skeptical of this diarist's assumptions and judgments about the aim of Common Core standards, which assumptions don't seem to be based on much of anything, even if I hadn't had my talk with this school director.

    The last thing the new local elementary school or its sister school for older kids, is boring or conventional or stifling or dedicated to churning out shelf stockers or anything of the sort. These schools make their own healthy food, excel at the local Science Fair, have school gardens, Spanish immersion for all elementary students, they were doing "animal yoga" this fall, big on lots of PE and physical activity, teach community engagement, etc. etc.

    here's the elementary charter school's curriculum page if anybody would like to take a look.

  •  I was afraid of this. This is the problem with (7+ / 0-)

    all those technical you only get the classes you need for your career/vocation/job, colleges

    you are not given a WELL ROUNDED education.

    While one student has little interest in reading Cather, Faulkner, etc, the exposure is important -- to another student these authors will give them wings.

    Chris Hedge's has a piece that dovetails into this ... which I will post as a reply.

    What we need to do is take a page from the parents who pressured for creationism in the classroom and got elected to school boards ... we need to do this to  ... and demand the "classical education" our parents and grandparents had.

    "Classical" is key word... I think we need to move forward in many areas but they were given several years of literature classes . . . and for parents who have a problem with current public school education hitting the word "classical" brings them into the fold ... as long as you define what part you want to bring back to "classical" .. specifically define it as English and English Lit.

    Bumper sticker seen on I-95; "Stop Socialism" my response: "Don't like socialism? GET OFF the Interstate highway!"

    by Clytemnestra on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 07:59:27 AM PST

  •  Common Core Math Is Bad, too (0+ / 0-)

    Here's an article written by Dr. Cliff Mass, an atmospheric science professor at the University of Washington about the Common Core math curriculum:

    •  Okay, let's unpack this. (5+ / 0-)

      1. He asserts that teaching to these standards has never been tested. In fact, it's all research driven. Here's the body driving current research, also with links to curriculum :

      And one independent study:

      Action research is what we do, folks.

      2. He confuses standards and curriculum repeatedly.

      3. The quote he had that he found unintelligible was NOT for student consumption. It's a math standard, intended for math teachers to read. I got it even, and I'm a dumbass music teacher. His confusion doesn't mean it's bad - I'm sure he understands ocean currents and climate better than me and my lack of understanding does not make his science wrong.

      4. He doesn't seem to understand that standards can be exceeded - and often are. His state I'd doing awesome at math, but many states aren't. They need a good set if standards to build qualitycurriculum around. His states free to meet and exceed these if they can.

      5. His citations were either broken, suspicious, or irrelevant.

    •  fyi (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Cliff Mass is a well-known activist on the issue of math curriculum in Seattle. Iirc, he opposes inquiry-based curricula and wants to return to traditional (direct teaching/rote learning) curricula. Can't swear to that and don't have time to research right now, but I think I'm right.

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

      by NWTerriD on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:55:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  BTW... (5+ / 0-)

    I'm not sure I could allow my kid to remain in an English class taught by someone who loved 50 Shades of Gray.

    I've only read excerpts. Seriously awful.

  •  All of the above (6+ / 0-)

    It isn't enough to sit and read flowery, beautiful language.  It isn't enough to sit and read technical writing.  It isn't enough to read non fiction and answer questions to learn how to understand information that isn't explicitly stated.

    Students need to understand that reading and writing requires a variety of approaches and tools.  


    by otto on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:17:59 AM PST

  •  this post has soured a perfectly pleasant morning. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    SO depressing and close to the truth.  The comments too.

  •  "Teacher-proof curricula" = bad teaching (8+ / 0-)

    Anne Herbert wrote, "Schools should be in the business of showing children how to fall in love."

    Good teachers are all very different from each other, because (in the classroom at least) they are thoroughly themselves, and they use those selves as the medium with which they teach.  The things they teach best are the things they love.

    I wonder if anybody else has had an experience like the following.

    When I was in seventh and eighth grade, back in the early sixties, my class had three teachers. Miss Kelly taught English, and her instruction was completely out of date. She loved old-time eighth-grade English Grammar (maybe as taught in the days when lots of people never went beyond eighth grade.) She understood it thoroughly, and taught it the same way she learned it. She wrote stuff on the blackboard, we copied it in our notebooks. We chanted long memorized definitions, we parsed and diagrammed for roughly two years. She did other stuff, but her heart wasn't in it. It all came out of her head, the textbooks we were supposedly using devoted very little space to that stuff, and what they did present was unrelated or contradictory to what she was doing, in style and content. She was not likable in the classroom, often very crabby and sometimes a real bully. She wasted huge blocks of class time yelling at us for wasting her time. I think she was maybe drunk sometimes. None of us liked her. But what she was doing was challenging, wasn't bullshit, was plainly important to at least one person in this world, made sense of something that we'd been using unconsciously all our lives and (as far as it went) held together pretty well.

    Many years later I read James Herndon. "When a kid asks, 'why should I learn to diagram sentences,' the best answer is, 'because it's neat.'"

    Recently some of my old classmates had a flurry of correspondence, and there was no argument. To all of us, Mrs. X was a good person who liked us and made a humane place in her classroom every day. Miss Y was a smiling malignant grotesque who somehow managed to sharpen dullness to a point of pain. Miss Kelly was the one we all learned something from, and it's been useful all our lives.

  •  Here's what I told my school board rep (8+ / 0-)

    Starting this year, begin a moratorium on new curriculum adoptions.  Let all of the teachers get up to speed on the current curriculum.  Band the fucking curriculum sales people for 5 years.  

    I didn't swear.  

    They keep doing this shit to teachers.  Studies come out, outcry emerges, curriculum companies (who probably paid for the studies) swoop in to tell the district that all they need to do is buy the new curriculum.  Massive training costs are budgeted.  

    3 years later, start the same bullshit again.


    by otto on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:25:37 AM PST

    •  Every time we change the curriculum (5+ / 0-)

      we hurt the kids.

      There's no two ways about it.

      No child ever experiences a single curriculum path from K-12.

      (And similarly, you don't truly know if that new technique taught in primary ends up being effective for 20 years, until a few classes have graduated after being taught that way. When people talk about studies and class size reduction and results, ask them how many classes of kids actually graduated having experienced it. In California, I believe the answer is 3.)

      Even under "normal" schedules, new curricula and materials are adopted every 5-7 years which means most kids will be taught from 3 different curricula/philosophies/expectations about what is taught when.

      If your kid is in 5th grade when a new math curriculum is adopted, that means that some things that used to be taught in 4th grade will be seen again in 5th and some things that used to be taught in 5th were already taught in the new curriculum. Certain concepts and styles are built into the materials from kindergarten, and the new background has to be learned before you can proceed.  It's always necessary to bridge.

