Dear Commons Community,
Readers of this blog have seen postings criticizing the implementation of the Common Core curriculum in American public education. Distinctions were made that the Common Core in and of itself was not the problem but the rushed implementation and the tying of high-stakes testing to it as promulgated by the U.S. Department of Education, state education departments, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Sunday’s New York Times had an op-ed piece by David L. Kirp, professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America’s, Schools, taking the same position. Describing how Republicans, Democrats, parents, students, and teachers have expressed their “rage against the Common Core”, Kirp squarely puts the blame on the U.S. DOE.
“A Gallup poll found that while 76 percent of teachers favored nationwide academic standards for reading, writing and math, only 27 percent supported using tests to gauge students’ performance, and 9 percent favored making test scores a basis for evaluating teachers. Such antagonism is well founded — researchers have shown that measurements of the “value” teachers add, as determined by comparing test scores at the beginning and end of the year, are unreliable and biased against those who teach both low- and high-achieving students.
The Obama administration has only itself to blame. Most Democrats expected that equity would be the top education priority, with more money going to the poorest states, better teacher recruitment, more useful training and closer attention to the needs of the surging population of immigrant kids. Instead, the administration has emphasized high-stakes “accountability” and market-driven reforms. The Education Department has invested more than $370 million to develop the new standards and exams in math, reading and writing.”
Arne Duncan rubbed salt into the wounds of the issue by insulting white suburban parents when he
“… said that opposition to the Common Core standards had come from “white suburban moms who realize — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”
“Had the public schools been given breathing room, with a moratorium on high-stakes testing that prominent educators urged, resistance to the Common Core would most likely have been less fierce. But in states where the opposition is passionate and powerful, it will take a herculean effort to get the standards back on track.”
A wasted opportunity due to the rabid zealotry of the Duncan U.S.DOE.