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AFT’s 10 Myths: Unyielding Devotion to the Common Core

December 31, 2013

In my hands I am holding the latest issue of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) quarterly publication, American Educator. It is open to page 43, Tools for Teachers: 10 Myths About the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

The piece was written by AFT’s Educational Issues Department.

Their position is one of unreserved support for CCSS.

Of course.

I find it remarkable the degree to which AFT and Randi Weingarten will go in order to protect and promote CCSS. One of the more telling pieces is a post Weingarten wrote for Huffington Post entitled, Will States Fail the Common Core? As though CCSS is a personality, complete with feelings that will be hurt by states’ betrayal.

In that post, Weingarten maintains that CCSS is “not a silver bullet” but that the problem is not with CCSS but with “bad execution.”

Here’s a question– How can Weingarten state with such certainty that CCSS is not the issue? Has she or anyone else piloted these so-called standards?

No.

If CCSS is “not a silver bullet,” why have neither AFT nor Weingarten herself published anything remotely appearing to be a critical evaluation of CCSS, standard by standard, grade level by grade level, for both English Language Arts (ELA) and math?

Now that  would be a critical examination.

Instead, the AFT/Weingarten tact resembles that of the Fordham Institute’s President Chester Finn, who states that CCSS is “not perfect” and even grades it accordingly– then promotes it without reservation.

Ergo, the AFT propaganda, 10 Myths about the Common Core State Standards.

CCSS Is Not Meant to Stand Alone

An important component to making this propaganda work involves divorcing CCSS from other reforms. After all, by itself, CCSS more easily appears innocuous. However, do not forget that in June 2009, the National Governors Association (NGA) promoted a set of “internationally benchmarked standards and assessments” as part of a larger reform package that includes teacher evaluation/pay for performance, “turning around” schools (i.e., handing traditional public schools over for charter operation), and building data systems.

These reforms are meant to be a set. 

The federal government was at that 2009 NGA symposium. US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan endorsed the spectrum of reforms and even commented about “more enlightened union leadership” in regard to the NGA effort.

CCSS is a critical component in the vehicle of American education privatization. So, don’t be distracted by AFT/Weingarten insistence of the innocence of this single reform component.

No carburetor alone ever drove a car off of a cliff. No flint alone ever burned down a building. No bullet alone ever shot a human being.

However, introduce the carburetor, the flint, and the bullet as components of a given destructive system, and each contributes toward an end result of destruction.

That, my friends, is CCSS: A component of a dangerous, NGA- and Duncan- (and Aft/Weingarten-) promoted system.

In its 10 Myths,  AFT steers readers away from CCSS as part of an intended reform system.  I cannot emphasize this enough.

For now, let us consider what AFT is promoting in each of its 10 “myths.”

AFT Myth One

In Myth One, AFT maintains that “the standards tell us what to teach” is a myth. AFT regurgitates the oft-heard CCSS slogan that CCSS “defines what students need to know.”

Where is the evidence for this? What students need to know for what? The outcome assessments that PARCC and Smarter Balanced consortia are throwing together? PARCC is supposed to field test this school year, as is Smarter Balanced. Florida dropped out as PARCC’s fiscal agent. Maryland took over, as a “favor to Obama.”

AFT maintains, “Teachers will have as much control over how they teach as they ever have.”

Says who? AFT cannot guarantee this, and AFT cannot prove this. What they are trying to say is that the inflexible, copyrighted CCSS allows for teacher freedom within the classroom.

On one level, AFT is right:

Most prisoners are allowed to pace inside their cells.

What teachers don’t get to do is modify CCSS based upon their own expertise and for a given set of students in a given class in a given school in a given district in a given state.

One size fits all. And AFT’s answer: You could always pace, and you still get to do so. Pay no attention to the fact that you’ve been placed in a cell.

AFT Myth Two

The second so-called myth is that CCSS “amount(s) to a national curriculum.” Here AFT goes for the “voluntary adoption” of CCSS.

For the sake of space, let me outline only one key point here:

If CCSS were truly “voluntarily adopted,” it could easily be “voluntarily un-adopted.” However, CCSS “adoption” is primarily tied to federal, Race to the Top (RTTT) funding, the contract for which is quite detailed.

If CCSS adoption is truly voluntary, why is Weingarten partnering with former Michigan Governor (and businessman) John Engler to tell governors to “stay the course” with CCSS?

