"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, March 21, 2013

Is DESE telling the truth on Common Core Standards?

James Shuls, education policy analyst at Show-Me Institute, finds claims that the Common Core State Standards will not influence instructional practices downright disingenuous and obviously false.

He writes in Jay P. Greene's blog an article challenging Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's claims that CCSS will not affect curriculum.  From Constructive Criticism for Common Core Constructivism Deniers:

In a recent Twitter exchange, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education informed me that the CCSS don’t “tell teachers how to teach.” This is a phrase that has been echoing across the country as the Common Core has come under attack from the left and the right.

The fact is that curriculum standards don’t tell teachers how to teach in the same way that a high jump bar doesn’t tell a jumper how to jump. You could theoretically jump over a high jump bar in whatever way you would like; but because of how the jump is structured there is a clear advantage to doing the old Fosbury Flop.

It is clear from documents on the Common Core website and from the discourse throughout the country that these new standards encourage constructivist teaching practices. Take for example these two quotes from a Key Points in Common Core Math document.

  • The standards stress not only procedural skill but also conceptual understanding, to make sure students are learning and absorbing the critical information they need to succeed at higher levels ‐ rather than the current practices by which many students learn enough to get by on the next test, but forget it shortly thereafter, only to review again the following year.
  • Having built a strong foundation K‐5, students can do hands on learning in geometry, algebra and probability and statistics. Students who have completed 7th grade and mastered the content and skills through the 7th grade will be well‐ prepared for algebra in grade 8.
Common Core developers themselves are saying that traditional methods of math instruction aren’t working and students should be learning through “hands on learning.” It is reasonable to assume the tests will likely favor constructivist teaching practices.
Read more here.

Check out Shuls' twitter feed and particularly this tweet:

Me: "Where does the curriculum come from?" Principal: "Common Core State Standards" Direct quote
Wonder how DESE will spin that tweet?


  1. Conservatives need to get behind a reformed, content-based curriculum and fight the battle at the local level. Instead, we wait until some national movement gets a full head of steam, and thenwe scream, "OMG!". It's hard to beat something with nothing. Should we support E.D. Hirsch's "Core Knowledge" curriculum?

  2. Should we support the curriculum that has this statement on their website, "The Core Knowledge Foundation supports the Common Core State Standards Initiative and is committed to helping ensure their successful implementation in schools nationwide. The standards represent “a not-to-be missed opportunity for the nation to begin catching up in verbal achievement,” noted E. D. Hirsch, Jr., the founder of the Core Knowledge Foundation"? Yeah, I don't think so.


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