      Now, if the old curriculum was inadequate and the new is better, and the teacher is excited about the new, this is a cost worth paying. But that's not usually one of the considerations in the decisionmaking.

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

      by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:41:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  fallout from streamlining (0+ / 0-)

        There is fallout from streamlining of curriculum, as well.  If we spend a lot of time aligning curriculum in a centralized manner so that kids don't see too much repeat material, then we lose the support of people who are interested in more independence of teachers and schools within the district.  

        Education is just one of those policy areas where we are simply not able to get to a generally agreed upon understanding about what it means to provide an education.  Therefore, we end up propping up one stool leg, and we make the imbalance go the other way for a while.  


        by otto on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:53:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  meaning for two, three or more years--your kid (0+ / 0-)

        is the guinea pig during the transition.  Sometimes it just turns out to be a failed experiment.

        I agree they should ban the curricula salespeople from passing through the school doors.

        If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

        by livjack on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:56:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Huzza huzza (0+ / 0-)

      So much money is wasted on the latest bandwagon. The late Burton Blatt, a special educator from Syracuse University said: Be careful what bandwagon you jump on or you may find yourself going to the cemetery instead of the Mardi Gras.

  •  I am speechless. (4+ / 0-)

    Just glancing at that paragraph about inventory and Miguel is enough to make my eyes glaze over.

    Let alone the eyes of a kid.

    Please, please tell me this sort of garbage isn't really happening. :(

    "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell) Join the Forward on Climate Rally on February 17!

    by Eowyn9 on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:28:59 AM PST

  •  We're creating Republicans. (0+ / 0-)

    They think in lock step with each other and if anyone tries to veer off course they're taken out (primaried as in elected officials or ostracized as in normal citizens).  And very few are noticing.  They're gerrymanding districts, trying to keep people from voting, want to change the rules to make sure they win because their ideas suck, and now they're making sure the next generations are in lock step with their group think.  Good grief, can we even stop them?

    "They love the founding fathers so much they will destroy everything they created and remake it in Rush Limbaughs image." MinistryofTruth, 9/29/11

    by AnnieR on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:31:00 AM PST

    •  the battle never ends... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

      by livjack on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:57:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  NOW? (0+ / 0-)
      ... now they're making sure the next generations are in lock step with their group think.
      You think the forces of oppression have just started trying to make public education serve its purposes? Just NOW since George W. Bush?

      Are you sure they haven't been here all along, with segregation of schools, tracking systems by neighborhood, and the control of what we learn in our history classes? They've been here all along.

  •  I am mixed on common core (5+ / 0-)

    First, it's not actually tested for results. It is being implemented now in states across the country for the first time anywhere. Arne Duncan has been pushing for its adoption, not just in states with weak standards like Mississippi, but it states with arguably stronger standards like California.

    I think there are some exciting basic ideas behind it in terms of project-based learning. I think there is a terrifying emphasis on rigor in the K-2 grades. I think if it is set as a tool that teachers can access, it can be great; if it is forced on teachers all of a sudden (as it is being in many places), it will probably be a disaster.

    There are people who I deeply respect who are very excited about common core and its possibilities. One mentor-teacher who is working on bringing it to her district was using her 4-H group as a testing ground to bring in some of the concepts, to do more learning by doing and by direct problem solving rather than by lecture. She was loving how the lesson came together - for older kids who already knew the basics.

    There are other people who I respect who are very upset by it, concerned about pushing algebra to 9th grade, concerned about the complex tasks expected of very young kids, concerned that there won't be enough fiction.

    I think the approach by the feds to bring this in quickly and decisively is misguided. Let schools and teachers adopt it as they naturally get to the cycle of needing new curriculum. Let a few enthusiasts pilot it and find the way.

    But there's a reason we can't: we're all supposed to be taking a new set of tests. And failure on these tests is Not An Option... regardless of the effect on kids. It's a dumb reason to hurt the education of our kids, so that we can make testing more convenient, so that we can evaluate schools without the bother of going inside.

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

    by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:33:40 AM PST

  •  This is the kind of curriculum set... (0+ / 0-)

    ...I would think at the State or District level.  If at the State level, petitioning/bombarding state legislators and the Department of Education would be a first way to go.  If at the District level, local legislators or the various School Boards.

    Now on the flip side, the text of the excerpted Common Core text might apear to be boring, but kids can't learn to read just material that is interesting or familiar - they have to be able to assess and understand text that is new and not necessarily interesting.  In my job, for example, I am frequently compelled to read, analyze and understand--and modify--lengthy, complex, and dry (but highly important) documents.  Kids ought to be at least exposed to such reading and analysis, even if they don't ultimately go into a profession needing such skills.

    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

    by TheOrchid on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:43:44 AM PST

  •  hotlisted for the links to core curiculum (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling, worldlotus, reenactor

    my kids are taking it and I think their education is great. Want to know what it's all about.

    Public School. Dedicated bright principal, half and half on the teachers.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:45:38 AM PST

  •  My concern about Common Core (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell how it'll be used to sneak the Bible into public-school classrooms.  I hear of local teachers in my area who can't wait.

    Sure, it's historical literature.  But public school teachers will use it to teach Christianity, not reading and critical thinking skills.

    America, we can do better than this...

    by Randomfactor on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:46:39 AM PST

    •  I wish my kids would get some (0+ / 0-)

      It's cultural and they need to have a basic understanding. For us non Christian non western families any teaching about Christianity is a,,, ahem, blessing.

      I remember when my wife was in High School they were talking religion and my wife asked "who is Jesus". She'd never heard of  him.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:50:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It depends on where you live as further south, (0+ / 0-)

        I have heard stories that christianity is being taught in too many classes, particularly schools trying to sneak in creationism into science classes.   I am not sure how much is rumor and how much is true, however, as far as public schools go.

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:27:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  At the school in which I taught for most of my (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrblifil, Cassandra Waites

    career, under NCLB the very brilliant and creative ELA teacher was reprimanded for "wasting time" on literature instead of using the greater part of her class for test prep. She left the district to our great loss and they now have scripts for teachers to read from. Why one might require a M.Ed. to read from a script is more than I can say. Math, last I heard,  was taught in a strict calendar in which each teacher in the district much teach the same concepts on the same day and for only the permitted amount or time. The teachers I know in the Vocational Ed programs are distraught because often their students are those for whom the traditional academic model was not a rousing success are now being forced to change from their very effective hands on learning approach to a paper & pencil model as the state & I guess the federal gov't are requiring written tests for things career classes such as pastry chef, auto mechanics, welding, etc.

    The madness will end at some point but I pity the students, teachers and parents who have to survive these years.

    Where are we going and what am I doing in this handbasket?

    by gelfling545 on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:53:22 AM PST

  •  if you are using that paragraph (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Caniac41, Cassandra Waites

    to teach english, you've failed before you started.

