Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Truth About Stand for Children and Common Core

This article in the Lafayette Advertiser tells us that a group (Stand for Children) has set up a website to tell the public the 'truth' about the Common Core. Make no mistake about it, Stand for Children is just a highly paid “front” group that was put in place and funded lavishly by the Gates Foundation and several other corporate reformer groups to promote Common Core without regard to the truth. Stand for Children exists simply to do the bidding of John White, Jindal and the privatizers of public education. Be sure to read the comments by readers at the end of the article giving the funding sources and contributions to for Stand for Children.

In the news story John White is quoted as saying that “What's in place are Louisiana standards, and the state ranks at or near the bottom when compared to the rest of the country.” In this statement White ignores the fact that those same Louisiana standards were rated second from the top of the 50 states in 2012 by a survey called “Quality Counts” which was published in Education Week magazine. At that time our LDOE hailed the Quality Counts rating as an indication that Louisiana education was on the right track. How is it that all of a sudden our standards are no good?

You see White is purposely feeding the myth that Louisiana has low standards for our students and that if we would just adopt the “rigorous” Common Core standards, our students would magically start performing much better. As I pointed out in a previous post, the high standards in Louisiana have made very little difference in how Louisiana students perform. The hard work of our teachers has produced steady progress in our students' performance on LEAP and iLEAP, but our students are still held back by the fact that Louisiana is second only to Mississippi in rate of student poverty. Not coincidentally, Louisiana also rates just above Mississippi in student performance on the NAEP test. By the way, it is also not correct to state that we need PARCC because we need a way of comparing our students to other states. The NAEP test has been doing exactly that for years. It seems that all the reasons for adopting CCSS and PARCC are bogus, and that Stand for Children exists only to sell us on the reformer agenda.

Don't you get tired of the lie by White and his supporters like Stand For Children telling us that the new standards will "empower" teachers to teach the way they really want to teach. That's a slap in the face of the teachers of Louisiana who have been systematically strtipped of their power and dignity as teachers by all the Jindal deforms. This CCSS further handcuffs teachers and their students to the new PARCC tests. 

What is the real truth about CCSS? The CCSS standards were developed by non-classroom teachers who apparently did not know how to set standards for early childhood education and for students with disabilities. In addition, the standards require methods of teaching math and ELA that are not practical and that will not work effectively in classrooms. The standards were never field tested to determine their quality or to correct errors. The result will be that Louisiana students, just like students in New York and Kentucky will struggle and be frustrated by the PARCC tests. John White's policy of using a lower cut score for Louisiana students will not fool anyone about their performance on these tests. The truth is that the CCSS are a failure, not our students. Why should our students and our schools be punished for the mistakes of the CCSS designers?