Sunday, June 09, 2013

NYT Posts Anti-Common Core Op-Ed

There's much in here to like:

By definition, America has never had a national education policy; this has indeed contributed to our country’s ambivalence on the subject. As it stands, the Common Core is currently getting hit mainly from the right. Tea Party-like groups have been gaining traction in opposition to the program, arguing that it is another intrusion into the lives of ordinary Americans by a faceless elite. While we don’t often agree with the Tea Party, we’ve concluded that there’s more than a grain of truth to their concerns.

The anxiety that drives this criticism comes from the fact that a radical curriculum — one that has the potential to affect more than 50 million children and their parents — was introduced with hardly any public discussion. Americans know more about the events in Benghazi than they do about the Common Core...

For all its impact, the Common Core is essentially an invisible empire. It doesn’t have a public office, a board of directors or a salaried staff. Its Web site lists neither a postal address nor a telephone number...

The Common Core is not oblique in its aim: to instill “college and career readiness” in every American teenager — in theory, a highly democratic ideal. In the past, students were unabashedly tracked, which usually placed middle-class students in academic courses and their working-class peers in vocational programs. New York City had high schools for cooking, printing and needle trades. (There was even one in Brooklyn called Manual Training.) Indeed, the aim of these schools was to prepare a slice of society for blue-collar life. Since the 1960s, this has been seen as undemocratic. Today, students are typically required to take algebra, so they will have more options upon graduation (should they graduate). The irony — and tragedy — is that students who don’t surmount these hurdles now fall even further...

The answer is simple. “College and career skills are the same,” Ken Wagner, New York State’s associate commissioner of education for curriculum, assessment and educational technology, told us. The presumption is that the kind of “critical thinking” taught in classrooms — and tested by the Common Core — improves job performance, whether it’s driving a bus or performing neurosurgery. But Anthony Carnevale, the director of Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce, calls the Common Core a “one-size-fits-all pathway governed by abstract academic content.”

Anyone who tries to tell you that "college ready is career ready" is too stupid, or too rabid, to spend any more time with.   The statement is stupid on its face, in addition to being demonstrably wrong.  Back to the article:
IN sum, the Common Core takes as its model schools from which most students go on to selective colleges. Is this really a level playing field? Or has the game been so prearranged that many, if not most, of the players will fail? 
And my good friend Diane Ravitch won't be happy until every teacher is free to do as he or she wishes, with no oversight whatsoever:
For Diane Ravitch, a historian of education and former assistant education secretary, the program is predicated on “the idea that you can’t trust teachers.” If we want our children taught from standardized scripts, she told us, let’s say so and accept the consequences. 
She and I agree that Common Core is bad, but for entirely different reasons.


Barry Garelick said...

I guess Andrew Hacker, one of the authors of the op-ed, had to make up for his disgraceful article in the NY Times last year, questioning whether algebra was necessary as a topic for all students.

Darren said...

I didn't catch that it was the same guy. Doh!