And that is a good thing.
The source is the newest Thomas B. Fordham Institute study, which receives money from the Gate’s Foundation. But what they think is bad, is actually a good sign for American education in general.
They found that teachers are still teaching to each individual student’s standards, and not to the grade standards as prescribed by Common Core.
The curriculum is constant and children must rise to the bar if they wish to succeed, for the bar will not lower. Nor will it bend.
Whereas that concept might work for Harvard Law School, it is the wrong approach for tiny children learning the principals of addition for the first time.
The report chides teachers who instinctively know it, and instinctively follow their own impulses, which is to teach. If the child doesn’t get it the first time, they try various other means until the see the dawn of realization glowingly spread across that child’s face. Common Core frowns on such.
Yet this is what we need more of.
The report itself is a damning document against Common Core, even thought it was intended (pumped full of Gate’s money) tp promote it.
Here are some quotes….
“These results reveal that many teachers have not confronted the new text complexity demands of the Common Core. Elementary teachers were particularly wary of assigning books that exceeded their students’ current reading levels,” say the report’s three authors”
“Even in high school relatively large proportions of students were assigned texts based mainly on their current reading levels,” the researchers write. “This was true both when teachers were assigning a single text to a class and when they were making independent reading recommendations.”
The study also looked at how much teachers focus on teaching “a text” versus on how much focus was placed on teaching “a set of skills”. Again, the patterns didn’t dovetail with the Common Core standards’ vision consisting of “detailed, repeated readings of difficult texts.”
Paraphrased, the “Bill Gates Approach” to education is: that if you set children down and give them a book of Chinese characters, they will learn Chinese. The harder one makes the book; the more Chinese they will learn. When put in this perspective, such a concept is preposterous.
The teachers who have to live with these students understand that learning is done in steps. One has to learn one step and get it, before moving on to the next. Therefore one must teach to the level of that student….
So it appears that Common Core cannot even win the hearts and minds of those closest to the classroom: the teachers.
That even though teachers are being ordered to teach a curriculum sent down from above, the teacher who was called to teach, does just that, when the curriculum is too advanced for their children.
This is the next reform and is a good one for American education. That new reform will be to focus on the teachers, and give them the resources and independence to reach out to every student, and do what they were called to do… teach.
This Fordham study, pretty much, puts a dagger straight into the heart of Common Core. I don’t think even they realize the damage they have just caused this cause…. This study shows for the first time, that the ideals underlying Common Core are very different than the ideals every parent most likely has for their school aged child.
The survey specifically asked whether teachers chose particular books, short stories, essays or poems that they think students should read, and then focused instruction of skills and strategies around those readings, or whether they focused on skills, such as identifying the main idea or author’s purpose, and planned readings accordingly.
In elementary school, 73 percent of the teachers said they used skills as the focal point rather than text. Fifty-six percent of middle school teachers said the same, as did 46 percent of high school teachers.