    I'm less suprised at why young people we hire don't know anything about anything, and can't read simple instructions and carry them out.  And they really haven't learned time management skills, either.

  •  Wine Tastes Better... (0+ / 0-)

    When served in a lead cup.

    Drink up, America.

    This head movie makes my eyes rain.

    by The Lone Apple on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:19:52 AM PST

  •  What grade is this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mahakali overdrive

    Introducing Shakespeare and Sonnets comes in 8th or 9th grade, but that common core essay is grammar-school-level material.

    It looks like this is intended to make sure that students stop graduating without basic literacy skills. But for students that already have those skills, it is wasting their time.

    •  And the grades will reflect that. (0+ / 0-)

      My middle school instituted an Everyone Has To Participate literacy program for eighth graders after I was in high school.

      The grades were abysmal... because they were asking kids with As in a second language writing-and-reading-based course to read and analyze texts not far beyond what they'd read as second graders in their native language.

      So of course no one did the homework and everyone made patterns on the scantrons and put not even the required effort into written tests... and suddenly people with As in Language Arts and As in Spanish and ITBS Reading Comp scores at the late high school or college level had Fs as low as the county would allow (because under that would be 'demoralizing') in a basic literacy class.

      Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

      by Cassandra Waites on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:16:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The best way to subvert this process... (12+ / 0-)

    Turn off your TV.  Read to the kids every night starting from the moment they come home with mom from the hospital.  Then, over time, read with them, convince them to read for themselves.  Make the process enjoyable.

    I know, that old stupid slogan.  "Learning is fun!"  It is, if your parents taught you how to learn, how to enjoy reading.

    Back when I was a college instructor, I had to continually deal with students who were functionally illiterate.  I'd even show up early to class, when I could, and tutor them before the lecture began.  In talking to them, I learned that it is possible to go through grade school and high school without reading one book.  This shocked me.  I read a book a week.  It's such a part of my life, I can't imagine being without a book.  It was like talking to alien beings from the planet of NoBooks.  It was at about this time that I decided to expose all my students to primary source material and literature in my classes.  In Western Civ. 1, I forced the class to perform parts of Aeschylus's Oresteia.  That was just the beginning.  Before dropping out to take care of my poor late demented mom, I made my classes read, out loud, from all manner of sources, even, gasp, Darwin.

    One other thing.  You know all those term papers kids have to write from grade school on up through college?  They mean nothing.  Kids are so adept at cheating and plagiarism off of the internet, they don't lift a pen.  I got very tired of flunking kids for this or making them do the assignment over again.  I stopped assigning term papers.  Instead, I did something very insidious, evil even.  Multiple choice tests were banned from my classrooms.  I made my students write:  a short-answer test every two weeks, and big essay-only exams for the mid-terms and the finals.  I was deeply hated for this.  On a couple of occasions, first day of class, a third of the students would get up and leave upon seeing me enter the classroom.  They'd immediately go to the admin office and drop my class.  Yeah, I took heat for this, but by fucking god, every damn student who finished one of my history or geography courses was competent in core skills, even if I had to force them to be so.

    Sorry to go on about this.  Pet peeve.

    Tell me what to write. 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

    by rbird on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:31:41 AM PST

  •  best blog (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrblifil, madhaus

    Diane Ravitch has a blog that gives voice to these concerns at
    Of course, there are many Democratic politicians who support this corporatist mind-numbing program. They include Duncan, Obama, Cuomo.

    Send a comment to Obama, Duncan or Cuomo.

    Oh, and the real purpose of all this is union-busting and privatization of the public school system.

    Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.--A. Pope

    by scpato on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:41:44 AM PST

  •  For more discussion of common core (3+ / 0-)

    this is an essay from a California perspective, touching on many points good and bad about the process.

    Two of those at the Department of Education charged with the Common Core implementation, Deb Sigman and Barbara Murchison, say that because California’s old curricular standards aren’t all that different from Common Core, the changeover won’t be all that tough. But then why would all those teachers be champing at the bit for liberation?

    The goal is worth it, but get ready for a choppy ride.

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

    by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:43:02 AM PST

  •  As a non-parent (0+ / 0-)

    but the daughter of an educator .. this breaks my heart.  I am only 50 years old but I see this kind of 'education' happening with the 20 somethings that are my co-workers.  They know nothing.. absolutely nothing.  Very Very Sad.  

    My question I want to ask the Head educator of NC.. how much MONEY does the state SPEND on this kind of garbage.  

    I weep for my nieces and nephews and their children.

    Why do Republicans Hate Americans?

    by Caniac41 on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:33:55 AM PST

  •  A good start (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Would be to elect better school boards at the state and local levels. People - and not just parents - need to advocate, push, shout, rabble-rouse, and otherwise make their desires for a better public school education for everybody's kids known to the powers-that-be. Voting obstinate powers-that-be out is always a worthy goal, but especially so when our children's future is at stake.

    If other states are anything like here in Texas, it will be one hell of an uphill battle, but with a judicious blend of patience, impatience, fortitude, gumption, stubbornness, and a steely, implacable resolve, it can be done. I don't mean to diss the "cult of the Experts," but folks have got to become aware of what the agenda of any given "expert" is. Too, too many "experts" represent either inimical ideologies or corporate interests, those interests being profits, profits, and more profits. In education politics, as in every other kind of politics, follow the money. To counter those corporate interests, make sure that everyone in the affected district knows about those corporate profits. Insist on seeing multiple measurements of educational results from groups not affiliated with those corporate interests. When in doubt, organize. When not in doubt, organize anyway. Organized groups of dedicated people who are zealous in their desire to see children get a decent education are harder for corporations - and their shills - to thwart.

    The "inimical ideologies" are almost always religious in nature; defeating the people who advance them generally requires quickness, and political cleverness, and a willingness to take the heat they'll throw at you when you loudly and vociferously call them out on their underhandedness. And they will be underhanded; they always are. For tips on the sorts of shenanigans this sort of school-wrecker can get up to, study what the radical religious types did in Kansas, Dover, NH, and Texas. A lot has been written on all of these instances; go forth and educate yourselves, so that you can insure that the next generation gets a decent education.

    One of the biggest, most helpful, things that I can see is to throw out the NCLB mindset, and persuade (or force, if necessary) states to give up their reliance on annual tests. I don't mean get rid of all tests - they serve an educational function - but the current need for teachers to "teach to the test" is, IMO, academically obscene, and utterly defeats the purpose of a public education.

    The whole point of society is to be less unforgiving than nature. - Arthur D. Hlavaty

    by Alice Venturi on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:48:28 AM PST

    •  Good people have to run for school board (2+ / 0-)

      I've rather enjoyed serving on mine, and I'm fortunate to serve with 4 others who really care about education and about other people's kids.

      A good school board can ensure that good people are hired as superintendent and principals. Together, they can make a real difference in ensuring that the needs of the kids are always first.

