Thursday, September 03, 2015

Common Core Cracking like an egg in NY State

Cracks in the Common Core push starting to get bigger.  Statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York State (bold mine):

“There has been an ongoing discussion about Common Core Standards nationwide, and in this state as well. I have said repeatedly my position is that while I agree with the goal of Common Core Standards, I believe the implementation by the State Education Department (SED) has been deeply flawed. The more time goes on, the more I am convinced of this position.
“A growing chorus of experts have questioned the intelligence of SED’s Common Core program and objective educators across the state have found the implementation problematic, to say the least. The new Commissioner of Education has inherited this problem and I understand has been meeting with parents, educators and students, and has heard the same concerns. Recently, SED has made comments about organized efforts to have parents choose to opt out of standardized tests. While I understand the issue and SED’s valid concern, I sympathize with the frustration of the parents.
“We must have standards for New York’s students, but those standards will only work if people – especially parents – have faith in them and in their ability to educate our children. The current Common Core program does not do that. It must.
“The fact is that the current Common Core program in New York is not working, and must be fixed. To that end, the time has come for a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Common Core Standards, curriculum, guidance and tests in order to address local concerns. I am taking this action not because I don’t believe in standards, but because I do.
“In the past, I employed an Education Commission to make substantive, unbiased recommendations on reforms to our education system. It has worked very well. I will ask a representative group from that Commission, including education experts, teachers, parents, the Commissioner of Education and legislative representatives to review the issues raised above and provide recommendations in time for my State of the State Address in January.”


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa Westbrook said...

Anonymous, first I'm going to be nice and reprint your comment but NO anonymous comments.

"This issue is confusing. When people object to common core, are they really objecting to standardized testing? Or to the common core standards themselves? Does common core somehow lead to a worse form of standardized testing? Would standardized testing suddenly be OK if common core was abolished? Are common core standards badly designed and other standards would be fine? Or is this fuss about not having any tick-box standards imposed from above?

Or is common core a straw man target for anger at something totally different, such as the basic premises of "no child left behind" policy?"

I actually don't have time to answer your question but there are many threads here on the subject. I will try to get you basic answers tomorrow but no, it's not objecting to testing (but they are connected).

outsider said...

Sorry to bother. Some threads here have lots of anonymous comments, and it's not obvious where they are forbidden.

Anonymous said...

I personally am in favor of common core standards. We should have nationwide standards in our schools.

I am opposed to punitive No Child Left Behind. I am opposed to poorly designed, overly burdensome, overly costly, overly complex, tests with useless data returned. I am opposed to reducing instruction to accommodate excessive testing. I am opposed spending educational dollars on technology instead of teachers. I am opposed to assuming that college and career readiness are the same thing and that both should be the standard for all high school graduation. I believe that common core does not address the intellectual diversity of productive adults that our nation harbors. I believe common core needs to be changed to meet developmental appropriateness in early grades. I am opposed to common core being used as an excuse to stop teaching those significantly ahead or behind the age normed learning curve. I am opposed to common core standards being used as a tool for profiteering, and privatizing basic education. You are right. There is no check box for that.

West Seattle Parent

Anonymous said...

Prediction: The NY commission will review the Common Core and either keep them as is or they will rename them but still keep them as is.

NY will drop out of PARCC and create their own test (but will still be a test of the Commn Core). AIR will probably create their new test for them just like they did for Ohio and Florida.

Citizen Kane

Patrick said...

West Seattle Parent, I agree with your concerns about common core, but I can't even favor any nationwide standard.

I am concerned about the secretive adoption process. I am concerned about a single nationwide standard that applies to everyone whether their aspirations are to be a brain surgeon or to work as a clerk. I am concerned about states that don't want their children learning that the United States ever did anything wrong, or that the world existed prior to 4004 BC having a say in the standards. I don't believe one set of standards can possibly work for everyone. Any such attempt would be a waste of time and effort.

Outsider said...

I am also a West Seattle parent of a soon to be first grader, and the flap about common core is honestly puzzling. I fear the contemporary schools won’t serve my child well, but neither common core nor standardized testing seem to be causal factors. They are more like symptoms. I wonder why they are the pi├▒atas that everyone beats on. Clear thinking requires clear language, but the language used to discuss these issues seems to be stunted and distorted in such bizarre ways that it’s strangely difficult to explain even what common core opponents are really opposed to.
As a set of aspirational tickbox standards, the common core seems like more or less what you would expect. If you locked a random group of experienced teachers in a rubber room with orders to design a set of tickbox standards, the result would probably be like common core. Personally, I think federally mandated tickbox standards are a net negative, but not enough to explain the vitriolic opposition. So why the fuss? Here is my guess:
1) Common core is a vehicle for old fashioned corruption. Politicians and bureaucrats love changes in standards because each change brings a new round of cash and favors from crony-capitalist publishers and test vendors seeking to sell their wares. A lot of “education” spending is a racket, and participants would be happy to “raise” standards once per election cycle forever. That explains how the new SBA tests can be (as described by others) so comically bad despite decades of experience with standardized tests. Among insiders, the fight over common core is largely a fight over whether the district, state capital, or Washington DC will be the locus of crony-capitalist cash and favors.
2) It’s ridiculous to think that all students can meet common core standards, and pretending that they could has made the schools dysfunctional. Students fall into a some sort of bell curve in terms of fondness and aptitude for book learning. Tickbox standards can be fudged to some extent, but I doubt more than half of students could truly meet the common core standards as written. The pretense that all students could meet the standards is maintained by an awkward alliance of the globalist 1% and the PC left. The globalist 1% uses it as a blame-the-victim strategy for explaining why the middle class is disappearing. It’s not that all the jobs were shipped overseas; it’s because the schools failed to teach common core; and the answer is to raise standards for the 43rd time (and generate more profits for private equity investors in testing and charter schools.) The PC left, meanwhile, doesn’t want to admit that any inequality could exist that is not product of social conspiracy.
So when people complain about common core, maybe they are really complaining about dysfunction in the schools caused by “no child left behind” but they can’t say so in plain words because it would transgress PC boundaries.

Anonymous said...

Outsider, you are right in many ways. I know many productive, hard-working, thoughtful citizens, who have built sustaining careers, who would never have passed an SAT. They would never be deemed college ready. I also have met many college graduates who lack nearly all practical knowledge in their career field, and lack basic job skills, such as punctuality, listening and note taking, clear speech and written communication, or critical thought. These folks were college ready, and graduated, but they are not yet career ready. To have standards at all, means that some students will be left behind. It is pure political puffery to say no child will be left behind educational standards.

I hope we can change the discussion to finding ways to exceed standards as much as possible for as many as possible, to leaving as few as possible behind standards, and moving as close to the standard as possible for those that are behind. Making high school graduation standards elitist because of political babble hurts us all. We still have a duty to educate all our citizens. I am already paying a ton of property taxes to do it.

West Seattle Parent