I was chatting with an acquaintance as we both watched our kids’ karate lesson today.
She said, “I don’t know what’s different this year. My kids’ teachers say that there are so many rules: ‘You can’t teach this. You have to teach this. It’s like the Nazis have moved in.’ ”
She didn’t know what Common Core was.
This is the problem. Most folks still don’t know what it is. There was never a vote. There was never a t.v. infomercial. There was never a cost analysis given to taxpayers nor an academic analysis given to teachers when Common Core got made the tyrant king of American education.
I know because I am a teacher and my credential’s always been up to date, since I began to teach in the 90’s. And I didn’t get the memo.
Yet Common Core’s taken over. It’s in the process of forever changing the systems of education in over FORTY SIX STATES in the U.S.A.
And even in the states who were smart enough to reject the federal offer to join Common Core (via the Race to the Top grant application a few years back)– even those states are now being bought by Arne and Barack.
Sad to report: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan happily bypassed the wise state superintendents in states like Texas and Virginia who had rejected Common Core, and offered a brand new DISTRICT version (not state version) of the Race to the
Middle Top money.
The catch? The districts have to skip to the ever-so-common tune Arne and Barack are fiddling.
Oh, they have other words for it: Career-and-College Readiness is a favorite. But when you go to the ed.gov website and read the way they’ve nailed education reform definitions to the wall, you’ll see. Now, Career and College Readiness means you must teach Common Core, no more and no less; you must march lockstep with the nationalized education drumbeat Arne and Barack are drumming. You can’t (by their definition) be preparing anyone for college and career unless your standards are the same as “a significant number of states.”
That reminds me of Henry Ford’s Model T car ad.
“ANY CUSTOMER CAN HAVE A CAR PAINTED ANY COLOR THAT HE WANTS SO LONG AS IT IS BLACK.”
The famous line of the founder Henry Ford referred to the T model since, due to express production, no other color could dry as fast as black.
So, Obama/Duncan’s version is:
“ANY STATE CAN HAVE ANY ED. STANDARDS, SO LONG AS THEY ARE THE SAME AS COMMON CORE.”
(And as long as we hold the lock and key –no amendability– on these national standards. The lock? NGA/CCSSO copyright. The key? A U.S. Dept. of Education mandate that states can’t add more than 15% to what’s in Common Core.)
Does this sameness mandate not upset anyone? Especially since Common Core’s full of terrible rules like REMOVING AS MUCH CLASSIC LITERATURE as possible, SLOWING DOWN Jr. high and high school MATH, and totally ELIMINATING CURSIVE at any age.
Does the dumbing down of the older students’ standards not upset you? Does the force-feeding of the youngers ones not upset you?
I seriously attempted to persuade my friends this week to join me in creating a gigantic banner that would read: REPEAL COMMON CORE.
We’d bear the banner at this week’s “Meet the Candidates” events. Then we’d fly it over the State Capitol building. But this was a fantasy.
–We’ve talked ourselves blue in the face with Rep. Kraig Powell, Sen. Aaron Osmond, Governor Herbert, Lt. Governor Greg Bell, and others. They all think Common Core is dandy.
So do tons of teachers. –But not all. I know a few teachers who wish I’d flown over their schools in a small plane with a big banner.
But they won’t say this out loud. (Spiral of Silence.) They think they’ll lose their jobs. They’re supposed to buy the line that Common Core doesn’t hurt local control in any way, and that it improves education.
They are not supposed to ask why the data collection of students has changed so dramatically, why nonacademic data is now part of the personally identifiable information states are collecting via schools. They are not supposed to ask why there are no references to any real research showing that Common Core is viable or beneficial or better than the old system. They are not supposed to notice that it’s a socialist-communist style of national education now, where states no longer have sovereignty over their educational decision making. They are not supposed to ask why the copyright page of the Common Core standards says that CCSSO/NGA wrote the standards solely, and that “no claims to the contrary shall be made,” even while they were asked to help write portions of the standards. Empty gesture. Teachers had no voice.