Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ahhhh....The Joy of Sameness

My friend Betty Peters, state school board member in Alabama, sent me this video this morning.  The video is from Madison City, Alabama extolling the virtues of their adoption of the Common Core State Standards.  Oh please watch it, it's only 6 something minutes.  Then, see if I'm just way off base on my commentary below.

Okay...humor me here...if this is such a great idea, why, at 2:09 on the video do you see the following on the 'blackboard', 
“In small groups take two to three minutes to brainstorm a lot of rumors you have heard and/or “burning questions that you hear about CCS.”
Why do we have to debunk rumors about standards to put them into practice?
At 2:20 listen to all the 'teams' Madison Ciy has/is having to train to prepare teachers and students for the standards. 

Why? If these standards are so great, shouldn't they be common sense to trained teachers?  Shouldn't teachers simply know how to teach standards that should be 'common' to all children in the course of their education?

Why do districts have to pay to teach teachers to teach all over again? 

Not only that, but every school has their own plan for rolling the Common Core out. How are they "common" then? How are schools all on the same page? How will they all take the same tests?  How in the world do you get a number of schools in a district all with individual numbers of teachers supposedly teaching the exact same thing at the exact same time.  Wow.  The odds of that are something akin to putting watch parts in a watch, shaking it and having it turn into a working watch!

Madison City has had to contract with Learning Focused - a private company - to train all Madison City teachers to 'roll out', 'unpack' and 'unwrap' these standards. I wonder how much that cost? Learning Focused has a huge variety of things the district can purchase to help 'roll out', 'unpack' and 'unwrap' these standards...

At 4:03 it is interesting to note that as the woman is explaining how wonderful the Common Core State Standards are, there is NEVER a time she breaks with the given vocabulary of teaching students what they need to 
"know, understand, and do "after you [teachers] 'unwrap' and 'unpack' the standards. 

About the 'assessments'...We call them tests - assessments make JUDGEMENTS about someone...is that what we're trying to do here?  Judge children?

Well...the 'assessments' have to be changed because, 
"You can't have knowledge recall questions when you're trying to teach something at the application level." 
Really. You can teach a child to think by GIVING THEM A TEST - or assessing them into knowledge? What education model says that - anywhere? Ever? 
"You really have to think about that problem based learning so that kids are applying the content." 
Bells should be going off here because none of this makes any sense other than in the realm of, 
"how many education buzzwords can I get in one sentence so that I can sound like I know what I'm talking about?" 
Maybe parents and taxpayers don't like the Common Core because there's so much talking over one's head!  It all seems so covered under the phrase,
"Baffle them with bull#$%"
At 5:07. Madison expects their students to be 'doers'. 

This is constructivist/progressive teaching. It's what ROPE has always said about Common Core! It is Constructivist at heart. 

Really think about this...how can you expect children to be self directed or teach one another important concepts and master methods of learning when many young kids can't even put their shirts on the right way without instruction? 

If children are going to be 'doers' and teach one another, why the HECK are we paying teachers? Let's just let children mill around in a gym for a day with one or two supervising 'wardens' and call that education! It would sure be a heck of a lot cheaper than all this tripe!

What is "college and career ready" and "21st Century standards" and "life ready"? What do these terms mean?  What is all this nonsense?  Did the Greatest Generation have to have be "college and career ready" for application of "21st Century Standards" in order to be "life ready"?  If not, how then did they become the Greatest Generation?

My favorite comment comes at 5:50. 
"[Teachers] if you don't like what we're doing here, get out. We'll find someone to replace you." 
Wow! That's friendly! So, 
"If you don't like it, lump it!"
is the new Common Core implementation cheer leading cry? 

If you're a teacher and you aren't passionate about turning all our schools into little homogeneity factories, scrap your teaching certificate and get out of Madison City, Alabama. 

Fortunately, our instructor here closes using every CCSS buzzword ever invented in an effort to make sure she has gotten everyone fired up about the standards.

If you don't see the problems here, I don't know how to make it plainer other than this blog posted here yesterday by Diane Ravitch, "How to Evaluate a Dentist".  I guess if you don't see it after that - GET OUT and I'll find someone who does to REPLACE YOU.