"A fool with a tool is still a fool. A fool with a powerful tool is a dangerous fool.A fool with a tool is still a fool. A fool with a powerful tool is a dangerous fool."
From Valerie Strauss in The Washington Post Principal: ‘I was naïve about Common Core’:
Here’s a powerful piece about how an award-winning principal went from being a Common Core supporter to an opponent. This was written by Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in New York. She was named the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. She is one of the co-authors of the principals’ letter against evaluating teachers by student test scores, which has been signed by 1,535 New York principals.
Here is a real life example of how common core will operate. It doesn't look so wonderful and clear and concise in practice:
Many of the teachers in my high school are also the parents of young children. They come into my office with horror stories regarding the incessant pre-testing, testing and test prep that is taking place in their own children’s classrooms. Last month, a colleague gave me a multiple-choice quiz taken by his seven-year old son during music. Here is a question:
Kings and queens COMMISSIONED Mozart to write symphonies for celebrations and ceremonies. What does COMMISSION mean?
to force someone to do work against his or her will
to divide a piece of music into different movements
to perform a long song accompanied by an orchestra
to pay someone to create artwork or a piece of music
Whether or not learning the word ‘commission’ is appropriate for second graders could be debated—I personally think it is a bit over the top. What is of deeper concern, however, is that during a time when 7 year olds should be listening to and making music, they are instead taking a vocabulary quiz.
I think that the reason for the quiz is evident to anyone who has been following the reform debate. The Common Core places an extraordinary emphasis on vocabulary development. Probably, the music teacher believes she must do her part in test prep. More than likely she is being evaluated in part by the English Language Arts test scores of the building. Teachers are engaged in practices like these because they are pressured and afraid, not because they think the assessments are educationally sound. Their principals are pressured and nervous about their own scores and the school’s scores. Guaranteed, every child in the class feels that pressure and trepidation as well.
Send this principal's testimony on why she turned from being a supporter to an anti-common core advocate to your state senators and representatives.