Today is Sunday, November 17, 2013
I haven’t blogged in a while–just hanging back to watch things out there in the world. I’ve been thinking about my former career as a teacher (now retired) and how much I hated No Child Left Behind and how much I was suspicious of the new Common Core standards that were replacing NCLB. After a lot of reading, I am completely against Common Core in our educational system for the following reasons:
1. Teaching and learning are never completely quantifiable. Teaching is not a scientific process–it’s an art. Learning occurs when there is a human bond created between student and teacher and, in that relationship and interaction, the student’s mind is opened and freed from ignorance. By that I mean that the student no longer ignores certain things and takes in the possibilities. A teacher is a mentor and facilitator for learning. To educate means literally to ‘conduct out of’. A teacher helps lead the student out of ignorance through developing a panoramic openness to life and the world. There are NO data that can measure or quantify that kind of learning.
2. Common Core is a bureaucratic model that ignores real learning and the student-teacher relationship in favor of a data-driven set of measurements that, in the end, say nothing about the real impact a teacher has on a student’s learning. It is being used to evaluate teacher effectiveness, yet it removes the student from the equation and looks only at standardized test scores to measure the ‘effectiveness.’ Since learning is in all reality an outcome of the student-teacher bond and interaction, these derived data can never truly measure the effectiveness of the teacher, nor can they ever measure the degree to which the student has opened his/her mind to life and the world.
3. Common Core still ignores the real basic skills necessary for students to open and free their minds. There was something quite powerful in developing the art of penmanship, or art and music in any form, and mastering grammar, math-facts, spelling, phonics and geography. Common Core, as with No Child Left Behind, relies on standardized testing that is not based on those basic skills. Students will still come into High School without the skill sets in language, literature, math, and history/geography to do well with high school curricula. High School teachers will be in the position to have to ‘fix’ these students before they can begin to work on the more advanced skills needed to complete the High School curriculum. This puts teachers at a disadvantage vis a vis standardized testing and the evaluation of their effectiveness as teachers.
I seldom agree with people like Glen Beck, but he has been an outspoken critic of Common Core for all the right reasons. Here is a video presented by Glen Beck of a high school student critical of Common Core that puts things in perspective. And I completely agree with this student’s point of view and criticism.