Note that Weingarten and Engler offer no cautions about governors signing on for CCSS before it was finished. They offer no encouragement for governors to critically consider what exactly they have signed onto with the now-completed, inflexible CCSS, especially as concerns the cost of implementing CCSS, monetary and otherwise.

Instead, Weingarten and Engler offer the overused privatizer’s creed of forging ahead despite notable resistance in at least half of the states that “adopted” CCSS.

On to so-called Myth Three.

AFT Myth Three

Here’s AFT’s Myth Three: “The standards intrude on student privacy.”

One reminder here: Carburetors don’t drive cars off of cliffs. CCSS is part of the package of reforms that includes increased data collection efforts— Data Quality Campaign.

Consider this excerpt from a 2009 speech by Duncan:

The Data Quality Campaign, DQC, lists 10 elements of a good data system. Six states, Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, and Utah, have all 10 elements. Other states are also making progress. For example, Arkansas has a data warehouse that integrates school fiscal information, teacher credentials, and student coursework, assessments, and even extracurricular activities.

The system has allowed for better student tracking to enable the state to identify double-count enrollments and is saving it more than $2 million in its first year.

We want to see more states build comprehensive systems that track students from pre-K through college and then link school data to workforce data. We want to know whether Johnny participated in an early learning program and completed college on time and whether those things have any bearing on his earnings as an adult. [Emphasis added.]

AFT wants to downplay this issue of unprecedented data collection and tracking by observing that “some states already had data systems.”

Never before has any group of general-populous Americans run the risk of being tracked by the federal government from cradle to grave like this current cohort of American citizens of ages preschool through young adulthood.

The public should be concerned.

AFT Myth Four

Now, for Myth Four: “The English standards emphasize nonfiction and informational text so much that students will be reading how-to manuals instead of great literature.”

Here AFT gets it right. However, the idiocy behind CCSS proportions of nonfiction and fiction amazes me every time I write about it.

In order to determine proportions of nonfiction and fiction present in CCSS, some CCSS “architect” decided to model these proportions after the proportion of nonfiction vs. fiction questions on the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

For example, since 70 percent of the questions for grade 12 on the 2009 NAEP involve nonfiction, inexperienced CCSS creators decided that there would be some magic in having seniors exposed to 70 percent nonfiction and 30 percent fiction across all subjects, that these proportions would somehow guarantee that seniors would graduate (tongue in cheek) “college and career ready” with “the knowledge and skills to help students succeed.”

Now keep in mind that NAEP is not the CCSS assessment. Keep in mind that even if NAEP were the CCSS assessment, this attempt to match proportions with NAEP is a partial-lobotomy rationale for proportions of nonfiction vs. fiction included in CCSS.

AFT offers no explanation for how the above “logic” supposedly “prepar(es) them (students) for college and work.” However, AFT insists that it does.

AFT Myth Five

For Myth Five: “Key math concepts are missing or appear in the wrong grade.” AFT explains this away as an artifact of shifting from standards for 50 states to one set.

If the goal is to standardize, something has to go. Oh, well.

AFT notes that “educators and experts alike” are fine with the CCSS math standards. AFT cites no particular studies. I wonder who those “experts” are who are not “educators” (a term already loose enough to include those who never taught). I’m guessing one is Chester Finn of the Fordham institute. He actively promotes CCSS even though calculus is missing from the math standards and even though other state standards outrank CCSS math in Fordham’s own published estimation.

Here is what CCSS “lead architect” David Coleman had to say at the 2011 Institute for Learning (IFL) senior leadership meeting– in a keynote address, no less– about his company’s central involvement in writing CCSS :

Student Achievement Partners, all you need to know about us are a couple things. One is we’re composed of that collection of unqualified people who were  involved in developing the common standards.

With one foot in mouth, Coleman continues:

I’ll probably spend a little more time on literacy because as weak as my qualifications are there, in math they’re even more desperate in their lacking.

Feel free to watch the entire Coleman train wreck for yourself:  http://vimeo.com/35318592

And here is more information on SAP, “founding partner” Sue Pimentel, and the $4 million from GE.

AFT Myth Six

Moving on to supposed Myth Six: “Common Core is a federal takeover.” AFT writes, “The federal government had no role in developing the standards.”

