Thursday, June 14, 2012

I Will Not Be Assimilated!

Today, Robert Pondiscio of Core Knowledge Foundation, wrote a post that made me have to stop and respond.  It was called, Nobody Loves Standards (and that's O.K.).

You know what?  That's BUNK! 

I love the fact that there is a standard for how restaurants serve food, as I don't enjoy the prospect of Tomain poisoning or Salmonella infection.  I love the fact that I am entitled to a certain standard of treatment by my physician and dentist as I don't enjoy the prospect of being made more ill or losing a tooth I didn't need to.  These kind of standards are those imposed by a municipality or city via my tax dollars and are designed to protect the community they serve.  If I decide to open a restaurant and decide these codes or standards are too harsh, I can petition my city government to have them changed.

The Common Core State Standards are in NO WAY an apples to apples comparison with those described above.  The CCSS are imposed on students and parents by education elitists who think they know better than parents and students, what students should learn.  They were created in a galaxy far, far away (the National Governor's Association - a private, dues-collecting organization), by a group of individuals so that no one single group can be held accountable for their creation.  How then, does a parent or student complain or have them changed if they feel they are not living up to their advertised excellence?  Good question.

In short, the Common Core State Standards are an extra-Constitutional form of control which usurps the rights of those that are supposed to use them and pay for them.  That is not what a STANDARD should do in this country.

Consequently, I felt the need to respond - rather cheekily I agree - to Mr. Pondiscio assertion that Common Core State Standards will be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to teaching reading - and apparently ALL of elementary school for that matter.

Below was my comment:
I am speechless.  I am a former Core Knowledge 7th grade Science teacher.  For you, of all people to be touting - in any way - the Common Core, makes me, well, ah, okay, speechless.

Though I was frequently frustrated by the cross curricular aspect of Core Knowledge (getting the History, English, Math and Science teachers all on the same topic for even a day, is more than difficult to wrangle), I found it rich and interesting and easy to align with our states standards.  I often spent time ferreting out information on specific scientists as we covered specific topics in chemistry and life science, and giving the students a real glimpse into the minds of the people that came before them to prepare the way for them to learn.  I tested (I didn't ASSESS) my students after each unit to make sure they were 'getting' the harder concepts (such as the Periodic Table) and my students did well above average on their state Core Curriculum tests.

I'm so glad I'm now at home schooling my own kids.  With CCSS, teaching to the test would be my reality.  Gone would be the days of foraging around in the lives of scientists or trampling around off-topic to watch a film to reinforce a concept or spending enough time covering the Periodic Table well enough to make sure everyone got it.  Heck with that, I'd have to cover everything that would be on the test, or lose my job when my students weren't ASSESSED at a proper assessment 'interval'. 

Teaching was once a profession in which the promise of (and necessity for) individualism and autonomy, drew those who enjoyed imparting wisdom to people younger than themselves in whatever way they found worked best.  Now, all that remains for teachers is to become assimilated into the collective called 'accountability' while figuring out a way to remain at least human enough to 'facilitate' classrooms of children glued to computers and iPads full of programs effortlessly guiding them toward their necessary place in the global workforce.

Though I fear my commentary here will simply be overlooked as the lunatic ravings of a dissenter for not including enough of the CCSS buzzwords I've picked up over the year and a half I've been studying and writing about this initiative (I devoted an entire blog to those!), I'm pretty sure teachers still in the classroom would agree with my thoughts.

Why otherwise intelligent people such as yourself seem so intent upon joining the Borg, I can't possibly comprehend on any level.  The collective is NOT (nor has it ever been) the way, and I for one will not be assimilated.