From Rethinking Schools – Editorial: The Trouble with the Common Core
This editorial does an excellent job of spelling out the need for resistance to many of the edreform efforts that are currently gaining ground, represented principally by the Common Core.
I am glad that they began with some positive concessions, because there are some quality aspects to the Common Core. In fact, I would say that the differences between the CCSS and the pre-existing Massachusetts frameworks not so great as some would claim, at least at the high school level. Many of the standards are the same or nearly so. There is a fundamental paradigm shift in the pointed emphasis on non-fiction reading, but overall many of the standards are quite similar. Yet, as this editorial implies that is not necessarily a good thing either.
Tracing the CCSS lineage back through No Child Left Behind, reveals some key flaws. Doubling down on rewards and punishments through high stakes testing that determines financial incentives has proven problematic at best and, in some cases, disastrous at worst. Moreover, those kinds motivational efforts are prove to be severely flawed in a lot of the market-driven business world too.
More than anything, I wish people would just recognize the dubious way the current edreforms, like the Common Core, have been brought into being. The Common Core was not developed by educators that would ever be charged with using them. Corporate money funded a top-down initiative, via the National Governors Association. That is the closest it has ever been to being a state effort. These are all facts that anyone who picked up a copy of them and read the front matter could find out for themselves.
Add to that the urge to link all the testing to teacher evaluations, when nearly every reliable assessment expert says this is incongruous, only adds danger to the mix. If the tests are designed to measure student performance, which is truly a debatable point of contention in the aftermath of New York State, then that is their purpose. Using a measure for height does not render good results when trying to measure for weight.
Ultimately, what this editorial points out is the sheer lack of honesty, research, understanding, transparency, democracy, and public interest that the Common Core presents to us all.