Bill Clinton said, “I did not have sex with that woman.” While technically true (ahem..), Clinton’s words were carefully chosen with the intent to deceive.

So too are AFT’s words in this case. Here is what AFT attempts to downplay: Duncan is undeniably and deeply involved in promoting CCSS and its assessments. Duncan publicly defends CCSS. Duncan awards money for CCSS.

American Enterprise Institute (AEI) “Scholar” Rick Hess has even advised the federal government to “come clean” regarding its involvement with CCSS.

The federal government is all over CCSS.

AFT’s line that CCSS was “created by state education chiefs and governors” is not true. These two groups own the copyright on CCSS, but that does not mean that they actually “created” CCSS.

AFT’s next point is that teachers “were included” in CCSS development.” So, who created CCSS? Governors? State superintendents? David Coleman and his Student Achievement Partners?

We must include teachers in the mix in order to sell the product.

AFT Myth Seven

In its Myth Seven, “Teachers weren’t included,” AFT is again careful with its wording. “Included”– to the degree that “many teachers report seeing their feedback added verbatim.”

That sounds impressive.

How about the feedback from teachers who did not agree with CCSS at all? Or feedback from those who thought CCSS was happening too fast? Or feedback from those who wondered why highly-paid non-educators were at the CCSS epicenter?

What happened to their feedback?

If “hundreds of teachers” were involved on state review teams, certainly not all agreed.

AFT presents the number “hundreds of teachers nationwide” as though it is impressive. So, let’s follow that vein for a moment.

In its CCSS survey, AFT reported surveying 800 teachers. It also reported that 75 percent “overwhelmingly support” CCSS. I take issue with this survey, but allow me to set that aside for a moment and pretend that 75 percent of 800 teachers do support CCSS.

That leaves 25 percent (or 200 teachers) who do not.

So, according to AFT,  for every three teachers who support CCSS, one does not.

That would present notable dissension in a group of “hundreds of teachers nationwide who served on state review teams.”

Skipping to AFT Myth Ten (With a Splash of Myth Nine)

At the conclusion of its 10 Myths, in so-called Myth Ten, AFT states, “Unions support the Common Core because their members do.”

Not all of their members. Thus, according to AFT’s own reporting, AFT is willing to dismiss– to leave wholly unaddressed– the concerns of 25 percent of its teachers. AFT publishes nothing opposed to CCSS. Instead, AFT “opposition” is against faulty or rushed implementation– including the testing. (In supposed Myth Nine, “Common Core accelerates overtesting,” AFT does not write against CCSS assessments– it merely attempts to delay the testing.)

AFT cites other surveys of “teacher support” for CCSS (AFT is careful to avoid Gates’ name in connection with the Scholastic survey).

I dissect a number of these surveys:

AFT CCSS survey (and here)

NEA CCSS survey

Gates/Scholastic CCSS survey

Stand for Children Louisiana CCSS survey

NAESP CCSS survey (principals)

Each of these survey results has been shaped. It is easy enough to do via 1) Word selection in the question, 2) word selection and limiting response choices, and 3) select reporting.

(Unlike AFT in its 10 Myths, I provide references to support my assertions. Do read my work on the shaping of pro-CCSS survey results to see how malleable survey results truly are.)

Back, to AFT Myth Eight

I skipped around a bit. I don’t want to overlook Myth Eight: “The standards make inappropriate demands of preschoolers.”

Another smooth choice of words. AFT dodges the issue of CCSS’ making inappropriate demands of elementary and middle schoolers.

However, let’s address what AFT offers. Indeed the current CCSS is for kindergarten thru grade 12. However, if CCSS is part of the reform package in which standardization is the order of the day (reread AFT’s Myth Five), and if Duncan has designs on extending data collection from preschool to age twenty, then why shouldn’t the public be concerned that preschool would be grafted into CCSS? After all, CCSS is finding its place in higher ed.

AFT attempts to explain, “[CCSS] were written for grades K – 12. Several states added their own guidance foe preschools.”

If CCSS is supposedly “state led,” why does AFT try to distance CCSS from the “state leading” of CCSS into preschools?

AFT Sell Out: Not a Myth

In supposed Myth Ten, AFT offers this sentiment: “Rank and file teachers don’t support it– and their unions sold them out.”

