Is it just me, or are some of the definitions on the “Definitions Page” of the Common Core governing document, downright 1984-Orwell-creepy?
You can peruse the definitions (and there are many) on your own, in the 2009 Race to the Top Application, which was the document that hooked Utah into the Common Core –despite the fact that we didn’t win that first RTTT grant. It’s easy to find online.
From the Definitions Page:
“Innovative, autonomous public schools means open enrollment public schools that, in return for increased accountability for student achievement (as defined in this notice), have the flexibility and authority to define their instructional models and associated curriculum; select and replace staff; implement new structures and formats for the school day or year; and control their budgets.”
Does that not strike you as creepy? –Only certain public schools will be allowed the authority to define their own instructional models, curriculum; to replace staff, to format their own school days, and to control their own budgets? Yikes! Try this one:
“Common set of K-12 standards means a set of content standards that define what students must know and be able to do and that are substantially identical across all States in a consortium. A State may supplement the common standards with additional standards, provided that the additional standards do not exceed 15 percent of the State’s total standards for that content area.”
Is it just me, or does it seem weird and creepy that the federal government says a state “may supplement” our own school system’s standards, only if our standards “do not exceed 15%” educational speed limit of the common standards we’ve begin to call state standards?
This is particularly odd in light of the fact that federal G.E.P.A. law explicitly prohibits the federal government from bossing us around in this manner: “No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…” (General Educational Provisions Act) http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/20/1232a
Okay, just one more:
“Effective principal means a principal whose students, overall and for each subgroup, achieve acceptable rates (e.g., at least one grade level in an academic year) of student growth (as defined in this notice). States, LEAs, or schools must include multiple measures, provided that principal effectiveness is evaluated, in significant part, by student growth (as defined in this notice)…”
So, rates of student growth and effectiveness of principals and teachers will be defined by the feds (“as defined in this notice”) and not by teachers, parents, or students themselves. An effective principal or teacher is to be determined by people who live in D.C., not people who work with and know the principal face to face. It’s nuts. The entire education reform movement, moving us toward greater and greater “accountability” to people who do not have actual authority to ask for it (Secretary Duncan) is mind-numbing and makes me want to run with scissors and use my outdoor voice.