TRUE/FALSE: Teachers Love Common Core

This is a partial re-post of an article that repeats an oft heard claim by proponents of Common Core Standards that "many teachers like the CC and appreciate having a K-12 framework."

It is simply not good enough just to deny that claim.  I have heard it myself.

It is not pleasant to disparage fellow teachers,  but it is important to address the claims, to understand why some teachers may feel that way, and to address the problem by offering the continuous mentoring and professional development so important for ALL teachers throughout their careers.   Mentorship and professional development are huge missing links for too many school districts,  often lacking because THEY COST MONEY.

Teachers enter the classroom their first years with little to no transition or practice to face  the realities of managing +/-130 students in the course of each day. TRY IT!

Add to that responsibility the need to produce new lesson plans every day for every subject/grade level, and you have created a willing customer for a scripted curriculum.  Then consider the "social entrepreneurs" that Teach For America, The New Teacher Project, and a plethora of other federal and state taxpayer funded employment agencies are cranking out as instructors with five weeks of training.  They have created a huge "market" for publishers who can grow their profits by filling that desperate need for scripts with Common Core aligned books, software and lesson plans.  I get it!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/08/27/how-the-public-is-deceived-about-highly-qualified-teachers/

Standardization is the life blood of Common Core Standards with its standardized testing and the resulting standardized curriculum.  The problem is, of course, that all of our children will NEVER achieve standardization, otherwise referred to as average.  It is statistically impossible unless the new CC math provides us with a new way to calculate "average."

How does that support the theory of No Child Left Behind which mandated accountability via standardized testing?  In fact, it proves its abject failure.  Amazingly, U.S.Ed has now provided waivers from this failed mandate that all children will achieve proficiency (average) by 2015, by FURTHER promoting the standardization theory with more than just a mandate for states to devise their own accountability measures.  Now U.S.Ed is not only supporting the failed standardized testing regime but participating in the national institution of Common Standards, Common Curriculum AND yet another standardized testing initiative that will continue to contribute to and measure FAILURE.

Ironically,  at the same time that proponents of corporate style education reform are replacing the Profession of Teaching with an unqualified Teaching Corps, they are calling for raising requirements for entry into schools of education and claiming that degreed  and certified teachers need more rigorous certification requirements.  Yes - let's eliminate the need for professional degrees and certification and limit the opportunities for high school graduates to achieve a professional degree.  Then ALL "teachers" will not only appreciate the concept of standardization but will exemplify it!

Where do our students lie in this plan?

Here is the link to the entire article and an excerpt:


http://www.alternet.org/education/let-teachers-lead-common-core?akid=11473.1086139.PzHkiM&rd=1&src=newsletter954536&t=15

By: Jeff Bryant

Nevertheless, the anecdotal data showing support for the Common Core among educators continue to mount. It’s commonplace, for instance, to come across educators who firmly believe that the Common Core “is better than what we have now.” Numerous teachers have presented their own personal uses of the standards to craft better lessons for their students – even those for those students who are the most challenged by the standards.
Writing at her blogsite for Education Week, former Michigan Teacher of the Year Nancy Flanagan recently wrote, “In my work in professional development and teacher leadership, I meet teachers all the time who say they like the CC and appreciate having a K-12 framework. Most of them are young, and find the structure, if not each individual standard, useful … When teachers say they like the Common Core, I listen.”


Such teacher-led support for the Common Core is so pervasive it enabled the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teacher union, to recently unveil a $7 million free platform with more than 3,000 lessons aligned to the standards.
For sure, there are also plenty of anecdotes of highly scripted lessons based on the Common Core that treat teachers as “deliverers” of canned curriculum rather than as educators capable of tailoring learning to individual student needs.
But experienced teachers can discern the difference between the two – that is, if we give them the freedom to do so.
Writing at his blogsite, again, at Education Week, Upstate New York elementary principal Peter DeWitt argued a point that doubtlessly rings true with many educators: “I want to believe that the Common Core is like a textbook. They offer a base of what educators should focus on but they are not the only thing that educators should teach. They may offer a blueprint but you can build the way you want.”
What is “the problem,” DeWitt concluded, is when standards advocates want to lock in rigid expectations for children that cannot be standardized. “I understand that supporters of the Common Core will say that if all teachers in all schools around every state are teaching the same standards they won’t have to worry about children entering not meeting those expectations. But let’s face it, that argument is just plain silly. We know that not every student will meet those exit requirements and we know that not all students come in to the next grade (from the same school or another one) meeting those entrance requirements.” (emphasis original)
Is it beyond the capacity of Common Core advocates to unhitch their suspicions of teachers and trust them to do what’s right for children?
Back to Ravitch, “It is good to have standards,” she concluded in her speech. “But they must not be rigid, inflexible, and prescriptive. … There is something about the Common Core standards and testing, about their demand for uniformity and standardization, that reeks of early twentieth century factory-line thinking. There is something about them that feels obsolete. Today, most sectors of our economy have standards that are open-sourced and flexible, that rely upon the wisdom of practitioners, that are constantly updated and improved.”

So yes, advocates for Common core should be advocates to give teachers that flexibility with the Common Core, and see what they do. Any other approach to Common Core just seems like No Child Left Behind all over again.

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