CCSS development did not follow the democratic process. Teachers are not key decision makers in CCSS.  They have been relegated to a role on the fringes.  Upon first glance, their “verbatim” commentary makes the CCSS paint-by-number appear to be an original work of art.

AFT and Weingarten never question why teachers are not key decision makers regarding CCSS. Their silence on this point is deafening. Instead, AFT and Weingarten are expending much effort in trying to preserve CCSS. 

Well done, AFT. And well done, Randi Weingarten. For your attempts to sell out your constituency in an effort to preserve CCSS, I give you a solid “C.” Sure, your arguments could strain cooked pasta, but you persevere.

I’m sure your next pro-CCSS sales pitch is already in press.

__________________________________________

Note: Randi Weingarten and I are to be members of the CCSS panel scheduled for Sunday, March 2, 2014, as part of the Network for Public Education conference in Austin, Texas, (March 1 and 2).

Anthony Cody will also be part of the CCSS panel, as will Paul Horton and Ethan Young.

Come hear us.

48 Comments
  1. Linda permalink

    Ten lies about the ten AFT “myths”. It is ridiculous when a union is putting out such bunk.

    Mercedes, thank you for all you do. Reading all of them this morning made me sick. This cannot work when there is so much distrust and confusion. It will implode.

    They don’t control our classrooms. Smile at the walking iPads and shut the door. Protect the children.

  2. Laura h. Chapman permalink

    Right on. AFT is responding to little fires that are being set by people who understand some of the flaws in this whole train wreck. AFT chooses not to recognizing the deep problems in the process of constructing and marketing the CCSS, the pitiful vision of education as little more than college and career prep, the demand for conformity to expectaions concocted by persons who are unqualified to address educational issues, and who have expressed contempt for and wisdom that might be offered by teachers and researchers.
    Here is a reference that may be of interest in your work, a look at the CCSS by Andrew Porter and colleagues. Porter served as President of the American Educational Research Association…not that research matters to the promoters of the CSSS.
    Porter, A., McMaken, J., Hwang, J., & Yang, R. (2011). Common core standards: The new U.S. intended curriculum. Educational Researcher, 40(3). 103-116. DOI: 10.3102/0013189X11405038.

  3. Thanks you for your attention to detail, research, and careful deconstruction of all this. AFT and NEA should be ashamed of themselves. It’s helpful to have someone lay out exactly why.

  4. Liz Lauter permalink

    HERE-HERE MERCEDES! You said it like it is, and you didn’t waste a minute once the AFT piece came out. Thank you! We have been betrayed and we need every spokesperson to hold our union leadership accountable. Shame on Randi Weingarten, the AFT and the NEA. Here is my message to Randi: Just say you were wrong. Diane Ravitch did and you can too if you understand the damage that your position is causing. AFT and NEA are causing damage.

  5. tfteacher permalink

    You are invaluable to us!

  6. 2old2tch permalink

    This link to a letter by Randi Weingarten to the NYT is interesting:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/25/opinion/a-better-way-to-teach.html?src=recg

    • Is she (Weingarten) bi-polar? Multiple personalities? Does she not see the disconnect between what is in this letter and many other things she has publicly proclaimed? If she is going to reverse course, then a public mea culpa is required first.

  7. Here is what the NEA is saying:

    http://neatoday.org/2013/09/12/nea-poll-majority-of-educators-support-the-common-core-state-standards/

    NEA Poll: Majority of Educators Support the Common Core State Standards
    September 12, 2013 by twalker
    Filed under Featured News, Top Stories
    35 Comments

    By Tim Walker
    According to a new poll by the National Education Association, the Common Core State Standards are strongly supported by its members. Roughly two-thirds of educators are either wholeheartedly in favor of the standards (26 percent) or support them with “some reservations” (50 percent). Only 11 percent of those surveyed expressed opposition. Thirteen percent didn’t know enough about the CCSS to form an opinion. Overall, 98 percent of NEA members have heard of the standards. In addition, 79 percent of respondents said they were well or somewhat prepared to implement the new standards. The survey questioned 1200 NEA members and was conducted in July by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

    Love this part: “Roughly two-thirds of educators are either wholeheartedly in favor of the standards (26 percent) or support them with “some reservations” (50 percent). Only 11 percent of those surveyed expressed opposition.” The 50% who have reservations are lumped with the 26% who support What a spin. Of course, putting the 11% opposed with the 50% who have reservations show decidedly different picture, a picture that I will paint when I am at a staff meeting and this survey is quoted. Got my talking points ready.

