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Common Core As “Technologically Necessary”: A Looming Shift In Sales Pitch?

March 16, 2014

The term Common Core is so negatively charged that Common Core State Standards (CCSS) proponents are trying their hardest to ditch the term– not ditch CCSS– just the term. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee suggested that states “rebrand” the CCSS product– give it a shiny new name in order to fool the public into thinking its gone.

In my own district, neither CCSS nor its PARCC test were mentioned by name in the letter home to parents regarding the upcoming PARCC pilot test.

In my remarks on March 2, 2014, as a member of the Common Core panel at the first annual Network for Public Education (NPE) conference, I advised that CCSS must die and that if it doesn’t, it could morph into another classroom standardizer.

Today (Sunday, March 16), I received this comment to my post on Bill Gates’ rallying teachers to support CCSS:

Just this last Thursday we had a rainmaker (“expert educator” and CEO) come to our town, Willard Daggett, who was brought here by our award-winning (NY State) superintendent, Luvelle Brown to speak to the “benefits” of Common Core and other areas of “college preparedness.”

In his hours of bloviating what you got from this was essentially that the “industry” is fast forward on technology at all costs. All of the new “techno-learning tools” were being lauded and at least w/Willard Common Core was scarcely mentioned and when done so he backed off his full-on support of CC. That I think in large part due to the firestorm surrounding it.

I believe we will at the least see a restructuring of CC and a re-packaging of it and a greater emphasis on shoving technology down the throats of every district. That certainly seems to be where the money is going at the moment. And from the capitalists point of view it makes sense as the schools will increase their debt burdens through the years w/this technological imperative meaning a constant revenue stream for all sorts of suppliers (Gates being only the obvious and largest financier) and the shutdown of even more schools who can’t keep up with the debt which of course then means even more transfer of public funds to private institutions. [Emphasis added.]

Technology in order to accommodate PARCC testing is indeed “where the money is going” in my district. On the same day that I found out that the class I teach for students who wish to become teachers (called STAR Teaching Academy) is to be cut next year due to budget issues, out computer labs are getting a complete upgrade in order to accommodate the testing tied to CCSS. Slowly but surely, all that is not “core related” is being choked out of the school budget.

At the same time that the “consequences” of PARCC are being “delayed” in Louisiana (not removed; not erased; just delayed), the pilot testing is still required. And that means money spent on the PARCC-required technology.

It makes sense, then, to “rebrand” CCSS into a technological savior. Turn the public’s attention away from the spending of so many millions on CCSS-assessment technology while programs and staff are being cut.

So, one of the ways that CCSS can morph and can make the money spent on technology appear tied to the “standards” (whatever they might be called in an effort to not call them CCSS) is to refocus on how useful untested CCSS will certainly be (tongue in cheek) for Promoting Technological Prowess Necessary to Compete in the Global Economy.

To this end, several web pages already exist in an attempt to sell CCSS (insert new name here) as a Technological Pal. Here is one from Freso, California, and from the now-infamous Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) (infamous for its $1 billion iPad purchase), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Staff Development for Educators (SDE), Common Core and Ed Tech (CCEDTECH)– CCEDTECH is promoted by Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Monterey, California, Office of Education (MCOE).

The list goes on.

In order for CCSS (or whatever it is called) to survive, its sales people (not the least of whom are Bill Gates and Arne Duncan— more on the Gates-Duncan-CCSS triangle in my next post) must reshape CCSS into That Which Is Necessary.

Districts are blowing amazing amounts of increasingly scare funding to meet CCSS technology requirements.

Let’s just tell them that it wasn’t only for the tests.

Let’s tell them that it was for the sake of meeting the *technological rigor* of CCSS (insert more fashionable name here).

From → Common Core

  1. Mercedes, I have a ton more respect for you than many powerful people selling or enforcing the Common Core. A few weeks ago, you posted a lovely story of teaching young people who still yearn to be teachers. In this blog, you note that STAR Teaching Academy will be cut at the same time as the computers will be upgraded. It’s infuriating, a case where leaders plug their ears to the people who feel the effects of their policies.

