When I read reports like that of my colleague Kathleen Porter-Magee’s “Is there anything ‘common’ left in Common Core” I’m reminded why I like spending time with real educators and teachers in Ohio. Kathleen’s post provides a brutally concise and accurate summary of the political fights now swirling around the Common Core academic standards. She offers a glimpse into what rabid critics on both the far Right and Left are saying about the effort. The various ravings are epitomized by Susan Ohanian (whoever that is) claim that “the reality is that if people who care about public education don't find a way to fight [the Common Core standards], public schools are dead—and so is democracy.”)
But, in the heartland the conversations are very different and far more practical. Out here the issues aren’t political. Rather the talk focuses on how can educators most effectively implement the Common Core standards to improve instruction for students.
- Educators see the “big picture,” the “global” problems that the Common Core aims to address, i.e. U.S. students’ lackluster performance among their international competitors and the large number of high-school graduates who are not prepared for college or a career.
- A common language around the Common Core is being widely used. To a person, the educators spoke of ‘rigor and relevance,” “formative assessments,” “short cycle assessments,” “formative instructional practices,” “professional learning communities,” “curriculum-based assessments,” “curriculum alignment,” “curriculum maps,” “project-based learning,” “portfolio-based assessments,” “higher level thinking,” “performance-based testing” and “critical thinking skills.”
Isn't this crazy, but I'm out on the first one!? As one of those "conspiracy-fixated groups and individuals in our society" I take exception to the fact that US education needs to be solving GLOBAL problems and comparing Singapore students to American students. Then there's the fact that we in no way believe the sole task of our public schools is preparing kids for college! Kids should be given a well rounded education and allowed to determine what they will do and where they will go after school - absent of pressure to attend an over-rated, expensive, indoctrination facility full of highly touted, tenured teachers with bloated salaries, giving out degrees like "Women's Studies" that can't possibly allow a young person to get a job outside that of 'barista'.
The second bullet point is what gave me the fit that caused me to write the following comment to the article:
Hmmmm....as one of the apparent evil naysayers that are attempting to upend Kathleen Porter-Magee’s 'precious' Common Core State Standards (I think there was a 'precious' in the Hobbitt, wasn't there?) by addressing specific concerns regarding the Federal intervention in education and the lack of local control that comes with it (for example; if my child is not responding to the English standards being used - if she's not responding to more 'technical' texts and would like more 'pleasure' reading, what do I do? Call Ghostbusters?), I would just like to maybe make a point by using...the Stepford Wives - since I'm on movie analogies here anyway.
Yes, I said the Stepford Wives. Does no one remember the very interesting near end of the movie when Joanna stabs her friend Bobbie because she thinks she's become one of 'them' and Bobbie doesn't bleed or scream but merely starts calmly saying, "But Joanna, I want to be your friend, I want to be your friend" over and over?
I do, and I guess it's not terribly hard for me to see Bobbie calmly (albeit robotically) saying the words and phrases, "‘rigor and relevance,” “formative assessments,” “short cycle assessments,” “formative instructional practices,” “professional learning communities,” “curriculum-based assessments,” “curriculum alignment,” “curriculum maps,” “project-based learning,” “portfolio-based assessments,” “higher level thinking,” “performance-based testing” and “critical thinking skills.”, over and over and over again. (By the way, most ALL of this Core-Speak, has to do with Constructivism - the theory prescribed by John Dewey - the Father of Progressive Education - the stuff that hasn't worked since it was put into widespread use in the 1960's - which is another reason we disagree!)
I know as a parent and education watchdog, I've heard ALL these words - in various iterations - and each and every time I hear them, I hear Bobbie saying them, over and over and over, like a broken record.
I guess this simpleton, backward Bible belt midwesterner from the ACTUAL heartland, would rather remain just that, than a soulless robot repeating nonsense from a program I was given by someone else in order to get money to Guinea Pig yet another untested, unproven, education 'reform' program on the backs of the KIDS which is really all this is about anyway - isn't it?
