My stance on legitimate education reform is clear: testing, standardization and accountability inhibit learning and should be abolished, and teachers should be inspired to create vibrant, chaotic, collaborative, technology-rich classrooms that encourage a thirst for learning. Although I preach incessantly that teachers must not allow standards and testing to impinge upon creativity, I still wonder how progressive education and the common core can coexist.
I am part of my district’s Common Core Transition Team, which means I’m working with others to develop curriculum based on the new standards. We are told that the common core provides an opportunity to teach students how to think critically. Rigorous nonfiction texts will be used so that deep reading can be accomplished and thoughtful summations can be written. This may sound exciting to someone who hasn’t read the standards and who is mesmerized by the spin doctoring. Once the rhetoric stops, though, even the most casual observer will understand that words and phrases like “rigorous” and “deep reading” are euphemisms for “boring” and “guided reading,” neither of which lends itself to education reform.
So, prior to returning to my creations, which are driven by my own personal and professional standards rather than those mandated by the government, I contemplate this overwhelming issue. If educators are stuck with the common core and will eventually be evaluated on how well students perform on the tests that accompany it, how is a progressive, student-centered learning environment to survive? Will teachers be willing to extend their own professional development and hard work beyond what is provided by Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College (PARCC), which governs the CCSS and the assessments? Will students be relegated to months of rigor, deep reading and test preparation, in lieu of collaboration, project-based learning and independent reading?
Read more here.
Then read Mark Garrison's written testimony on CCSS from a politically structured perspective:
While the federal Department of Education is in violation of the law, the CCSSI
represents something worse than a “federal power grab.” In fact, the illegal power of
the federal government has been used to remove public power over education at the
local, state and federal level and place it in the hands of four private (501c3)
publically unaccountable corporations, who have strong connections to test publishers
and the big private philanthropies secretly driving education reform. They are: the
National Governors Association (NGA), the Council of Chief State School Officers
(CCSSO), and the two assessment apparatuses, the Partnership for Readiness for
College and Career (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).
Most telling is that the Common Core State Standards, standards that now govern
curriculum, instruction and assessment across the country, are jointly “owned” by the
NGA Center for Best Practices and the CCSSO! Both federal and state legislatures,
not to mention local school boards, are complete removed from having a say.
Maybe the first question asked should be why was CCSS allowed to be adopted by circumventing the legislative process? Instead of worrying if CCSS and education can coexist, shouldn't we be worried that we now have a nationalized educational system that doesn't respond to local concerns?
If the teachers feel left out of the process of delivering education, imagine how the taxpayers feel of having to pay for a system in which they have no decision making. All the system wants is their children and their money but not their ideas/plans on the educational delivery/content for their children.