Spooked big time by the reaction of New Yorkers to Commissioner John King, Massachusetts’ State Board of Education voted hours ago, to postpone their rush into Common Core…

Hmmm. Like maybe this thing isn’t so great after all… We’ll have moms … yelling at us and waving reports!

Massachusetts was always a curious one; why DID it sign up for Common Core?  It already had high standards. The best in the USA!… Why did it decide to water down what it had going to align itself with Common Core?

Money.  Or more specifically, Federal Money attached to Common Core and Race To The Top.  “Free money if you sign on” the Feds said, and during a Depression and tight budgets that appeal resonated.  Massachusetts succumbed, first eliciting the promise that Common Core tests were going to be better than those of the best tested state in the Union.

Massachusetts, listening to New York, just found out that isn’t so. And that changes the political equation in a big way.  When parents get upset their children are learning to read on how to put a fan together instead of Shakespeare, prepare for pitchforks.. The mob is coming.

Again. The problem is the test.  It always comes down to the test, doesn’t it?  The Massachusetts’ board wants to wait two years to study both tests before going forward.  Massachusetts will be using PARCC; Delaware will be testing the Smart Balanced Assessments this spring.

Massachusetts should know.  Their chairman, Commissioner Mitchell Chester, also is the chair the governing board for the PARCC consortium, and he is convinced that adopting the Common Core by the 2014–2015 deadline would cause Massachusetts “too precipitous a transition.”  As someone who knows both tests intimately, his opinion is valued, probably far more than that of any other commissioner.

Under the old Massachusetts’ system:

  • 90 percent of Massachusetts students passed their MCAS exams
  • SAT scores in the state rose for 13 consecutive years
  • Massachusetts students have led the nation in overall achievement for nearly every grade level.
  • Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in math and reading proficiency.
  • Massachusetts’s fourth- and eighth-grade students exceed the national average of students reaching proficiency by nearly 10 percentage points for both reading and mathematics.

Common Core says these are the results they will also bring.

However, one of the top educators from Massachusetts, who was invited to sit on the Common Core formation committee, who then resigned when she saw the direction Common Core was taking,  said something that was rather profound…..

Here is why Common Core will NEVER raise test scores compared to those programs already raising them on a state by state basis.

“[Common Core’s] misplaced stress on informational texts reflects the limited expertise of Common Core’s architects and sponsoring organizations in curriculum and in teacher’s training.… A diminished emphasis on literature in secondary grades makes it unlikely that American students will study a meaningful range of culturally and historically significant literary works before graduation….”

Common Core proponents say: “Yeah? So What? Who needs that crappy English Literature crap anyway?  It don’t do no good!”

And that is why Common Core can not win, or become the preferred teaching method in American schools…

If you truly teach a child to read the great works of literature, when necessary they can read an instruction booklet on how to put a fan together…. “Put  screws marked “A” into holes marked… A”.   But if you only teach children how to read instructional manuals, when it comes time to read literature, they can’t….

They’ll say:  “Who needs that crappy English Literature crap anyway?  It don’t do no good!”

 

 

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