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

      by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:39:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely correct (0+ / 0-)

        You need a good school board to ensure a good education. And far too many school districts and states don't have good boards. Take Texas, for instance...please!

        The whole point of society is to be less unforgiving than nature. - Arthur D. Hlavaty

        by Alice Venturi on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 03:37:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why is this misleading diary on the rec list (9+ / 0-)

    So predictable - just rant against "the corporate education machine" and label everything as an evil plot without any real facts or evidence on your side.

    Did the diary discuss Common Core in any detail? Did it provide even rudimentary background information on it, any references? No. It's a ridiculous rant that misses the point entirely. And that's what it takes to get to a rec list. It's just sad.

    Others above have pointed out well what's wrong with the diary (and no, Common Core is not abolishing Shakespeare from education). After the disaster that was NCLB (a true race to the bottom), national standards combined with rigorous curriculums but with room for autonomy is a good idea.

    And maybe Common Core is not a good step to that direction? Thus, it should be debated. But the discussions should be based on facts and not this nonsense that the diary is all about.

    •  It's really sad (7+ / 0-)

      when a community that prides itself on being high information takes an unsourced anecdote and first puts it in the community spotlight then on the rec list.

      There are perfectly good, intelligent discussions to be had on the Common Core. They should be based on, you know, what the Common Core actually mandates, and not on one example of what one teacher in one school system does. Especially when what that teacher does is so radically distinct from what the Common Core would have an ELA teacher do.

      So much wrong with the diary, but what's really wrong is that people are so quick to rec things up that agree with some preconceived notions. Common Core, as far as I can tell, is a damn site better than the "teaching to the test" state standards that have driven education the past couple of decades. I have no doubt there are problems in Common Core. How about we identify them and discuss them, instead of generalizing from an anecdote about a single bad teacher or bad administrator (who really knows which)?

      "Heterosexuality is not normal, it's just common." Dorothy Parker

      by dedmonds on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:21:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  To be fair to the diarist, (3+ / 0-)

        I think it's possible that there was a certain level of confusion over the difference between standards and curriculum. I believe there are advantages to standards. As a homeschooler, I use the Core Knowledge foundation's books and website often as a benchmarks for where we "should" be. But if my kid showed me that assignment and I had been told it was because of Common Core, I'd have launched into a rant as well.  That paragraph was horrible, and if it's indicative of the curriculum? I'd say complaining about that is a reasonable reaction.

        •  True to a degree (0+ / 0-)

          Bad tests, bad curriculums, or bad teachers are well worth criticizing. But when you generalize and make a completely misleading argument based on your misconceptions and prejudices (about standards like you said), it's just not a good diary. And then it gets to be on the rec list, which is just a bad sign when it comes to the credibility and value of DK.

          •  Whether it meets the community standards for (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Linda Wood

            a good diary or not, there still is valid information here. The example of the assignment is eye-opening and I found it interesting. The comments have also been worthwhile. I'm not defending the prejudices or the conclusions, just saying that there are interesting points to the diary and I'm glad I read it and the comments. As for misperceptions, sometimes the only way to find out you have misunderstood something is to put it out there for review.

          •  You are forgetting that it is because of Common (0+ / 0-)

            Core as that assignment is Common Core certified.  If the standard allows implementation in such a manner then the standard itself is to blame.

            You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

            by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 01:15:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Your point about giving recs based on preconceived (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        notions is right on along with the rest of your comment. It seems like all you have to do is say "the education system is horrible/corporatist/dumbed down/long live the unions" and you will be a superstar on this site. And please note that I support the idea of unions - it's just as like you said that diaries based on anecdotes or pure nonsense are basically worthless.

  •  They're doing it wrong (15+ / 0-)

    All Common Core really means in ELA (which is what I teach) is that you maintain focus on text.  Stop dragging in everything else, personal experience, irrelevant material and teach how text is processed, as a reader and as a writer.

    That said, you can teach any text.  You know how to teach.  The reason your teacher has a bad Common Core curriculum to which she has to adhere slavishly is that she has bad administrators above her who are too lazy, stupid and/or misinformed to find out what Common Core is.

    You want to know what's hardcore Common Core?  The AP Literature curriculum.  And that is as old-fashioned Western Canon as you can get !

    •  Yes, ELA Core is not the real problem (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      estamm, fumie, madhaus, bigbroad, Kerr Lockhart

      You're right. An imaginative teacher can use the ELA common core to teach great lessons based on genuine literature and honest self-expression. But in my years of supervising and advising young and new humanities teachers, I found many who would not be able to do this without a great deal of gudiance and encouragement. Kerr, do you find that there is enough guidance in your school for young teachers to be able to really utilize the ELA Core Curriculum effectively?

      It sounds like the teacher described here is  falling back on phony test prep, just using old test copies or the like to create busywork. If her principal allows that, she is failing in her responsbilities.

      If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

      by Valatius on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:37:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well stated (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kerr Lockhart

      I couldn't agree more that this is what it does.

      In terms of pedagogy, I would debate about the merits of personal experience as a source for academic work and how it's best synthesized across the disciplines, particularly in the kind of expository prose which colleges generally use. The questions I would ask are whether colleges fund enough intra-disciplinary writing, whether they should teach expository prose over personal narrative, what the genre distinctions of these are, etc.?

      I'd look back to someone like Martha Nussbaum for some of these answers, but I'm old school like that ;)  

      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

      by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:27:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe you just should not adopt a crappy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NWTerriD, Aug6PDB, JFactor


    ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

    by slowbutsure on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:54:09 AM PST

  •  A word of dissent from an English teacher (16+ / 0-)

    You're speaking of standardized testing, which already happened and which (in most states at least) was already depressing education. It's not Common Core. In fact, Common Core in my school has brought back a MUCH more rigorous and interesting curriculum. I could see how the curriculum you saw there was "Common Core" but it's not the only way to do it. I teach English, and I use plays, literature, etc, and I'm allowed to do so much more now with the rigor of Common Core coming at us. Our previous state tests were much worse, if you can believe it, than what we think the new tests will be (no one really knows) and "Close Reads" (the kind of thing you described) are both a good practice and can be done with real literature. I did a Close Read like that today with my poetry unit.

    Common Core will bring more "real literature" back into the classrooms at my school than we've had in years - we've had all informational text and some young adult fiction "for fun" splashed in. It certainly sounds like that school (or teacher?) has an approach to Common Core that's horrid, but I don't think it's the new standards, which are all fairly strong and fit research much better than the standards of many states previous. I suppose some higher states might get "dumbed down" but there's no reason they need to be, as the standards are flexible and allow for differentiation upwards so if their old curriculum was rigorous and old tests were harder (like the NY Regents), they shouldn't fear the new tests at all - as long as they're well-made, which no one knows yet.