    Please keep writing. People all across America are reading your work.

  2. I wonder what Andrew Cuomo plans to do with $2 billion from New York voters?

  3. mgeroux permalink

    And when all the new technology can never be used for anything but pre testing, post testing, state testing, practice testing, benchmark testing, and testing testing? What will we tell parents then? We’re preparing your kids for jobs with Pearson?

  4. Peter permalink

    When push comes to shove, the testing programs are probably more important to the profiteers than the standards.

    • Testing is not gone. It’s just “delayed.” To combat CCSS resistance, privatizers rename and refocus.

      Gotta make CCSS look like it’s more than a channel to testing. Image makeover.

      CCSS materials vendors are counting on their profits.

    • Tracy permalink

      The standards are just a way to force everyone into buying tech upgrades of all sorts, right? It makes perfect sense. It has never really been about the standards, it’s really about all the OTHER stuff. Standards don’t make money, but computers and software and test writing and test grading and curriculum and test prep materials, all do. And as Arne has always said, it’s all about bringing it all to scale.

  5. Dave permalink

    Funny … Daggett just came and talked to my school district the other day. He bloviated about the same exact things you mentioned, and even went so far as to say that kids might as well come to school naked on test day because technology is ubiquitous (even, soon to come, in the buttons of our clothes!) and we’re a bunch of dinosaurs for not allowing them to be “resourceful” (he was talking about cheating, but he called it ‘resourcefulness’).

    What a weird period in American history to be a teacher.

  6. Thanks for the update! Oh, brother. But, not surprised.

  7. Willard Daggett spoke at the NYC elementary school principals conference, which I attended (I’m a teacher, not principal). He put on quite a show and had the same arguments mentioned in your post. I didn’t buy it. Snake oil!

  8. Michael permalink

    To get a sense of where this is heading there is an upcoming conference of Venture Capitalists- uh, I meant “educational experts.” Not to worry if you miss this one another is sure to be in your neighborhood quite soon:

    “The CoSN 2014 Annual Conference is designed for education leaders to better understand their changing roles in creating the new face of learning.

    Attend the amazing conference sessions or participate in CoSNCamp, a new and exciting way to interact with peers and corporate partners. Join us March 19–22 in Washington, DC!
    Registration will be available onsite.

    Continuously Connected…in our hyper-connected world, people are always on, collaborating, communicating, and creating. Educators are tasked with harnessing that energy and connection to develop the next generation of critical, thoughtful thinkers.

    Constantly Learning…explores how school systems can create digital learning ecosystems to challenge and inspire their students, encourage innovation, and deepen learning.
    Amazing Keynotes. Awesome Concurrent Educator Sessions.”

    Opening Town Hall Forum: Can Big Data and Innovative Digital Learning Play Together?

    Hon. Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education

    Yong Zhao, Director, Institute for Global and Online Education

    Moderator: Deb Delisle, Assistant Secretary for Elementary & Secondary Education, Department of Education

    Closing Keynote: Disruptive Technology: What’s New, What’s Coming and How It Will Disrupt Everything in Learning

    David Pogue, Tech Columnist, Yahoo

    Here is the list of events:

    And speakers:

    You can often apply for scholarships to attend for free and once inside, if you’re not bored to death, you will get an insight as to how these entities are shaping (malforming) education.

    I wish this were all satire, as the campy promos and the corporate sloganeering are hard to read without snickering, but these stuffed shirts are destroying the commons. Nothing less than a determined, resilient, persistent and well-informed resistance will stop them- and they can be stopped.

  9. Hannah permalink

    The fundamental flaw in all of the RttT and CC and techno-crap… what our “global economy” really needs are people… people who have compassion for others… people who know that as human beings, we’re more alike than different in our needs… people who are able to connect with other people on a REAL level, not this pseudo-real, “snake-oil salesman” charisma. And yet, that can’t be a “standard,” because compassion cannot be measured, it must be experienced. SMH… this is what the “reformers” will never understand.

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