Monday, November 18, 2013

As Usual, Classroom Teachers Left Out on CCSS

Veteran Lafayette Parish educator Vincent Barras has written three important pieces about the new Common Core State Standards. All educators and parents should read both Mr Barras' blog by clicking here and also here, and his letter to the Baton Rouge Advocate titled Look Who Designed the Common Core, by clicking here.

Mr Barras is just the kind of classroom teacher we would all like to have teaching our child math. He understands how children learn math because he has taught it all his professional life and was himself inspired by a great math teacher. He is just the type of educator that should have been consulted on the elements of the Common Core. He is the kind of teacher who has a true love for his craft and who should have participated in the actual writing of the new standards.

The problem is that developers of the Common Core had apparently no interest in consulting real classroom educators. Mr Barras in his letter to the editor reveals the fact that the developers of CCSS were mostly far removed from the actual classroom. He also pointed out in an email to me that two distinguished members of the CCSS validation committee who have solid credentials in education practice have refused to sign on and have instead opposed the standards.

But the most insulting part of this for Louisiana classroom teachers is that our State Superintendent and BESE adopted the standards sight unseen (See the Crazy Crawfish blog) without consulting a single Louisiana classroom teacher. If parents wonder why such an impractical system could be used by Louisiana teachers to teach children in both public and many parochial schools, the answer is that teachers were never consulted and teachers were never given a choice!

As far as Superintendent John White, Governor Jindal and 9 of 11 members of BESE are concerned, teachers are just small cogs in the massive machinery of education reform. To paraphrase a famous quote, the teachers' job is not to question why, their job is to do or die! If that sounds a little too dramatic, just talk to any classroom teacher you know who is actually teaching the subjects that will be tested by the PARCC test (That is the test that is supposed to determine how well teachers have taught the Common Core). Ask also some of the many teachers who have retired early in the last two years because of strong disagreement with the Common Core and the new demands of teaching to the test. They correctly resent that their profession is being destroyed by non-educators like Jindal and White who have decided to "empower" teachers by letting them devise their own methods for teaching the test. There is no more real teaching (of basic skills) in Louisiana, there is only test teaching. That is how our leaders have honored and "empowered" the teaching profession in Louisiana. It also shows their lack of knowledge about and interest in how children really learn.

What teachers resent the most is that it is their students who will suffer most. They will definitely not get the education they deserve as they are experimented upon with the Common Core.  All I can ask of parents who read this blog, Mr Barras' blog and the Crazy Crawfish blog, is please support your child's teacher and all the educators who will have to struggle to fix this monstrosity! Please tell your legislator what you as a parent want and need for your child. The legislature is our only hope for truly correcting this problem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As teachers we still get targeted as the cause of all the problems. The public is horribly uninformed about how the schools really work and what is actually going on in the classroom. We have so many parent conferences with parents yelling at us for their child's grades, do-overs on work from months ago and "bonus" work to bring up grades due to lack of effort on the students part. Teachers struggle to do right by the kids but so many teachers are actually treated as problems if they do. Discipline is gone; PBIS only works with "good" kids with good parenting. The paper work is endless and all requires multiple documents of proof to get a disruptive student disciplined for things like-throwing anything that isn't tied down, yelling, stealing things from the teacher or other students, talking and playing so much others can't learn and a level of disrespect for the teacher and learning of others that is off the charts. You can try all the "interventions" you want, some kids are just ignoring it and when you call home, IF someone answers, you understand why. The schools tout Kagan as the way to solve all there is time to play games with a pacing guide that is a killer, observations that are depressing because you can never be highly effective, the knowledge that come Spring, and the arrival of the LEAP scores, and we don't know who will even have a job.
Administration still tells us no one will be fired and everyone will have a job.
What are they not telling us? No one trusts them anymore.
We all hang in there for multiple reasons, one of which is we enjoyed teaching and hope we get to do so again!