    This sounds more like a case of bad training in the new standards than bad Common Core.

  •  "You are beginning to see the problem here." (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madhaus, Cassandra Waites, Temmoku

    The problem became apparent as soon as I read that paragraph, which isn't literature, or even good writing.  Or, even good critical thinking.

    It's fucking pablum.

  •  Franchise Education (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madhaus, bigbroad

    Sounds like a real Wining Idea.

    Look at the Fantastic Nutrition Provided by McDonalds,
    Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:27:40 PM PST

  •  Classwork is 90% of the grade??? (0+ / 0-)

    That means they are punishing smart students.  If a student understands the material, then "classwork" is dumb busy work.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:53:57 PM PST

    •  Why give kids busy work in class? (0+ / 0-)

      That sounds like a terrible waste of 6-7 hours of a student's time each day.

      And I think that's the point of making class work worth 90%. Sending kids home to do work after sitting in class with only busy work - no lesson delivery, no meaningful guided practice, no rigorous independent practice would be a horrible waste of a student's day and a teacher's time.

    •  I thought that too, but (0+ / 0-)

      it's also possible to go too far to the other end. My district has mandated that the final tests/projects/paper be worth almost all the grade and the daily work almost nothing. That means the kids (being kids) won't do the small stuff, and as a result, most are bombing the finals. My district's approach is punishing all the kids.

  •  They are "educating" the future FoxTV audience... (0+ / 0-)


    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 01:01:46 PM PST

  •  Some years ago (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fumie, worldlotus

    my daughter was so bored in school, it became an effort, a battle, to get her to attend.  This was a child who loved learning so much, prior to kindergarten, I taught her to read beginning books, newspaper articles and even addition and subtraction.  When kindergarten began, they would pull her out and send her to a fifth grade class for reading, which I appreciated.  By second grade, she was bored with teaching classmates to read, but was able to go into a Gifted and Talented class.  I thought that would help keep her attention.  Even there, she was bored and I continued working with her at home so she could advance academically.  She wanted to learn, not rehash material she knew.

    By fifth grade, she was in despair and refusing to attend school.  My efforts at working with her teachers resulted in my being told she was there for social development.  When I pointed out that she was adept at algebra and their math class was well behind her level, I was told she needed to just do it for credit.  I arranged for her to take the GED exam and then just worked with her at home, opening a private school with a student body of one, and continued until she was 14, when she began college.  Unfortunately, this is not an option for everyone, due to realistic constraints.

    There are many problems with our educational system and a fair share of the blame to be spread around.  Our children  are not all identical, to be taught with a cookie-cutter approach.  I cringe to think of the lost potential in doing so.  Bored children do not engage and eventually risk drifting away or developing behavioral issues.  What a waste.

    You are my brother, my sister.

    by RoCali on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 01:08:59 PM PST

  •  I teach at a state university... (8+ / 0-)

    It is like pulling tooth to get them interested about anything.

    "What are you passionate about?"

    Silent stare...

    "What do you want to explore?"

    Silent stare...

    "What is your favorite scientific discovery of the recent times?"

    Silent stare...

    "Who are America's most prominent scientists in recent times?"

    "Bill Nye!"


    Silent stare...

    "Who is Johannes Kepler?"


    My days are full of silent stares.

    Silent stare...

    Silent stare...

    Silent stare...

    --Here is the thing: Forget strong defense, we cannot even have strong pile of dung without proper educating of the general public. Those "hawks" who claim to be the staunch defenders of our military...I ask, how are they planning to have a world power with strong defense with this kind of education?  

    Only the true and the staunch enemies of this nation would do this.

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 01:23:09 PM PST

    •  We've spent too many years telling them what (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenox, bigbroad, worldlotus

      they have to study. So many of them don't know what they're interested in because they were never given the opportunity to explore without a rigid set of rules and guidelines.

    •  I gotta say, as a first time undergrad, that was (4+ / 0-)

      me.  I had no idea what I wanted, I'd never developed 'passions', I was in college mainly because, well, I'd been told I would go to college.  As far as I was concerned, it was nothing more than grades 13-16.  I would go, facts would be poured upon me, I would graduate, and be processed into the workforce.

      I'd heard the seemingly trite lines about following my passion, seeking a job that would be more about love than work, etc, but I had no 'passion', couldn't even envision what such a job would be.

      I went in assuming I'd be a physicist or a chemist, spent my first year at a too big of a school for me, taking classes with 300+ students in which I could barely see the board, and lab classes with foreign grad students who barely spoke English, and had my interest in theoretical science pretty well extinguished along with my GPA.

      It was only when I returned to a smaller school with reasonable sized classes and teachers who had the time to engage you that I at least had my interest rekindled enough to switch over into the applied sciences and rebuild my GPA.  But again, even though I found myself doing things that were at least interesting, I had no real sense of purpose, and was seeking simply an income more than work I would 'love'.

      It wasn't til after I'd been in the private sector for a decade that I realized job satisfaction was minimal, and I started to think in terms of what would be my 'legacy' if I just keeled over and started taking nursing classes and paying more attention to politics and policy.  I still haven't accomplished much, but at least I've got a larger toolkit to work with now, and some ideas of what I would like to do, but it took me an extra 20 years to get this far.

    •  give them a controversy. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And an outrage. Dewey, a very wise man, said that no learning can occur without emotion. Sometimes, that can include fear, anger, rejection, and shock. They'll find their passions through their alienation. Alternately, inspiration. Ultimately, relevance.

  •  Skeptical (11+ / 0-)

    As a high school English teacher who began teaching the common core last school year, this diary bears no resemblance to my experience.  I am fairly confident that no competent implementation of the CC would dictate a 5 paragraph essay; this is what the CC is trying to get us away from.  Perhaps this says more about the way this Delaware district is handling the transition, rather than the CC itself.

    My reading of the CC standards place a premium on critical thinking and critiquing arguments.  This diarist is right to point out, however, that literature has been de-emphasized.

    •  That's because it's not fidelitously recounting (4+ / 0-)

      the Common Core in English.

      I'd sat in on meetings for that between literacy experts for months, informally offering my thoughts, doing the exercises, playing around with them at home with my child, seeing if they resonated with my intro college comp students.

      I'm not in full support of the Common Core, but this diary is totally inaccurate, and I think, agenda-driven.

      And for the record, I am strongly, strongly in the "Literature" camp. But when it comes to the reason behind why this was de-emphasized, it makes perfect sense to me because the teachers were struggling to adapt their thinking AND students were entering into college with a very passive sense of experiencing Literature. One survey I worked on showed that 70% of my college Freshman had not written anything about the Literature they were reading in high school. In two years, only two or three students were able to come in and write a persuasive thesis for an expository genre. The Common Core is a college-preparatory idea. Period.

