Monday, March 25, 2013

Some honesty about Common Core standards

In the wake of the rush to adopt Common Core standards nationwide (which beautifully mirrors the standards movement of the early 1990s), Delaware held a major event this past weekend.

Four things you should know about the Common Core standards:

1.  They've been adopted before they were even completed.  I guess we had to adopt the standards before we could know what's in them.

2.  They remain very controversial among education researchers and subject matter experts (since there are no social studies standards yet [see Nr. 1 above] I can only examine the English/Language Arts standards that overlap Social Studies, because it is in that field that I am a subject matter expert.  They are bad.  I will do a detailed analysis soon.

3.  They are not going to work as advertised because they are too extensive, and they are delusional in the expectations of teacher time and the realities of student preparation for them.

4.  Even the people who wrote them are already hedging their bets (while collecting consulting dollars for selling them); see quotation in BOLD:

Tim Shanahan, a University of Illinois professor who helped write part of the standards, was a featured speaker at the conference. 
Shanahan said the Common Core will raise expectations for students, something the U.S. badly needs to compete with the world. 
“Standards don’t raise achievement,” Shanahan said. “But we can address the the standards with energy and wisdom in ways that can raise achievement.”
Common Core standards will not destroy American public education (the Federal government was already doing an excellent job with that), but they will not improve it dramatically.  It will be another multi-million/billion dollar boondoggle.

1 comment:

kavips said...

Common Core may have been invented with good intentions. No Child Left Behind may have been invented with good intentions.

Problem is, when you simply throw money at someones intentions, the bad people get in line first... Because... that is what bad people do.

In both cases we have billions, being siphoned away from public schools (which were already imploding from the property tax bubbles bursting), into for-profit mechanisms that don't have to answer to parents,students or teachers. They answer only to their investors....

It is pretty easy to see where this is all heading...

If there were a way to harness the private investment without a profit motive, and put that money into education where teachers were the sole arbitrators of whether a student passed or failed, we might get somewhere for a change...

There are two ways I see to do that. Both involve taxes. One is to tax corporations an additional amount exclusively for schools, obviously a messy proposition. The other is to raise corporate tax rates to then write off some corporate taxes corresponding to the amount they choose to donate hands free into the educational system...

You are right about the quality being taught... If not already clued in, check out the Common Core being used in Ontario, where it is being used as an augmentation device, and not as an accountability hammer. That distinction seems to be producing results.