    Thank you Mercedes for showing me how to dig, interpret, analyze, persevere.

    • Michele permalink

      Not to mention 2,000 surveyed out of 2 million plus members is statistically insignificant.

      • Michele permalink

        (Meant 1,200 members)

      • Linda permalink

        Right, if 1% is significant and represents majority then test 1% of the kids in the USA.

  8. Seems AFT is repeating one of the biggest myths of all…namely that Common Core consists of “internationally benchmarked standards.”

    When Dr. Stotsky and the Common Core validation team asked for the evidence of how Common Core was “internationaly benchmarked,” nothing could be provided. In effect, this seems to be in violation of the Race to the Top criterion regarding standards and states implementing Common Core should not rally have been awarded points for Common Core!

    See:
    http://pioneerinstitute.org/news/wanted-internationally-benchmarked-standards-in-english-mathematics-and-science/

  9. It’s interesting. When I follow the two links in this sentence, “AFT dodges the issue of CCSS’ making inappropriate demands of elementary and middle schoolers,” neither link seems to me to say what it is purported to say.

    This first one is about test questions, not CCSS. The second one is about play in early childhood, not the later elementary point suggested in the post.

    Am I misunderstanding something?

  10. benoit permalink

    @Bill, I’ve checked out the website you advertise (every chance you get) and I couldn’t find the information I was looking for. I’m hoping you can help. Is it YOUR website or some group called Advancing New Hampshire Public Education? If it as I suspect, it’s all you, why pretend to be some group? While I got you here, I get that you are in the pro-CC camp but is there anything about CC that concern you? Are there any criticisms of the CC that you feel are legitimate?

    • Linda permalink

      Not all in NH agree with Bill:

      Even in your tweets/articles , NH residents disagree with you. You are trying to paint NH as a state in full support of CCS. It’s not true.

      @EDactivistNH: @billduncan Not in Nashua. They are waking up to the set up 4 failure: http://t.co/YKNwx8ON2P

    • Sorry, benoit, anonymous commenters don’t get to make demands. Everything you need to know is on the site. If you disagree on the substance, let me know and we’ll discuss it.

      • Benoit permalink

        Don’t dodge the questions, that’s weak. I’m not demanding anything, just asking questions. Trying to consider the source of the info. I guess your no answer gives me all I need. I’m not trying to engage in a debate with you. I can read and form my own opinions, I. Stubborn like that. There are parts of CC that I agree with and some I find troubling or cause for concern. Reading your posts here, though lacking any substance, it was difficult to get an idea of who you are. Therefore, I did as you suggested and visited the site you cited. All I got there was total cheerleading. I believe I asked legitimate questions. If the information I seek we’re so easily found, I wouldn’t have asked. Yet you were quick to dismiss me. How arrogant! Are you above reproach? Very off putting sir. I’ll give you another chance, redemption if you will. If you dismiss me again I fear you will lose any credibility you may have had. I’m not sure exactly where I stand on CC, that’s all. Benoit is my name. I’m not anonymous. Ryan Benoit, but only my mother uses my first name. I look forward to your reply.

      • Linda permalink

        And he has the nerve to criticize Mercedes, weak, very weak.

      • Benoit permalink

        I don’t have an axe to grind. I’m not sure how knowing my name changes anything though. It’s not as if I’m anybody. How would anyone even know if Ryan Benoit wasn’t just made up? (Bill, please don’t use that as an excuse, it really is my name)

      • Linda permalink

        Maybe cheering for CCS is becoming too much of burden. It’s built on a pack of lies.

        The commoners were not supposed to figure this out.

        Some of us acquired critical thinking skills way before the need for national standards.

      • Mom mom is the only one that calls me by my first name. permalink

        From the about section of anhpe.org, “Advancing New Hampshire Public Education is a follow-on organization to Defending New Hampshire Public Education. The website is new and more efficient. We track education bills in the Legislature here and refer to older information on the Defending site as needed.

        Our mission will be the same: promote legislation and policies that improve New Hampshire public education K-16 and oppose legislation we see as harmful.

        Bill Duncan (waduncan AT gmail.com) is primarily responsible for the web site and the organization but draws in as many others as possible.”