      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

      by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:19:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, it is completely accurate. While Common (0+ / 0-)

        Core does not require such a thing the fact that it allows it means it is seriously flawed.  In other words, there is nothing in black and white that says "english should be primarily literature, not non-fiction".  That makes it a piss poor standard, just check out any major RFC to find examples of good standards.

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 01:18:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Common Core says literature should be taught (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Linda Wood

          Schools can decide which course or courses are most appropriate to teach it. There's nothing stopping a school from mixing literature into both English and History classes, for instance, and nonfiction into both (and there should always be SOME nonfiction in English classes anyway), but if they teach the standards, they still teach literature somewhere and a decent amount of it. It's IN the standards.

          •  Please show me where there are actual black (0+ / 0-)

            and white requirements for the amount of literature to be put in there.  Because I don't see it.  Now if you want an example of a  good standard, here is one to look at.  See how much more detailed it is than Common Core and how it constantly uses the words should and must?

            You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

            by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 06:22:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Your example is not an educational standard (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Linda Wood

              An educational standard is a specific thing and is written in specific jargon, based on educational philosophy. Thus all standards should be read as though they say "Students will be able to. . . " and then follow through with the standard in what they can do.

              For example:

              "CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)"

              These are things students WILL (or must, if you prefer, but that word doesn't fit with current educational doctrine as well) be able to do by the end of that year.

              There is a whole subsection of Reading: Literature. Have you read it?


               The site does not tell you the amount, but there are videos of national Common Core training that suggest amounts. I don't have access to that link without a sign-in and I'm not going to give out my sign-in. However, why would they have a subsection for Reading: Literature and a whole list of standards for it (separate from Informational text) if it were to do away with literature.

              The "amounts" even in the training are "suggestions" for the schools, and literature will be on the PARCC exam. If you go to the PARCC website, the sample 10th grade test is a literary piece, not informational text. They have few samples now as the test is still be developed. The "amounts" in the trainings I've seen say that 35% of what students read (in ALL classes combined) should be literature, but it's a guideline not a part of the standards themselves what percentage, as the crucial thing is that students be able to perform the skills listed under Reading: Literature (and Reading: Informational), not how much time they spend on each. Therefore, it VARIES, depending on your students and their NEEDS that year. Informational text is more highly emphasized than before but so is reading and writing in the other classes besides just English!

  •  Education Alternatives is working on a panel (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigbroad, worldlotus

    for the upcoming Netroots Nation in San Jose. If accepted, you'll get to hear three different schooling options that are being used in the United States that promote democratic education - the type of education where kids are involved in choosing their educational path. It's possible that one of our panelists may have something to offer that appeals to you.

  •  Say it isn't so! (0+ / 0-)

    Common care can't be that bad....can it?
    If it is, I'm glad I'm retired!

    Maybe we should just go back to McGuffy's readers and horatio Alger tales.

    Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 01:56:07 PM PST

    •  Seems my iPad chose to publish this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, mommyof3

      commentthis moment after the above comment even though it was written way before the above was written in time and sequence...kinda like muscling on common core.

      Plenty of people out there who use own materials, ie not a script , when teaching common core!

      My teacher organization : secondary reading league, had carol jago deliver a very informative workshop on common core which entailed plenty of materials from self-selected books, magazines and Internet articles to aid in the teaching of common core standards.

      Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

      by Temmoku on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 02:30:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So sad I am so late to this thread (3+ / 0-)

        but I just checked in and saw it.  Last year my husband and I started a company to address this exact issue of teacher autonomy.  It's an online platform for teachers to share and discuss materials aligned to the CCSS.  Our tagline is "teachers, not textbooks."  Who better to address the standards than the people down in the trenches with kids every day?  

        BTW, I also attended an amazing workshop with Carol Jago a couple of months back.  If anyone has the chance to see her, jump at it!   "teachers, not textbooks"

        by bigbroad on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 03:04:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It isn't so! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      reenactor, mahakali overdrive

      No, really it isn't...

      This seems to be either hyperbole... or a description of a poorly prepared high school teacher.  It is most definitely NOT indicative of the ELA Common Core Standards

      Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

      by mommyof3 on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:43:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Standards are just standards (8+ / 0-)

    Common Core standards are not the problem here, it's the implementation of them.  Any standard can be implemented extremely well or extremely poorly, as in this case.  Textbook companies and crappy resource companies are just slapping Common Core on their old material and districts are buying it hook line and sinker.  

    Common Core requires you to analyze materials, create your own (preferred), collaborate across the contents, and have more project based learning.  

    "Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good." - Mr. Feeny

    by Andrew Hodges on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 01:59:39 PM PST

    •  It's not a bad thing in and of itself (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      After reading more comments here, I feel that the homeschooling folks on this site are using the Common Core as a bit of a cudgel, but I have to say, I have sat in meetings where it was being created for our area -- not for pay, but out of interest (I am in education; the meetings were across from my office, so I participated in some of these) -- and the ideals behind the Common Core beat the HELL out of the NCLB/RTTP crap. They've been designed, at least, by liberals by and large and also, literacy experts. They are NOT as this diary represents them. I don't think they're a panacea, and I tend to oppose standardized testing unless it is holistically assessed.

      I feel this is a rather agenda-driven diary, or at least, the comments have taken it to be one.

      My critique of the Common Core is that it's dull. If I were Curriculum Queen, I'd be doing something quite different. However, I cannot fault the Common Core for being far better at engaging critical thought: that's what it is attempting to do.

      But when indicted in the context of whether our public schools are all damned and doomed, well of course it's another pointed barb. Worse, it appears that few even understand what it is here. All that it is is an attempt to encourage more critical, analytical, and active engagement with more genres of written material (at least the English Common Core; I don't know about other facets of it). My only complaint isn't in the pedagogy behind it so much as that prepackaging critical thought exercises often winds up being dull pablum for students. Not for all students. And again, this has been a liberal attempt to fix the RTTP stuff. Every liberal teacher I know who is a literacy advocate views this as a step up from previous curricular models; my problem is that I don't believe in one-size-fits-all-solutions.

      But I sure as Hell support public schools.

      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

      by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:13:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As a partial homeschooler, (0+ / 0-)

        I have to say that I didn't intend any of my comments to read as though I was using CC as a cudgel. I use it frequently as a guide and a springboard. My concern with any standard is with the implementation and with the one-size-fits-all attitude that it encourages. I've dealt with a couple of teachers who are so enmeshed in that thinking that it seems impossible for them to deal with a child who is at a different level of development. The damage they can do with that thinking is massive.

        •  Standards are not one-size-fits-all! (3+ / 0-)

          Standards determine the minimum, not the maximum or sole skills and knowledge, that people should have at various levels. They also determine nothing about how these results are assessed or reported, or the projects that support them. These places are where adaptation and individualization happen.

