The Common Core Standards and reality collide.

Who’s Minding the Schools, (NYT) exposed some of the problems implementing the Core standards and offers a valuable perspective. The current partisan political climate in the US is not helpful to understand the benefits, merits and detriments of the Core. In addition, the Common Core is essentially “an invisible empire, with no public office, no board of directors or a salaried staff, and no postal address nor telephone number on their website.”

By the 2014-15 academic year,  public schools in 45 states and the District of Columbia will administer Common Core tests to students of all ages. The ideals that drove the creation of the Core is the belief that “tougher standards, and eventually higher standardized test scores, will make Americans more competitive in the global brain race.”

The problem is the faulty thinking that assumes higher standards automatically creates students who are better educated and better prepared to be competitive.  I am all for higher standards but they must be accompanied by thoughtful and effective professional development—training teachers how to teach their subjects in new ways that foster deep reflective thinking and a command of a subject. In my work around the country I am constantly hearing frustration from teachers who do not feel adequately prepared to teach to these standards.

It seems to me that the cart is before the horse. Teachers need to be well trained and supported before we can expect them to teach children who can successfully meet these standards. The current situation is setting teachers and their students to fail which is not good or fair and will only bring on undesirable outcomes.


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