Officially the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) had this to say about Common Core….
It says that the AFT will “continue to support the promise” of the common standards, “provided that a set of essential conditions, structures, and resources” is in place. Among other measures, the AFT will advocate that states create independent boards of teachers to monitor the implementation of the standards, and will support teachers’ having input into the “continuing development, implementation, evaluation, and as necessary, revision of the CCSS.”
Can we say… this was hotly debated? Why, yes,… we can.
The original proposal offered from the floor, was more like this….
It called for the national union to oppose the standards outright. But it went into committee and in the committee with a “certain” selection of committee members, the more watered version came out… The harsh original version was ranked at number seven and only the top three vote getters by AFT rules, get to be voted on by the delegates at large….
Stephen Sawchuk I think correctly calls it when he says the floor debate was volatile and views were dependent upon where they were from.
In other words in many states there is still a very large contingent of teachers who only now, just beginning to be given the message of Common Core and are enamored with its potential possibilities… Those who have run with Common Core, and who have directly experienced the anti-teacher broadsides beset on them by educational reformers, all tended to have the more militant stance. I think that is certainly understandable…
One can explain this by reverting to the historical record of implementing “No Child Left Behind”… That idea was credited with making enough soccer moms switch to Bush to give enough votes to win. After all, who could argue against not leaving children behind? But the sad reality turned out not to meet the promise. Standards were set, policies were implemented, and no money was given! Local school districts had to steal money from successful programs to fund NCLB mandates! Just like Common Core, had the implementation been rightly done with NCLB and funds poured upon the project like it was WWII, the results could have been successful. But overall, NCLB is considered by historians today, as being a huge major flop….
We are in the same spot with Common Core today… There are those enamored with its promise and ideals. After all, what could be wrong with having standards the same across the country? The answer is, if done right, nothing would be wrong with it… However there are those who are in Common Core, who know it is hurting children, and they are in fact, a complete different generational set of parents and teachers, who were the first to say that NCLB was not working out at all…. See a pattern?
This is how it is easily explainable to describe how some people (the unknowing) can be for Common Core, and how others (The Enlightened) can be almost militantly opposed… (Just as in the 2004-2005 time-frame, with NCLB)…
As in the past, when looking at the tea leaves you have to go with the word of those who are most affected by Common Core: children. Because they are children, their opinion gets expressed through teachers and parents… Common Core for whatever reason, for whomever’s fault, is hurting our children….
But it is not too late for Common Core. There are things that can be done today, which if done, will go a long way to improving the education to where we dream it should and can be…
1) Go with an 11:1 student teacher ratio in all k-5 schools where Free Lunch is over 50% and in all 9th grades.
2) Pay for that by raising taxes on the top 1% enough to cover the full cost.
3) Remover charter schools from school district funding, leaving all property tax assessments to go to public schools. Fund charters (as are vocational schools) with line items written into the state budget. Charters are a luxury for the privileged. Those low income students needing more attention should not have their allotted resources diverted over to those already privileged and receive less with which to do the harder job.
4) Let teachers teach. No forced curriculum sent from corporate curriculum developers.
5) Use the existing testing for the child’s developmental use only. Do not compromise the test’s legitimacy by attaching high stakes such as a school’s closure, principal’s career. or teacher’s job, to some arbitrary inane set of questions given on a random day.
Keeping Common Core within this framework would go a long way to making sure Common Core does not become the next “No Child Left Behind”, and itself, get left behind…. Otherwise as the AFT convention in LA shows, as more people discover its fallacies, that is exactly what will happen… It’s deterioration is progressive and next year the anger against it, will be far worse… just as happened to NCLB…. which some of you may remember, also once held such great promise.