Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Common Core Kool-Aid

Rick Hess, an EdWeek blogger with whom I have not always agreed, writes this week regarding the lack of substance behind the Common Core reformers' intentions and goals, breaking down their agenda and poking big, gaping holes in it.

Common Core may not seem like much if you aren't in education. Even if you have kids in school, you may have no idea at all what the hubbub is.

I can boil it down for you: money and politics. These two things make the world of ed reform go round and prevent any real, substantive reform from taking place. But I digress.

What Hess points out in the blog above is that the standards themselves guarantee nothing. Supporters tout "more critical thinking" and "higher, uniform standards" as key features; the former is unproven, and the latter is necessary because of the transient population in the US, something that we should address at the root before slapping a standard on it (as in, why are people moving around so much and how do we get a more settled population, which is better for kids and families and communities? But again, I digress).

The Common Core Emperor has no clothes to speak of in the sense that standards do not improve teaching - teachers and teacher training improve teaching. Changed mindset improves teaching. Understanding the purpose of education improves teaching.

This country is looking at the surface of the problems in education and slapping a standard on it. We need to change the way we think about education and the way instruction is delivered (I am not a fan of packaged online curriculum either, and the push for online learning is not what I am talking about). We are thirsty for real change, and Common Core hands us a glass of saltwater - wet, but ultimately damaging.

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