Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's Starting To Work

Another veteran public school teacher has left her profession in despair over Common Core State Standards and the high stakes standardized tests that are increasingly coming to dominate the lives of her students. This is not big news, of course, veteran teachers are quitting their jobs every day over this. Indeed, it has become something of an epidemic as demoralized teachers walk away from their profession. The reason I'm writing about this teacher is that her heartfelt resignation letter made the pages of the Washington Post, which then landed her on NBC's Today show and elsewhere, bringing much needed national attention to the ongoing Common Core train wreck that is currently underway in our public schools. 

I tried to embed the video here, but failed, so you'll have to visit the Today website to see it, but what I saw was the kind of teacher that I'd want for my child: dedicated and committed, a woman who is clearly in the profession for the right reasons, unlike the "lazy union teacher" meme being sold by the corporate "drill-and-kill" education reform crowd, the folks pushing for both Common Core and high stakes testing, with the endgame of the complete privatization of public schools. And speaking of these folks, you will notice that the piece finishes on an interview with the infamous Michelle Rhee, the Teach for America poster child who failed upward as a teacher to become the head of the Washington DC public schools where she again failed upward, leaving a district in scandal, but not before being adopted by the "reformers" as their spokesperson. It's aggravating to watch her twist data and pretend that she isn't one of the nation's leading proponents of the very high stakes testing that is gutting our schools of experienced teachers, outraging parents, and reducing children to tears. It's encouraging to see Matt Lauer pin her down when she tries to fear monger with the tired "jobs of tomorrow" canard, while pointing out that visitors to the Today show Facebook page are against high stakes standardized testing to the tune of 5,692 to 41.

I try to keep up with what's going on in the Common Core debate, but honestly, and encouragingly, it's been almost impossible these past few weeks. The word is getting out, parents, teachers, and even students are getting mad, and they aren't taking it lying down.

We continue to see stories like this one from The Daily Caller about the plague of confusing, obtuse questions found on Common Core tests and worksheets. If you want to see more, check out this article.

Of course, we have also learned in the past few weeks that the very fact that these questions have seen the light of day is probably against the law as teachers are forbidden to discuss or in any way disseminate the contents to these copyrighted tests, a restriction that probably prevents teachers from legally even discussing specific questions among themselves. Teaching is a collaborative process: how can they do their jobs under this sort of gag order? It's outrageous that no one, not parents or taxpayers, are allowed to see the contents of tests being used in public schools. On the flip side, the corporations who created these tests are permitted to collect, manipulate and sell the data generated by our children unfettered.

But more importantly, we are increasingly learning about the nasty business of how Common Core was developed in the first place. In this incredible piece that originally appeared on Huffington Post (I've stopped linking to HP because it has so many moving parts that it tends to seize-up my computer), researcher and historian Diane Ravtich explains how the Gates Foundation and the rest of the Common Core State Standards developers violated every one of the globally accepted principles for professional standards development.

And speaking of Bill Gates, the North Denver News is reporting that a Georgia State University professor has estimated that the famous education dilettante, buggy software developer, and venture philanthropist has spent upwards of $2.3 billion on the creation and implementation of Common Core.

And, of course, most tragically of all, actual children continue to be reduced to tears by the cruelty of these developmentally and pedagogically inappropriate tests and curriculum, an idea hatched secretly, in back rooms by billionaires and politicians without the input of teachers, parents, or taxpayers.

It's time for Congressional hearings on Common Core.

It's hard and slow, but our pushback is starting to work.

I put a lot of time and effort into this blog. If you'd like to support me please consider a small contribution to the cause. Thank you!
Bookmark and Share

1 comment:

Heather Ruppel said...

I saw the exact same story and I was so mad after seeing it, yet happy to see so many were against the testing. I am hearing more and more stories like this as well. The last line is what killed me..."I didn't feel like I left my job, I feel like my job left me."

I was just going over some math work with my Kindergartner this afternoon, noticing how he was interpreting pictures on the pages differently than if they were real objects in front of him because of the way they were drawn. I use real objects with him at home to help him better understand, but even I could see why he was answering them wrong. I decided to look ahead a chapter and it discusses weight...on a worksheet using drawn photos of objects! I just hope that they are using real objects in his class when they go over this material because I imagine many 6 year olds who will not be able to tell you if a paint brush or a stapler is heavier unless they were holding them in their hands. I know I won't be following that chapter by page, it will be hands on at our house.