Bill Gates Must Be Worried About Common Core Survival
Forget the students and teachers. It’s The Standards that the likes of Gates and Duncan wish to rescue.
Gates/Scholastic CCSS Survey Result “Early Release”
In order to promote the image of CCSS as being embraced by teachers, Gates has partnered with Scholastic to produce the 2013 version of Gates education survey, Primary Sources. Even though the survey isn’t ready yet for release, Gates has decided to publish an “early release”, a report based upon the part of the survey focused on teachers’ views of CCSS.
Of course, this early release presents positive results:
Teachers support CCSS.
Never mind that Gates’ partner in this survey project, Scholastic, has taken $4.5 million from Gates to “support teachers’ implementation of the Common Core State Standards in mathematics.”
If CCSS goes bust, Scholastic loses money.
In releasing a partial survey result, Gates is clearly attempting to rally support for CCSS. I mean, it sure does sound good to say, “We surveyed 20,000 teachers nationwide, and they know about and want CCSS.”
I do not normally write posts based upon partial survey results. Releasing a partial result bespeaks an agenda to speedily influence an issue. I like to see the entire result then write.
Nevertheless, since I know that Gates wants to sway public opinion in favor of CCSS (he has given me 173.5 million reasons to believe as much), I will offer some comments in this post to assist readers in critically digesting this slice of Gates-CCSS propaganda.
My commentary refers to this 15-page report released by Gates and Scholastic on October 4, 2013.
Concern One: Survey Sample
First, I wonder whether the 20,000 teachers surveyed excludes those who were teachers but whose jobs were cut in order for districts to scrape together money to pay for reforms– not the least of which is CCSS and its assessments. Omitting teachers who are casualties to CCSS automatically biases the survey results.
Concern Two: Category Collapsing
Next, on page 2, Gates and Scholastic note that “teachers are enthusiastic about implementation.” However, if one considers the more detailed result presented on page 7, one sees that the “strongly agree” category is small (26% for teachers overall). The largest category is “somewhat agree”– an issue I wrote about concerning the results of both the AFT CCSS survey and the NEA CCSS survey.
Teachers do not “enthusiastically support” CCSS. Most have reservations.
Concern Three: Question Wording
Another “sleight of survey” is on page 5. The problem is with the question:
Do you think the CCSS will be positive for most students, will they not make much of a difference for most students, or will they be negative for most students? [Emphasis added.]
I’m sorry. Are we “leaving children behind” now?
Isn’t the broadcasted CCSS goal to “make all students college and career ready”?
Substituting the word most in place of the CCSS-promoter-declared all is a public admission that CCSS is not suited for all students, after all.
Plus, teachers are a lot less likely to answer positively to this question if asked about “all students” as opposed to “most students.”
As it is, with the term most in the question, just over half (57%) of teachers responded that CCSS would be positive for “most” students.
I wonder: How many teachers who answered “positive” envisioned certain students falling through the CCSS cracks? I know I did in reading this question tonight.
Concern Four: Unclear Question and Limited Response Choice
Page 4 is also shady reporting, Here is the question:
Once implemented, do you think the CCSS will have a positive or negative impact on each of the following?
Now in the report, the response is “ability to think critically and use reasoning skills.” These two are not necessarily the same. Critical thinking involves reasoning skills, but critical thinking surpasses the “skill” level of learning. So, my question at this point is whether two response categories have been collapsed to yield the positive result, or whether these two ideas that are not interchangeable have been presented together as one item (thus confounding reporting– one cannot know which one is the focus of teacher response).
Another issue concerns the limited response choices. In other questions (such as the one previously noted on page 7) include the choice,”somewhat.” However, for some reason, those composing the questions omit the “somewhat” category. This omission means that a respondent who does not wish to choose the neutral category, “neither negative nor positive” is forced to choose “positive”– even if this respondent has reservations.
One can see how a forced choice question might be used to shape a survey outcome.
Concern Five: Selling Curriculum and Assessment
One final observation, from page 9. Here is the opening statement:
Seventy-four percent (74%) of teachers in Common Core states say implementation will require them to make changes in their teaching practice.
The end of the page reads like a sales pitch for CCSS materials. Teachers need more time to find materials and plan lessons. Teachers need professional development.
Enter Scholastic and other education companies.
They are here for us out of the goodness of their
profit margins hearts.
In my Gates CCSS series, I highlight organizations receiving Gates money to provide CCSS curriculum.
CCSS curricula are fast becoming big business.
So are CCSS assessments.
The statement above from page 9 notes that 74% of teachers report being “required” to change their teaching practice.
No mention about pressure to teach to the CCSS tests. This looming issue certainly does “change teaching practice”– for the worse.
If Gates is going to release “early” survey result propaganda in favor of CCSS, I am going to critically dissect his papier mache result for the benefit of those officials, teachers and parents who read the Gates/Scholastic gloss and feel, “Something’s not right here.”
Something is not right, indeed, when the oppressor tells the oppressed, “See? You are happy with oppression after all.”
Don’t you believe it.