Tag: reform

Opposition to the CCSS makes for strange bedfellows

As the debate over the Common Core State Standards has matured and become more public, I often find myself engaged in conversations about them. My problems with the CCSS center on their implementation, not their substance, as well as the way that implementation is being used as a tool by moneyed interests to profit as well as push their own educational agendas. In both online and face-to-face conversation, I’ve realized that there’s a whole other segment of people out there who object to the CCSS for entirely different reasons. Salon.com has a very nice article today that interviews someone who has been researching the opposition to the CCSS. I highly recommend reading the full article if you’re at all interested in understanding the political landscape in which we’re working. I will say that while I have issues with the CCSS, I’m uncomfortable allying myself with some of the arguments these people are making. In fact, I think that these arguments are actually dangerous for public school teachers because at the core of many of these people’s belief is a distrust of and even disdain for public education in general.

Louis C.K.: Educational Activist?

Let me preface this by saying I have very little issue with the substance of the Common Core State Standards. My main issue lies in the implementation of them as well as in how they’re being used as a tool by various interest groups with hidden (or not so hidden) agendas (profit).

For an example of a citizen parent with a substantial reach who is sounding the alarm on Big Testing, check out this series of tweets from one of the most popular comedians working today: Louis C.K. He’s been unhappy with the amount of test prep and testing his daughters have endured sense the rollout of CCSS.

 

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) April 28, 2014
A huge amount of my third graders time is spent preparing for and answering questions like this. pic.twitter.com/WU5tEo8JRO

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) April 28, 2014
This is one of my favorites. Also for third graders. Who is writig these? And why? pic.twitter.com/xUBVIxE6WU

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) April 28, 2014
Look at 4 of part a. And the point isn’t that it’s too hard. Just read #4. Please. pic.twitter.com/5bnUlaXG5b

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) April 28, 2014
“Why night you want each picture to stand for more than 1 balloon?” Yet again I must tell my kid “don’t answer it. It’s a bad question”

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) April 28, 2014
Sorry. I sit with my kids as they so their HW they devour knowledge. When it’s hard they step up. Their teachers are great

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) April 28, 2014
But it’s changed in recent years. It’s all about these tests. It feels like a dark time. And nothing is going in anymore.

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) April 28, 2014
It’s this massive stressball that hangs over the whole school. The kids teachers trying to adapt to these badly written notions.

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) April 28, 2014
these questions btw were not written by her teacher. they were on a standardized test. written by pearson or whoever the hell

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) April 29, 2014
Okay I’m done. This is just one dumb, fat parent’s POV. I’m pissed because I love NYC public schools. mice, lice and all.

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) May 1, 2014
Kids teachers parents are vocally suffering. Doesnt that matter? listen to them. Adapt and slow down CCSS. Cool it with the testing

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) May 1, 2014
CCSS. It’s a new program. why defend it aS perfect? Why let poor test writers profit and tell parents and teachers they are “wrong”.

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) May 1, 2014
It’s arrogant and hurts the goals of CCSS. CCSS is not perfect. You want to teach kids to think and reason. Try it yourself first.

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) May 1, 2014
1st step to learn: Amit you’re wrong. Listen improve your understanding. Let teachers decide how to guide kids to these new ideas

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) May 1, 2014
Teachers are underpaid. They teach for the love of it. Let them find the good in cc without the testing guns to their and our kids heads.

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) May 1, 2014
I trust a teacher over Pearson or bill hates any day of the week. Don’t all be so defensive and don’t be such bullies.

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) May 1, 2014
Everything important is worth doing carefully. None of this feels careful to me.

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) May 1, 2014
The test are written to CCSS standards. The teachers are forced to deliver high scores to those tests. Why pretend that cc has zero fault?

— Louis C.K. (@louisck) May 1, 2014
Lastly these are my views as a parent. I’m sure I’m wrong about some of it. Does that mean you’re wrong about none o it? Peace.

 

Cutting arts and boiling frogs

Edusanity has a great writeup on the recent debacle involving an elementary in New York cancelling their kindergarten end of year musical performance to clear out time for more “professional” pursuits aimed at “college and career readiness.” In all honesty, my initial reaction to this news story was that the principal was a brilliant agent provocateur in the fight against the testing movement. What better way to attract attention to the sacrifices our children are making to the altar of Big Testing than this ridiculous decision? By pushing the gradual progression to its eventual conclusion so quickly, maybe the proverbial frog will take notice and jump from the pan instead of sitting in the gradually warming pot and getting boiled to death?

After some reflection, I reconsidered. We’ve already sacrificed recess; my children get around 15 minutes a day at their elementary. Music, art, and physical education are on a rotating basis at their school, getting one of the three a day. I’m not criticizing their teachers or school or district, as I’m they all do a wonderful job with the task their given (don’t hate the player, hate the game). Regardless, it’s clear that the water is getting hotter and hotter. With decisions like the one in New York, maybe the public will insist that the recipe be changed.