Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Times Talks Common Core

The Times has an article about Common Core and why it's no big deal in Washington State. (The article is not in their education blog and I truly get mixed up about the difference between their ed blog stories and their education section stories. But I digress.)

They ask a bunch of the usual suspects about CC but they don't do two big things.

1) They don't really explain why there is so much pushback throughout the country. 
2) They don't have a SINGLE person with a quote on why they don't like it.  Almost as if they don't exist in our state.  (You can Google - Washington State Common Core - and guess what you find?  Stop Common Core in Washington State.)

The Times also doesn't mention the bill numbers for the bills introduced to eliminate the use of Common Core in Washington State - that would be HB 2165 and SB 6030.  The House bill has 20 sponsors and the Senate bill has seven.   Most are Republicans but yes, a few Dems in there.

The Times' take - from the quotes they do have - is that McCleary is sucking all the air out of any public ed discussion.  That's somewhat plausible but again, if you don't even try to find people against Common Core, it's a little suspicious.

From the article:

Two national groups of schools chiefs and governors coordinated the writing of the standards hoping, in part, to encourage teachers to help students do more critical thinking and problem solving. 

Makes CC sound absolutely beign, no?  (And, of course, no mention that it was Daddy Warbucks (Bill Gates) who funded the creation of CC.

Then, of course, there are those who want to entirely throw readers off:

“Once folks read the actual standards, it’s a bit of an ‘emperor has no clothes’ moment,” said Rep. Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah, in an email.  

Again, just read the standards and you'll know everything you need to about CC.  I'm sure Rep. Magendanz, an ed reformer, would love for that to be the case. 

The contrast becomes clear here:

Both the far left and far right, he said, have found common ground in opposing the Common Core. That alliance has made Washington moderates in both parties wary of the anti-Common Core message, he said, and as a result, the political center here hasn’t been swayed by the arguments.

In this state, both political parties have voted to condemn the standards — the state Republicans last year, and the state Democrats last month.

But their arguments don’t appear to have resonated with most elected officials.

So the parties are listening to the discussion and people from the far ends of the parties are listening to the discussion but not elected officials.  You have to wonder why that is but alas, the article doesn't question that issue.

Superintendent Randy Dorn puts all in easy-to-understand language:  higher standards and money.

“Many legislators have kind of taken a look at the Common Core, and (said), ‘OK, the reason for doing this is to have higher expectations for all children,’ ” Dorn said. “That’s it.”

Scrapping the standards and tests now, he said, would waste millions of dollars and all the time teachers have put into reorganizing their lessons to prepare students for them.

If only it was all that simple.

Most of the comments are around, "Why are standards bad?" and, of course, they are not.  But what's behind the curtain?  Not so good. 

I suppose all we have to do is wait and see because Washington State hasn't had its own personal experience with testing.  

I think there might be a different story then.


Carolyn Leith said...

Learn more about Common Core, starting next week, at the following locations in and around the Seattle area.

J.R. Wilson will be presenting “Common Core State Standards: What are they and why should I care?”

February 25th
6-7:45 PM
Northgate Library
10548 Fifth Ave. N.E.
Seattle, WA 98125

March 3rd
6-7:45 PM
Queen Anne Library
400 W. Garfield ST
Seattle, WA 98119

March 9th
6-8:30 PM
Federal Way Library
34200 1st Way South
Federal Way, WA 98003

March 16th
6-7:45 PM
Douglas-Truth Library
2300 E. Yesler Way
Seattle, WA 98122

To learn more visit:
Exceptional presentation: “Common Core State Standards: What are they and why should I care?”

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks, Carolyn!

Melissa Westbrook said...

And by the way, to the best of my memory, I don't know that SPS ever did any of these evenings.

Anonymous said...

OSPI did a couple of "informational" meetings about Common Core. They were purportedly set up to provide information and public input before CCSS was adopted by WA State. Upon attending one of these meetings, it was clear the adoption of CCSS - and SBAC- was a done deal without public input. Then OSPI started their slimy hiring of teachers to be social media CCSS ambassadors, the state PTA shut down any naysayers by saying how wonderful it would be to have national standards so families could move and be the same no matter where they went, the billionaires and their purchased politicans sung the praises of CCSS and the "new breed" of computer adaptive tests (SBAC), and that was that.


Mark Ahlness said...

This was an appalling article for so many reasons and on so many levels.

Await 2016 said...

The majority of parents are unaware of the controversy surrounding CCSS. Their children will take SBAC and next year will be another story.

Anonymous said...

Common core or Smarter balanced is a money drain. With McCleary and the need to provide basic education, dropping expensive testing is an easy judicial mandate. Data collection is not basic education, it is burning taxpayer money.


Anonymous said...

Here is a speech about SPED and testing by last year's national teacher of the year including her resignation.


Anonymous said...

NEmom, that link is a blog post that includes a fundamental error --- it states that "while [students with disabilities] are normally allowed to have helps for their disability (like having the test read aloud), they are not allowed any such thing with PARCC."

PARCC provides accommodations for students with disabilities: PARCC Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Hi swk,
Thanks for pointing out the error in that teacher's talk. I'm not in the know, but I found the test samples to be horrendous for people who are struggling to keep up.

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