          •  Are you new to the homeschooling diaries here? (0+ / 0-)

            I don't always initially notice that they are advocating homeschooling, or sometimes unschooling, but I start reading the comments and then realize that this is often what seems to be underlying the impetus of a given diary or its commenters' assumptions. I cannot get behind these ideas. I'm not a huge fan, as I've said, of the Common Core. I have fairly neutral views on it. I'm also not going to ever need to use it since I teach in Higher Ed. But some people are driven by the ideology that "school is bad." It is coercive. This is a view which comes from this guy, John Holt, whose views are not what I would consider sound, pedagogically.

            As an educator, I am of the bell hooks school of thought if I had to really put a label on how I view education; I am no centrist and no slouch in this department. If anything, I have pretty radical views about education. But I don't think this kind of thing is the best solution, and I strongly support public education reform.

            Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

            by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:21:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I know that standards are not one-size-fits-all... (0+ / 0-)

            I said what concerned me was the degree to which it encourages a one-size-fits-all mindset. I have dealt with several teachers and several instances of "the sky is falling" type drama over a child who wasn't at the level the standards said they "should" be at. And what was the point of that? If a child isn't developmentally ready for a concept, then no matter what the standards say they should be doing, they're not going to get it. Taking a deep breath and waiting for the child to be ready is about the only thing that will help. Having a conniption isn't going to change the child's developmental level.  There are many excellent teachers who can look at standards and see benchmarks. They can also look at children and see a process of evolution. There are also teachers and educators who look at standards as the Holy Grail and view any child who doesn't meet those standards as a failure. I've dealt with many of the former and two of the latter. The Holy Grail/failure types use standards incorrectly and they do damage. And maybe the teachers who use them correctly outnumber the others, but the others still exist and they are a problem.

            •  Sure - (0+ / 0-)

              It's also healthy to want to try and change strategies if a child isn't doing well, wouldn't you agree? And as a professional, I'm pretty sure I can approach that issue without "having a conniption".

              •  Again, (0+ / 0-)

                As I think I've been consistently clear about, I am talking about the tendency of SOME teachers. I never said "all teachers" do this, and I most definitely didn't say that you did.

                Of course it's a good idea to change strategies if a child isn't doing well, but there are some teachers out there who are not that flexible and I believe they use standards as the rationale to defend their inflexibility. In my limited experience, I've dealt with two. And believe me, "conniption" doesn't begin to describe the behavior of one of those two.

            •  Whole different problem (0+ / 0-)

              The problem then is that we don't leave students back or organize classes for students who are behind their age-grade level.

              I agree that it's a problem to teach standards to students who aren't ready for them, but why have they passed forward to that grade-level then? Therein lies the real problem. No class is ever going to be homogeneous, but some students just can't move through in 12 years - they need longer or more time. Maybe they need summer school or a few extra years. Just teaching lower and graduating them without meeting a minimum standard does no one any good.

              •  No class will be homogenous (0+ / 0-)

                and really, it would be horrible if they were.

                I'm in favor of standards. I just think that they encourage some people to expect a class to be homogeneous. How do we deal with that?

                Currently the idea of a child needing more time seems to be downright unthinkable for some people. Teachers and parents alike. I've got a kid who needs more time. His teacher's answer that was to heap more and more pressure on him to get to where he should have been. I'm talking about one teacher, yes, but they are out there. Standards are fine. I'm just wondering how to deal with people who read standards and then expect every child to be the embodiment of those standards.

                •  Yes, some students need more time. (0+ / 0-)

                  I'm not talking about homogeneous. I'm talking about what we expect a person to do by the time they leave high school and how they get there. If someone is very far behind (not a little behind in which they may legitimately catch up next year), there are real reasons to give them additional time. Some students should also be accelerated throught the process. In that way, classes wouldn't be homogeneous necessarily, but students would have the time to be successful.

                  I'm talking about MORE TIME, but advancing someone to a harder stage isn't giving them more time - it's giving them more pressure.

                •  Standards (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Linda Wood

                  I'm just wondering how to deal with people who read standards and then expect every child to be the embodiment of those standards.

                  Well, having a standard is a good way to create a bar that lets you know if someone is falling behind. The problem when you expect "everyone" to meet a standard is that you end up creating the most minimalistic standard possible, and that is a waste of time for most students who are capable of performing on a higher level. But the flip side is that without standards, students who don't perform at all are allowed to slide by because very little is expected of them in the first place. Truthfully, I don't know what the solution is. We has to figure out inevitably what to do with the students that aren't meeting the standard.

    •  Wrong, a well written standard should not be (0+ / 0-)

      possible to implemented that poorly and still meet the standard.  The fact that it can be shows that the standard is horribly flawed.

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 01:19:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would argue that the teacher above is not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Linda Wood

        actually meeting the standards in that example. She's doing it partially, but the standards require more rigor, student interaction, student publishing, etc. There is a difference between saying, "This is what the test might look like" (and it'll be more complex than that example anyway) and saying, "This is the standards." Just like the old standards, there is a difference between the test for it and the actual standards just based on the reality of "You can't test it all" perfectly.

  •  The problem isn't Common Core.... (9+ / 0-)

    It is how a District interprets it. Making a "guide" with suggested paragraphs and questions in a curriculum binder is the "cheap " way of handling. It means the expenses for training teachers are avoided and it gives "untrained" administrators a basis for teacher evaluations. In other words, the lazy way out. It also has the added advantage of not having to deal with any potentially objectionable materials or questions or discussions that might possibly be brought up in class and questioned by irate parents who don't want their children dealing with certain issues.

    Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 02:15:16 PM PST

  •  Another Florida joke (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We have this thing in Florida called:  Florida Virtual School.  That's where a student takes a course via computer, completes and hands in assignments, and takes tests.  Every student in Florida is required to take one virtual class.  In other words, we can eliminate the teacher and the student can teach themselves.  

    Some students are very motivated and could probably get a PhD online.  My daughter wasn't one of them.  I pulled out of her "virtual classes" and demanded something different.  So far, the law backs me up.  But soon, parents won't have a recourse.  

    Bringing this full circle, Rick Scott is not the only joke in Florida.  Education is up there too.  

  •  an FYI for standardized test haters... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mommyof3, reenactor, berrieh

    Please do not use the argument that they are just "bubble the correct dot" and test useless stuff.

    I'm not a big fan of standardized tests either, but making that claim shows that you are ignorant of how the new tests (being piloted now) have been constructed.  The Smarter Balance and PARCC consortium tests are much more sophisticated that what is usually described.

    •  Any tool is just a tool. (0+ / 0-)

      The thing that makes standardized tests really bad when overused is that it really gives a transactional view of education (i.e. I jump through hoops and get what I want).

      Any serious argument against standardized testing is going to be a meta-argument.  I've been dealing a lot with the products of the AZ K-12 system and the ones that have been in since AIMS was implemented don't see the process as an end in itself.

