"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Now Common Core is not only "State Led" it's Also "Teacher Designed"

Common Core explained:  Common Sense not allowed.

Comments today are reprinted with permission from Barry Garelick.  

Garelick has written extensively about math education in various publications including Education Next, Educational Leadership, and Education News. He is currently doing student teaching at a junior high school in the central coast area of California, and plans to teach math as his second career. He recently retired from the federal government.

He writes:

Stockton CA school district talks about Common Core. 

Here are some gems:

"Most significantly, Stockton Unified Assistant Superintendent Kirk Nicholas said, under the new approach student success will be measured less by their ability to recite facts than by how effective they are at demonstrating their understanding of what they have learned. Nicholas gave the example of a rubber band resting on a table. Whereas now a student would be asked to identify the object as a rubber band, a student in 2014-15 would be asked to shoot it into the wind, shoot it with the wind to his back, and analyze the results."

So it's all about "understanding". The problem is, what level of understanding is required for what grade levels? And does a student need to be able to explain why the invert and multiply rule for dividing fractions works, and show why? And if a student can't explain, but knows he must use fractional division (and can do so) to figure out how many 2/3 oz servings of yogurt are in a 2 oz container of yogurt, is that student deemed to "not understand" fractional division?

Oh, and there's this also:

"The Leadership and Learning Center will serve as a consultant in a process Nicholas and Superintendent Steve Lowder say will be driven by teachers. Lowder said Stockton Unified is 'changing from a top-down model to a directive, and the teachers designing the plan.'

" 'It's about honoring teachers making decisions in the classroom about student achievement,' Lowder added. 'We believe in teachers.' "

Great. So does this mean if a teacher wants to use direct instruction rather than inquiry-based, and whole class instruction rather than groups, they will be allowed to do so?
Garelick raises good points:
  • Common Core deals with "understanding" rather than facts
  • Common Core is being touted as being "teacher led" (does this remind you of CCSS originally being sold as "state led")
  • Student achievement on standardized testing is the ultimate goal, rather than student learning
  • Assessments/standards are designed for "collaborative" learning, meaning direct instruction will be largely non-existent
How much will these privately crafted common core standards cost for local district implementation?  
The school board unanimously approved a contract, not to exceed $280,000, with the Colorado-based Leadership and Learning Center to help the district get ready. 

It's just one of many education reform companies cashing in on Common Core contracts from local districts forced to comply with these top down mandates taxpayers are now to believe are "teacher designed".   

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