Friday, February 21, 2014

Report on Common Core Forum

I attended the anti Common Core forum in Baton Rouge last night. The forum sponsored by Parents Concerned About Common Core drew a packed audience at the Crossfire Auditorium. There were parents from the metropolitan Baton Rouge area with others coming from as far as Lafayette, Mandeville and New Orleans. This is definitely a purely parent led movement. The supporters of CCSS cannot blame the teacher unions for this one.

Several of the forum presenters had impressive credentials and did a good job of pointing out glaring flaws in the Common Core State Standards. The presenters explained that the standards were developed by a self appointed group of academic elitists and testing company representatives and did not include any significant involvement of regular classroom teachers.

My opinion as an educator, is that the lack of field testing of the standards, the inappropriateness of many of the standards for the lower grades, and the poor and obscure wording of many of the standards will cause major problems in Louisiana if we continue with the present plan for implementation. For example, in New York, the standards so far, have resulted in a huge failure rate, a widening of the achievement gap between affluent and non-affluent students, and a demoralization of the teaching profession. This is the opposite of what it has been advertised to do.

One of the presenters pointed out how the wording of many of the standards ended up being needlessly obscure and jargon ridden. The second grade standard for range of reading is stated as follows: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL 2.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories and poetry, in the grades 2-3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. The presenter translated the edu-jargon by restating the standard as follows: “By the end of the second grade students will read and understand second grade level literature with extra help by the teacher for the more difficult material.” I have to admit that even with my extensive experience in education I had not yet figured out what that “scaffolding” terminology meant. The presenter pointed out that the standards are obscured by pretentious, nonsensical wording and often include a complex mix of skills instead of discrete skills.

Parents attending the forum were understandably concerned about the misuse of the extensive data being collected and sent to the USDOE in conjunction with the CCSS. Parents do not want their child's data shared with potential future employers and others who may want to profit from selling educational services. The FERPA privacy laws were changed recently to allow sharing of student data with numerous groups without permission of the parents. Generally parents do not want “big government” taking over the decision making about the education of their children. They want to retain most of the decision making with their elected school board members. Parents are particularly wary of political or social philosophy being infused into the curriculum by unelected bureaucrats and testing companies.

I also believe that many of the big companies like Exon-Mobil and the Chamber of Commerce have no idea what is in the standards. They simply have been assured by the Gates Foundation and the testing and educational services conglomerates who stand to make billions from this revision, that this will better prepare young American workers to meet the human capitol needs of industry. Unfortunately there is no evidence that any of this will happen. This is just one giant experiment with our nation's children.


Mary E. said...

Michael, from one educator to another, let's talk. I would love to have you as a guest on my radio show. Please email at your convenience!

Bret said...

Thank you for your synopsis...I was unable to attend, but desperately wanted to. Being tired from working all day and having a family crisis prevented me from attending. If it would have been one or the other, I would have said hello. Thank you for sticking to your goals of helping turn the rudder on this ed reform ship...while the teachers are on deck trying to take care of the kids, you are helping manually, under the water line (of retirement), by trying to turn the rudders...John White and his band of idiots are leading us into an iceberg zone using the steering wheel.

Bridget said...

Thanks for keeping us informed. We need to remember that our most important role now is to contact our legislators to make sure they know our concerns and hold them accountable for their part in this fiasco. They are the key to taking back our public education system and to putting it back into the hands of parents, educators, and taxpayers who are the ultimate stakeholders that matter. Big business may fund these deforms, but voters need to remind legislators who they really serve. It only takes a minute to send an email to our legislators. There is no excuse not to have your voice heard.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the time and energy you put in to keep us informed. Also, as Briget, said contacting our legislators is so important. Tom Aswell on his blog LouisianaVoice, published ALL the contact info for all our legislators here (you scroll to the bottom of the topic):

Anonymous said...

Communist Core is NOT about is about Control. Once Communist Core is 'adopted' and fully embedded in all schools, the Socialists and Educrats in Washington D.C. will morph it into what THEY think YOUR children SHOULD learn...Socialism. Communism.

Once fully implemented, The intent of the Common Core is to put all tests on Computers. This way your child can be more easily tracked from Kindergarten to College. The Parents cannot see these tests, either before they are inflicted, or after the damage is done. They intend to leave no "paper trail" of their agenda. This will include information that is NOT education related, such as their Religion, clubs that include political and/or politically incorrect clubs, and input from 'Child psychologists' that only they approve. 'Minority' children will be given a different set of standards that is lower than whites. Common Core will lead to Federal Indoctrination, and reward their cronies to do it, and finance it with money they take from us.

Any business supporting Common Core is like a Chicken supporting Colonel Sanders.

The progressive (read Socialist) agenda of the Administration is pushing its Global Warming, minimum-wage, social welfare, social justice, and anti-capitalist propaganda on our Children. The Children of the Core will grow up believing this clap-trap, and when they graduate they will run out and vote to Nationalize the Oil companies, Energy companies, Transportation industry, and everything else they deem "Socially Unacceptable".

If Common Core Lives, Freedom Dies.

Mary E. said...

If all of this is true, then why isn't more being done to stop the father of this approach to educational cloning? It seems to me that the Prime Minister of education and all things "kool" in this country is a huge problem. Amazing that the very people who made their fortunes based upon freedom are stealing freedom from individuals. It is also shocking that a person who could not function in a mainstream educational system is creating one size fits all, and once again is monopolizing education as he attempted to monopolize computer systems. Wake up and smell the code.