Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Time To Chime In On Common Core Is Now (Updated)

I got my witness slip in as an opponent to the Heather Steans Common Core-By-Any-Other-Name-As-Long-As-It's-Tested-Continuously bill. The senate hearing is starting in about five minutes.  You can still do yours!

Look at the people filing slips in favor of all the testing and the Common Core-By-Any-Other-Name:

Did you see all the educator voices there? Me neither. I'm glad Jessica Handy finally got to chime in for Stand For Children. They were probably exhausted from throwing money at people last night over in the 26th District.

Below are the people who have filed as opponents. My heroes. Excluding me, of course. I'm not my own hero; that would be weird.

Do you like how I spelled citizen? Writing on a phone; it's what you get. For over twenty years I had to read the word sentence misspelled by 8th graders as sentance and I now here I am old and gray and filling out witness slips as a citizan.  

Thrilled to see CTU has chimed in as an opponent. The whole national AFT position on the Core has been somewhat checkered and in my opinion, finger-to-the-wind, but I understand the political positions people have been cornered into. I'm pretty sure CTU sees the boondoggle-level waste in this basically unfunded mandate as well as the rush to introduce high-stakes tests on kids who are just only now getting the beginnings of the new curriculum.

So for the record the only group representing actual educators has weighed in opposed.

Like I say, this isn't an RPNPS issue, it's a personal issue for me. I've worked in some pretty elite schools, and a couple schools with lots and lots of poor people and immigrants. I'm pretty sure that whatever's ailing various schools in various places, these standards, and all the money we're going to spend on the new tests, aren't going to do anything but make problems worse.

NCLB was the waving of a magic wand. The Race to the Top, which these sneakily unnamed standards are part of, is just a different magic wand. I can see why all the manufacturing people want it---- it's sort of a policy-by-fiat with no heavy lifting. The kids are just all going to pass these newer, harder tests and that's that, and let's cut budgets while we're doing it, and for that matter let's fire all the teachers.

I've never written an opinion about the math standards because my training, experience, and passion is in writing. I can tell you this much: these Common Core ELA standards aren't going to make anyone a better writer. They might make kids better at passing the tests designed for the new standards, with enough drilling, but as for actual, authentic writing, not a chance. Kids will have to develop that type of skill in spite of the standards. And as for the very picky little year-by-year gradations in sub-skill sophistication that are the hallmark of the ELA standards? Those don't exist in nature.

It's a waste of money and the opportunity cost is staggering. The money we waste on tests, and really all of the money going toward the standards in general-- it could have built so many libraries. Libraries last a long, long time if you build them right. These tests? Not so much.

No comments:

Post a Comment