        You use pronouns we and our. Who are they? Are you primarily or solely responsible for the content on the website? If so the it would use I, not we or our. Are you being intentionally misleading? Simple questions, simple answers are all that’s needed.

        If wish to continue to mislead, that’s fine…shady, but fine enough. I’m more interested in the second question I posed. Is there anything about CC that concern you? Are there any criticisms of CC that you feel are legitimate?

      • We’re a group with lots of members and subscribers who testify at the legislature and advocate for NH public education in a wide variety of ways. We oppose ed reform, as you can see on the site, and support the NH teacher evaluation model (minimal use of testing for accountability). We support CCSS because it is well implemented and accepted by the state’s educators and is not the basis for punitive testing as it is in some other states. As you can see, it is well accepted in our classrooms.

        And, yes, I did point out an error in the AFT post – those links are mischaracterized – and I haven’t yet heard why that is not an error.

        Sure, I think CCSS was the product of a rough and tumble process of compromise and there’s plenty that could still be debated. The math standards will have to be raised in future years, for instance, but that would have been too big a step all at once at this point.

        But we’re not in that kind of debate. Critics aren’t talking about improvement. I think we are in a rear guard debate. When it’s over, if it ever is, we can get on to discussing the improvements needed for future versions.

      • benoit permalink

        Have you been following the implementation in Louisiana? If it’s half as bad as what Dr. Schneider describes, it was botched. No matter where you stand on CC, shouldn’t the time for improvement been before it was rolled out nationwide? Here in Louisiana it sure seems like the proverbial building of the plane while in the air. I guess I’ll read up on how you guys managed to avoid that.

        I’m still confused though, is anhpe.org just you? Is it an organization? A board of directors? Or just a blog? Seems like there was a site redesign and a name change. You speak as though it’s both an organization and your blog. If you write a blog and have subscribers does that automatically make you an organization. I subscribe to this blog, and though I agree with much of it, I’ve never seen Dr. Schneider refer to herself as an organization or we/us. It’s obvious this is the voice and opinion of one person. I get the feeling you are still trying to be misleading. It may not be your fault though, I’m just so tired and worn out by figuring out who all these groups are and what’s their agenda. They even seem to have names, like yours, that are often misleading. I apologize in advance if I am off base or offensive. I’m just not convinced or sure who you or anhpe.org are. I find it relevant because the messenger can strengthen or weaken the message. I may be reading too much into this but it seems like Dr. Schneider’s responses to you are quite succinct as if reluctant to engage. Given your condescending tone and dismissal of my fist inquiry and continuously misleading explanations of who anhpe.org I’m beginning to understand.

        As for the links…sorry, didn’t read ’em this time.

    • Funny you caught on to Bill Duncan, the SELF APPOINTED guru of public ed in NH.

      • Tell, me,, MOMwithAbrain…what’s the difference between a self appointed guru and a person with an opinion?

      • Cap Lee permalink

        no guru here.  Just an over active mind  http://savingstudents-caplee.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-personal-map-to-success.html

      • Benoit permalink

        Hi mom,
        I’ll take this one if you don’t mind.

        The difference between a self appointed guru and a person with an opinion is delusion and narcissism.

      • But you left out the most important qualification – they disagree with you.

      • benoit permalink

        I’ve read through a lot of your website and there is a good bit that I agree with. My issue was the condescending and dismissal of my initial inquiry followed by misleading answers you provided. You are intentionally misleading folks in order to gain an increase in credibility. Therefore even if there are areas of agreement between you and I I just don’t trust you as a reliable source. Your narcissistic tendencies (you’ve never downplayed the guru moniker) and general disdain for those that arrive at different conclusions is very off putting. Best of luck sir. May you help New Hampshire become a beacon of education. (If it happens in spite of you, well that’s fine too)

      • Linda permalink

        It’s all about Bill. Got that from the get go.

