Fact:  Common Core is skewered.

Evidence:  The Council of Chief State School Officers is now spinning that having only 26 states out of 50 still on Common Core as a great success.

All know at one point there were 45.  Now 26.  In Chris Minnich’s words:  “IF WE HAD SAID IN 2010 THAT WE WOULD HAVE 26 STATES PARTICIPATING IN WORKING TOGETHER ON ASSESSMENTS NO ONE WOULD HAVE PREDICTED THAT. WE HAD 50 STATES EACH WRITING THEIR OWN TEST AND SO I THINK 26 IS REAL PROGRESS.”

Immediately bringing up this question in any observer’s head:  if the prime idea of Common Core Standards was that it put all states on the same standard…. how does that translate to a success where 26 are on that standard and 24 are not? ”

Obviously the prime aim of Common Core, which was to enable us to compare the educational programs of one state against another, seems to now be bypassed.

What then were the secondary aims?

This is where things get fuzzy. We get all sorts of nice platitudes in answer to this question. Here are some:

  • Make kids learn
  • Make kids know what they need to know.
  • Make kids not have to pay for learning in college for what they should have gotten for free in high school.
  • Higher graduation rates.
  • Close achievement gaps for the poor, black, Hispanic, and non English speaking households.

That is mostly it.

The reality is that we are going to have roughly 50% of the states on this one program and 50% of the states that are not.

I say so be it. The states that want to go forward with Common Core in a gung-ho fashion, and have heavily invested in such, should probably not change horses in mid stream. We all know how turning the horse around at full speed suddenly upsets the apple cart. Likewise, those states that have to be dragged kicking and screaming towards Common Core, will probably not execute it well enough to make any difference in their children if they indeed were forced to comply; it could create more harm than good.

Then with this dichotomy… (and this is important)… WE can see how the children in the states not doing Common Core test on the NAEP compared to those children undergoing Common Core and test under the NAEP….

If Mississippi suddenly shows improvement quickly surpassing Delaware, then we know the problem is Common Core.  I cannot see how this dichotomy is bad for the country.  It may be bad for Delaware’s children if our governor proceeded down the less productive alternative, but in both ours and Mississippi’s scenarios, with both having dedicated teachers directly engaging the teaching processes, the amount of intellectual damage will be minimal through both our teachers’ abilities of compensate against whatever weaknesses either curriculum may expose, and any backwardness if necessary can be made up at college level.

Likewise, if the 26 Common Core consortium states after 3 years surprise us all by showing promising results as did Kentucky, then perhaps the problems of Common Core were overstated.

It is my opinion that Kentucky’s results are not so much due to the actual curriculum of Common Core, but instead belie the focus of effort its implementation forces teachers to teach around it. I’ve heard much more time of a teachers day there is spent on their class work and lesson planning, strictly because of the inadequacy of Common Core’s curriculum; far more than was done previously back in the olden days.  Explained thusly, if you were to give me a sentence written in gobblygook, I am going to translate that for my students so they can understand and I will take much more time out of my day in doing it.  It is the human effort behind the timely translation and interpretations of what Common Core is trying to do, which seems to be causing the promising results in Kentucky.

If it weren’t for Common Core, less effort (leading to less results) would be applied…

One of the reasons many states do not want to go forward with Common Core is because they do not see it as being state-led, but federally mandated.  As all here know, it is illegal for the Federal Government to meddle in curriculums. That is to be done on the local level by our existing laws.

If the Federal Government were to offer up another 300+ million for the other states to come up with their own educational consortium themselves, perhaps that action might save the brand Common Core from annihilation.

The real underlying question behind Common Core is this:  will it work?  We were given a liquid in a bottle, and told to take spoons of it until we felt results… Is it real medicine?  Or were we duped?  We have to wait for the results to find out.

Like a Doctor’s Gruel, if it does the trick, then we should take more of it.. If it makes us sick and does nothing to achieve betterment of our symptoms, then we need to say never again…

As for failing 70% of students, that needs to be explained better.  It needs to be explained as being nothing more than changing the grading system as we know it… Where 70% used to be a failure rate, we have moved that rate up to 85%. Your student is just as smart as they ever were, but now, 85% will be the new minimum passing level… That is all it is; that is all they are doing…

It is like if you are used to driving in miles and switch to kilometers.  Before you drove with your speedometer set on 60.  Now you drive with it set on 100… With your new speedometer, you are still going just as fast.

It all hinges on the test.  If the test is good, then we were wrong to slow it down.  But if it is bad and from the things we see it certainly looks that way, then the 24 states are right, and those 26 continuing forward with Common Core and the consortium test. are jeopardizing each one of their state’s students.

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