Now that I've re-read it, I think I would add one more thing. We are NOT a Communist country. We don't train workers - we train children (up in the way they should go and not depart from it). A one size fits all set of standards is meant for children to be trained up in the way of the worker - for a job. We don't believe that stuff here in America, where everyone has a chance - so long as they take it - and everyone succeeds or fails on their own merit. Heaven help us that so many today either don't know this to be true according to American history, or simply choose to forget it because it's easier to have the government raise your children for you.
Wooow, Well Lord Hit me running, My children are my faith toward up-standing , truthful , * healthy individuals going forward with mom/dad institutions and respects the rights & freedom of others.!!!
Excellent post Twana! Agree whole-heartedly. I'M Baaaaaccckk. I have been crash-coursing on a couple of issues that need to be set up in our State.
I was blessed to experience many different schools in many different states prior to entering high school. I was taught how to think, not what to think. I was always given the opportunity to challenge myself, learned how to challenge others (students and teachers), learned how this country was founded upon christian values, and most importantly, that I was responsible for my education, I did not rely on the teachers, the books, or the lack luster students. If I wanted it, I went after it.
High school was a lousy experience. Not because the teachers were bad, the school was in shambles, or any thing not in my control. Rather, I looked at what was being sold, (Illinois school system 1960) and did not want any part of it. I attended classes, and continued to challenge "teachers" and administration. I would read history and challenge the teachers, read science books, and the bible and challenge the teachers, I would in most aspects challenge many of the changes that said I had to follow a specific curricula which I had no say in.
Later, I did decide to return to school and obtain a B.S. with High Honors. I used what I had been taught in the primary grades, self reliance, self respect, responsibility, and accountability to attain that degree. Much later I did receive my PhD, again I relied upon my early educational training.
My PhD is in Vocational Education, now called Adult Education, now called Life Learning. I have used my training and experience to teach adults, children, and a special group of "rebellious" students. I have, not to blow my horn, shown many how to find their interests, and then pursue them in a manner which will provide an income. College is not and should not be the end goal, rather the ability to support oneself and make a contribution to society should be the end goal. No one should be forced to think that being a plumber, gardner, farmer is less respected than accountant or medical doctor.
Dewy was wrong in his goal, progressives looked at his goal as the road to utopia, without thinking and realizing that a persons dreams and aspirations are more important than the collective. Keep up your "fight" as it is the good fight, it recognizes the fact that God has given us our own individual desires and capabilities. I promote home schooling in many different areas, not to undercut public education, but more to enhance it. I also strongly promote parental involvement at all levels of education. It is the parent who first and for most contributes to the self esteem and self worth of the child and they are more than critical in the development of the child through about 16 or 17. Teachers, principals, governmental agencies do not have the same emotional commitment as a parent, nor do that have the blessings of seeing the child grow from an embryo to an adult, and those two considerations have been replaced by "we know best" edicts which are contrary to the innate desire of a parent to do what is best for a child.
Just my thoughts!!
Some good thinking here. The "Global" aspect is the kiss of death for our children as it is crafted to inure them to the idea that our Constitution is a hindrance rather than the instrument which guarantees their freedom and makes America unique in the world. At least it has until the last few decades when the Fed and agenda driven liberal, progressive, Marxist politicians got involved in local education.
Another good read Ms.T..Reminds me of what we were told by certain Dewey eyed educators when I was staring high school. We were told back then (in the 60's)that we needed to "reach beyond whatever we had learned at home or in church and trust our educators who could lead us to a brighter and more promising future." I was the kid who got high B or low A when I was interested in the subject--or liked the Teacher.-but I got bored easy and found being class clown had more immediate rewards. I recall hearing somewhere the purpose of education today is not to educate so much as to prepare children to serve as citizens of our global community. Stepford indeed--the progressives dream for America.