  11. nikki stevens permalink

    Common core, race to the top, NCLB, Charter Schools and the new teachers evaluations are examples of ways the state and federal governments are trying to sell public schools. The government want to pay younger teachers and get rid of the older teachers who make a little more money. They want to hire young teachers who will work for three years and quit, now the state won’t have to pay for pensions. They are starting with urban schools because urban parents are easily fooled in believing that charter schools are better. The urban parents don’t investigate the school before they put their child in the charter schools. Once they finish destroying urban public schools they will be coming after suburban schools until most public schools in America are closed and sold to people who will make higher salaries than any superintendent in any public school. The unions, Pres. Obama, senators, mayors, governors, representatives, state and federal governments are not concerned about students or teachers. Their goal is to get rid of as many teachers as possible. It is terrible what is happening to teachers. Parents don’t understand that charter schools will make their money then close. If their are no public schools where will your child go to school. And to all of those supporters of those people who are trying to destroy teachers’ careers, if they come for them in the morning , they will come for your pension, veterans benefits, SSI, social security, public assistance, etc. that night.

  12. Mama P permalink

    The CCSSI & charter school connection confuses me. I have been trying to make sense of why those FOR school choice, vouchers, & charters are also pro-CCSS. If these standards are this magic-pill that cures all that ails public education, how is that beneficial to the privatization of public schools? I can see how the failure of public schools could be beneficial to charter operations, with parents demanding an alternative.

    You mention above that the “turning around schools” part of the reform package means charter operations. Where can I read more about that? I have not yet made that connection.

    Something is amiss & I just can not put my finger on it. I welcome any thoughts, links, & clarification before I drive myself crazy.🙂

    • Mama P, those advocating for education privatization value CCSS because it is yet another opportunity to show traditional public school “failure” via CCSS assessments. Also note that the idea of “parents demanding an alternative” to “failing” public schools is a privatization narrative, one that California-based Parent Revolution notoriously promotes but can’t seem to get off of the ground. In reality, it is not the parents who “demand” charters; in the case of New Orleans’ state-run Recovery School District (RSD), the state took over schools in order to convert to a 100% charter district, which they say they will accomplish in 2014-15. (See the section labeled “RSD” on my blog. RSD is supposedly a “turnaround” district, one in which the state “turns around” “failing” schools and returns them to the original district– except that the schools taken over are converted into charters and do not return to local control. See also the “charters” section on my blog.)

      I’ll leave you with this info for starters.

  13. It is disturbing that the NCTE would not make their criticisms of CC more well known. Read through these, and see how they call out specific standards for having no basis in research, or how they go against best-practices for literacy. They go so far as to say they might actually inhibit literacy.

    This is sick. A national program that might inhibit literacy.
    They detailed them in these reports:
    http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/CC/0221-sep2012/Chron0221PolicyBrief.pdf
    http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Standards/ReportCoreStdsRefs9%2019%2009.pdf
    http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Standards/NCTE_Report_CoreStds_1-10.pdf
    http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Standards/NCTE_Report_CoreStds_2-10.pdf

  14. Thanks again for another wonderful post, Mercedes. I took a look at the Coleman speech that you linked to. It’s interesting that he said the things you quoted in an attempt to win the crowd over with his honesty and humility. It seemed to work, with that audience, at that time. But his further comments are equally illuminating. He said that — because of his ignorance — he wouldn’t have had the nerve to work on the project or foist it onto the nation if not for the overwhelming evidence.

    This reveals a central assumption of many reformers: especially those not in it for the money. Notice how “evidence” is elevated above the mundane, everyday world. “Evidence” is something divorced from context, from any professional body of knowledge, from any depth of experience, from any informed judgment, from any skepticism. This is hubris that we typically associate with arrogant “best and brightest” zealots who think they can solve the world’s problems with their sheer brilliance, merely by the application their own brainpower.

    Coleman’s assumption also demonstrates the data-worship of the reformers. Who needs classroom experience when you have Almighty Data on your side? Not only is Data all-powerful, it is clear and unambiguous; it is easy to acquire and interpret. It is clean and holy, untainted by human assumptions, manipulations or error. Oh, and Pearson will be happy to venture to the mountaintop and bring it down to us.

    Chris

  15. mainemoxie permalink

    I did not see this mentioned in the comments, so forgive me if I am repeating. To quote from this post:

    ‘In Myth One, AFT maintains that “the standards tell us what to teach” is a myth. AFT regurgitates the oft-heard CCSS slogan that CCSS “defines what students need to know.”’

    What is the difference? If CCSS defines what students need to know, isn’t that what I will have to teach if I am a teacher? How will they know it if we don’t in some way teach it? This seems to me a distinction without a difference.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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  5. Mercedes Schneider: AFT Is Wrong About the Common Core | Diane Ravitch's blog

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