I wrote this and gave this as part of a series of anti COMMON CORE talks back in 2012/13.
A 16 year-old 8th grader I met 2 years ago was on the verge of being tossed out of middle school even though he was one of the brightest kids there. When I asked him why he was failing, he said… “Why should I be doing the same “frckn” thing since I was in 3rd grade? They took his passion, his curiosity, and his humanity, and replaced them with boredom.
– “Another kid who could comprehend the whole Harry Potter series before she was 11, now reads 2 novels a week, yet thinks she “sucks at English” because she is more nuanced in her thinking than the questions on tests allow. She learned to hate reading.”
WHY IS THIS? a little history..
“COMMONIZING attempts TO MAKE the U.S. MORE COMPETITIVE actually started with the use of Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management in PUBLIC, not private schools during the industrializing economy of the early 20th century. (Think of the straight rows and total obedience model…)
However, outside of a few small attempts it wasn’t until the publication of “A Nation at Risk” in 1983 that Commonality sped up by spurring the creation of GERM (Global Economic Reform Movement) whose corporate and national leaders decided that the best way to create a global economy was to globalize and homogenize public education.
The nation refusing to join? #1 rated Finland, which, by the way, turned it’s very poor education system around in the early 1990s by emulating the kind of teaching we did here in the 60’s and 70’s.
In 2001, George Bush, with the help of Rep. John Boehner and Senator Ted Kennedy, brought us No Child Left Behind. A reauthorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, NCLB supported standards-based education reform on the premise that setting high standards and establishing measurable goals can improve individual outcomes in education. How noble!
In offering more federal school funding, NCLB expanded the federal role in public education through annual testing, annual academic progress, report cards, teacher qualifications, and funding changes. All states were given the impossible goal of achieving 100% proficiency in ELA and Math by 2014. The net result was a huge standardized testing craze that was subsequently used to rate students, teachers, and schools. In 2009, also with bipartisan support, The Obama administration launched RTTT, a $4.35 billion United States DOE contest created to “spur innovation and reforms in state and local district K-12 education”.
As part of this, the creation of the Common Core was spearheaded by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers: D.C.-based associations funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others. They, in turn, hired ACHIEVE INC. and lead writer David Coleman (now head of ETS). Coleman, who was turned down in NYC for a teaching job credentials were that he worked for McKinsey Consulting, McGraw Hill, and Michelle Rhee’s Students First. Also lead writers: his partner, Susan Pimentel, Jason Zimba (a professor of Physics and math), Phil Daro (a Senior Fellow at America’s Choice owned by Pearson), and William McCallum, who was “born in Australia and came to the United States to pursue a Ph. D. in mathematics at Harvard University, a professor at the University of Arizona, working in number theory and mathematics education.” NOT ONE THEM WAS A K-12 TEACHER!
Forty-five states and the District have since adopted the Core because in addition to the $4.3 billion Race to the Top competition (BRIBE), The Education Department tempted states with waivers from No Child Left Behind whose 100% proficiency in ELA and math by 2014 was an impossible goal to begin with. What organization’s personnel are 100% proficient? Certainly not Congress!
The problem was and is that The RTTT carrot is poisoned with common standards, newer tests and is, actually, NCLB 2.0…as Diane Ravitch said recently… ON STEROIDS!
All of these were part of a plan that told adopting states that they had to:
1.adopt international benchmarked standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and the workplace. (But according to whom?…measures are untested unreliable and invalid.)
2.Build instructional data systems that measure student success and inform teachers and principals on how they can improve their instruction (but not to the kids tested because the grades come back in the summer and without an item analysis to help teachers figure out exactly what needed to be worked on.)
- Turn around the lowest performing schools based on these tests…(which led to controlled content, test prep, and cheating)
4. Lifting caps on Charter Schools. (and profit)
These led to further state mandates where NY led the way:
Most notorious is the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) based on predominantly flawed data from flawed tests.
A real Example: A teacher of the year inherited a gifted class whose collective score was 3.2 out of 4.0. For her to be graded as a competent teacher her class the following year had to average 3.7. However, when it came their turn to take their test, her new gifted students only averaged 3.5…so even though the scores improved .2 to 3.5 out of 4…she was declared incompetent.
In some districts, if she was a highly paid veteran teacher without union due process protection, that would be enough to fire her and replace her with a low skill, low wage, 1st year teacher…. bound to quit after 2-5 years. Hiring these newbies “justifies” buying more “fool proof” Common Core materials that are prescribed and scripted.
IMAGINE: Your heart surgeon is operating on you and must follow the book or lose his job. While you are on the table, he discovers an unforeseen problem that, because of his experience and practical wisdom, calls for a spontaneous change of plan, yet he can’t. You die on the table.
Common Core and its associated prescribed modules are creating the intellectual deaths of our teachers and the children we put in their care.
Another problem is that for every federal dollar received from this bribe, districts are spending countless more to pay for implementation. For example, in Rockland county NY, 6 districts report that projected a 4 year cost of implementing RRRT will be @$11Million. What will they receive from the Feds? $400k! In 18 lower Hudson valley districts, the aggregate cost just to get ready for RTTT in 2012 was @$6.5Million while the aggregate federal revenue was $520K.
Four years later where are we?