Friday, March 08, 2013

arguing about 19th century methods and standards...,

dianeravitch | I have thought long and hard about the Common Core standards.

I have decided that I cannot support them.

In this post, I will explain why.

I have long advocated for voluntary national standards, believing that it would be helpful to states and districts to have general guidelines about what students should know and be able to do as they progress through school.

Such standards, I believe, should be voluntary, not imposed by the federal government; before implemented widely, they should be thoroughly tested to see how they work in real classrooms; and they should be free of any mandates that tell teachers how to teach because there are many ways to be a good teacher, not just one. I envision standards not as a demand for compliance by teachers, but as an aspiration defining what states and districts are expected to do. They should serve as a promise that schools will provide all students the opportunity and resources to learn reading and mathematics, the sciences, the arts, history, literature, civics, geography, and physical education, taught by well-qualified teachers, in schools led by experienced and competent educators.

​For the past two years, I have steadfastly insisted that I was neither for nor against the Common Core standards. I was agnostic. I wanted to see how they worked in practice. I wanted to know, based on evidence, whether or not they improve education and whether they reduce or increase the achievement gaps among different racial and ethnic groups.

After much deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that I can’t wait five or ten years to find out whether test scores go up or down, whether or not schools improve, and whether the kids now far behind are worse off than they are today.

I have come to the conclusion that the Common Core standards effort is fundamentally flawed by the process with which they have been foisted upon the nation.

The Common Core standards have been adopted in 46 states and the District of Columbia without any field test. They are being imposed on the children of this nation despite the fact that no one has any idea how they will affect students, teachers, or schools. We are a nation of guinea pigs, almost all trying an unknown new program at the same time.


umbrarchist said...

If kids had a good book list that stimulated their curiosities starting from kindergarten how important would Common Core be.

CNu said...

Umbra, it's all horseshit until and unless somebody both clever and empowered comes along and shows the way to make school both interesting and fun. Everything else is merely self-deluding, self-serving, and parasitic academic conversation.

Dale Asberry said...

If the proof is in the pudding and all we keep hearing from you is pudding recipes, what makes you any different from the object of your scorn? Show us the pudding!

umbrarchist said...

I do find it curious how I almost never get any comments on things I have posted even the audiobooks that people can just listen to.

The Tyranny of Words (1938) by Stuart Chase

I wish someone had told me about that one in high school. I read Korzybski's Science and Sanity in my 20s.

A Short History of the World (1922) by H. G. Wells (not sci-fi but an SF writer's perspective)

Thinking as a Science (1916) by Henry Hazlitt

Omnilingual (Feb 1957) by H. Beam Piper

Badge of Infamy (Jun 1957) by Lester del Rey

1957 was the year of Sputnik, but it was launched in October. Both of these stories were published before the Sputnik launch. It was not until 1958 that the van Allen belts were discovered and 1965 that a probe sent to Mars discovered that the planet had no magnetic field and only one percent of Earth's atmospheric pressure. So this information changed our thinking about the chances of life developing on the planet and Mars stories from before 1965 would most likely have significant inaccuracies. But these are both decent and interesting stories nonetheless.

But SF has changed since the 50s

The Fourth R (1959) by George O. Smith

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