I didn't wake up this morning intending to call C-SPAN, but I did, and I got cut off. I am introduced as Steve about the 20th minute:
The theme of the segment was the 50th year of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, but the topic of Common Core quickly emerged. As a teacher of English as a Second Language in a public middle school for the past 16 years, I felt I had something to contribute to the conversation.
The screener greeted me kindly, asking my name, zip code, and subject of my question. I told her "I think LBJ would roll over in his grave if he saw the way the Common Core was implemented." She told me to listen on the phone for my turn, which I did.
Please read below the fold for more.
I was preceded by a former teacher from Florida who quit because the kids she had didn't want to learn. Then a parent from New Mexico, who lamented the lack of jobs for high school kids in his area. Then it was my turn:
I said that the Common Core was taken over by certain monied interests (think Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which funded Achieve, which underwrote most of the groundwork behind the final draft of the Common Core Standards.
Sure, it started out innocuous enough, with the governors and state education leaders agreeing that common core standards were necessary, but the committee that actually wrote the standards did so courtesy of the Gates Foundation.Notwithstanding input from the only 2 teachers on the committee, both of whom voted against adoption of the final document, the Common Core was adopted by 45 states.
Then I got cut off.
I had so much more to say.
The guest from the RAND Corp dismissed my assertion by saying most teachers like the Common Core.
She missed my point.
Common Core was written when the country was going through an economic crisis. States were scrambling to make payroll as tax revenue fell. Along comes "Race to the Top" money from the USDOE to help local districts avoid lay-offs. Some states, including mine (NY) did what they had to in order to get that money. Our state lifted its cap on charter schools, and streamlined the process to fire "bad" teachers.
Now I am evaluated on how well my students do on a standardized test. It is the same test every child in NY takes. But my children just moved here. I teach English to immigrant children. Yet they are expected to take the same test, and do as well as the Anglophones. When my students do poorly, I am deemed ineffective.
Now I teach what is on the EngageNY website. These non-profit educational companies that provided the "free" modules online each have an agenda. But that topic deserves another diary post.
This is insanity.