"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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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Show Me Institute Showing Signs of Getting It

James Shul, Show Me's newest Education Policy Analyst, had conversations with teachers on both sides of the state and discovered that they were not happy with the Common Core Standards being rolled out across the state. (read article here)

Both were unhappy about the relentless testing associated with the standards, and that part hasn't even fully come into play yet.

At a recent Rockwood District public meeting Chief Financial Officer Tim Rooney reported that the district expects to spend $900,000 to retrain staff over the next two years to comply with Common Core. That's almost a million dollars to radically change the way the teachers, in a district that has very good stats compared to the state, teach. When it comes to Common Core the old adage, if it ain't broke don't fix it, doesn't apply.

Confounding this statement was an observation by one parent that the middle school had already begun teaching Common Core math through the use of new text books and no training was required. So what will we be paying close to a million dollars for? How to administer on-line assessments?

For Rockwood, the change in math standards has been a welcomed improvement. For years the district stuck with the Everyday Math program which is so bad at teaching math that it has been banned in two states. The majority of teachers hated it. Some even secretly refused to teach it. Students went home crying about math and Kumon Centers made a lot of money tutoring students in math. It is just a shame that it took something as dramatic as nationally imposed standards to move this district.

Before the Rockwood parents throw a party, they should realize the trade off Mr. Shuls pointed out in his article, "the math standards eliminate Algebra I in the eighth grade." One step forward, two steps back.

Show Me acknowledged the relative secrecy under which Common Core was introduced in the state. Since their focus is finance, they also reported the millions of dollars committed by the State School Board to adopt Common Core without public approval. Show Me is looking for comments or experiences with Common Core. Please be sure to share your thoughts with them.

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