      I'll always be...King of Bain...I'll always be...King of Bain

      by AZphilosopher on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 01:41:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The PARCC could be the best test yet. (0+ / 0-)

      We don't know yet because it's unclear how well they'll pull it off, but the spirit of it is a truly good idea.

  •  I was a student under Jeb Bush's FCAT. (5+ / 0-)

    It was boring and pointless. It was graft. It was a way for Jeb Bush's buddies to make money printing test booklets and materials for schools.

    The schools actually have to spend money on this stuff. It's graft.

    They are raiding the schools to take that funding for themselves. These people don't actually care about education, if they did, the testing process wouldn't be so stupid.

    This is about helping ALEC's buddies get richer, and destroying the teachers union.

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

    by OllieGarkey on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 03:00:55 PM PST

  •  A transition has been made (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Once upon a time, the idea was to educate our children, help them discover their own potential, broaden their horizons, unlock their minds. This was the goal for all children, the raison d'être of public education for all. To not only know what or how, but why as well.

    Now? Schools are now regarded as factories to turn out standardized worker drones for employers, fodder for big box stores and the like. Meanwhile, our elites have their own track of private schools, and legacies at the select handful of colleges that provide the apparatchiks for the future nomenklatura class.

    Core Curriculum - sounds like another fad intended to solve all the problems the previous ones didn't fix. Take with large grain of salt. See Kevin Drum on this.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:24:41 PM PST

  •  Writing the tests (0+ / 0-)

    to prepare our kids for lives as drones.  Wonderful.

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:27:15 PM PST

  •  Folks are starting to catch on.... (0+ / 0-) to why they are revolting in Seattle, and Texas, and Chicago. This mess was wrought upon us by both parties agreeing to corporate reform and they have all agreed to screw children and educators up the wazzu so corporate fat asses can get their greedy hands on taxpayer dollars....

    Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

    by semioticjim on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:13:12 PM PST

  •  Is that an actual verbatim sample? (0+ / 0-)

    Leave aside how dull it is. The sample is not entirely  grammatically correct and their are multiple structural problems that make it a chore to read Someone who wrote in this style, would be considered a weak writer, unskilled in standard English language sentence constructions. The writer of this paragraph is in need of some basic writing instruction. If this is what is being given to students to analyze, I am appalled.

  •  Create a new standard (0+ / 0-)

    Get the last major independent universities to sign off on it.


    Ignore everything else.

    (I know it isn't that simple but if a school is teaching what the REAL universities need taught and will accept then WTF do we care what anyone else says? If you have a good bachelor's degree, who cares if your high school followed some non-government-issued standard?)

  •  What you describe is NOT the (3+ / 0-)

    Common Core I work with in Kentucky... and as they are COMMON standards, this is a problem.

    Or you have very poorly prepared high school teacher... teaching to test questions, NOT to the standards themselves.

    Ours are reading Antigone this week and next in 12th grade for example-- this will address several standards-- and is VERY interesting! Can't beat murder, mystery, and sex... in the preview alone (Oedipus, anyone?!).

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:39:58 PM PST

    •  It depends on how your system teaches (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to the Common Core. From what I know, most are teaching to it, to some degree, how the diarist portrays it. One of the reasons I left teaching was because of how education is being homogenized and "stupidized," and the Common Core is symptomatic of that trend.

      •  Standards vs. Implementation (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mommyof3, Linda Wood

        Teaching "to the Common Core" should actually be more interesting and rigorous than old standards, and that's what the teacher above is pointing out. If schools are adopting curricula (if you can call it that) like the diarist notes, it's not because of CC. They may be using CC as the excuse for it, but that's not what CC actually IS.

        There is nothing wrong with a set of national standards. EVERY other country that has a decent education system has nationalized standards, and it's crucial to success. (I say this as someone who's taught in the United States and several other countries in local and international schools abroad.) There is something wrong with lazy test prep, but if you READ the Common Core standards, that's clearly not their aim or purpose. The goals set in the standards are more lofty and require higher levels of thinking than most of the old NCLB tests, such as writing out a logical argument rather than writing to decontextualized prompts.

        The bottom line is: Bad implementation should not be blamed on the standards themselves. Perhaps we need more support in implementing Common Core across the country (not perhaps, but certainly we do - most of the teachers at my school are clueless about CC still and we're implementing it next year; I'm not on the "training committee" but I've educated myself on it; most teachers will not do that, in my experience, and not enough schools have good training). But most people criticizing the standards haven't actually read them. That's very against the spirit of Common Core by the way - reading and understanding texts and making logical arguments based on the textual facts is a huge part of the new curriculum and something it seems we need more of.

  •  We the People need to take back Education (0+ / 0-)

    Homeschooling and unschooling may be fine for some but are not practical for everyone.  We had a system that worked and as society changed, it was changed to reflect social standards.

    Now it's not working.  Abandoning it simply abandons those whose parents can't afford to homeschool/unschool (which is a lot of people) to increasingly worse levels of education.

    We need a plan to take it back.

  •  A large portion of the issue (0+ / 0-)

    is that we say "education" in one sentence and "key to economic success" in the other.

    It creates a transactional attitude in students farther up the line and it does create weird ethical pressures/obligations on instructors.

    A certain message/ethic that developed to combat drop out epidemics, has now been hammered into the system so much that students are a lot less manageable and have terrible work habits.

    I'll always be...King of Bain...I'll always be...King of Bain

    by AZphilosopher on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 01:20:35 AM PST

    •  This is pretty vague. (0+ / 0-)

      Maybe some links or elaboration might clarify? I think one of your points is that there is a tension between educating for job training and educating for human development, right?

      I think you if read through the standards proposed in common core on your favorite subject, you might find the preponderance of evidence on the human development side.

      •  Well part of the reason I'm being vague here (0+ / 0-)

        is that I only see the end result and I'm thinking as a trained philosopher, not a sociologist and not someone in the education field.  I see students with a very transactional view of education that I try to teach philosophy that it's very hard to get them to do any reading or see value beyond the grade.  This is a very robust phenomenon across my colleagues as well.  I wasn't so much condemning Common core as the general "accountability" movement and the tendency to hold out to students that THEY should value education because it's their ticket to more earnings over their lifetime.

        So basically as far as I'm concerned a lot of good could be done if you watch everything Morning Joe has to say about education and do the opposite.

        I'll always be...King of Bain...I'll always be...King of Bain

        by AZphilosopher on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 03:15:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What I did was home school my kids (0+ / 0-)

    after trying Montessori (which was very good, but the only local elementary Montessori school closed its doors when my oldest was about to start 3rd grade).

    Luckily, our local school district supports hsing and so there are quite a few kids who blend it with classroom study, or at the high school level, so-called independent study.

    My daughters are now 25 and 27, and both have finished college and are making their way in the world.

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