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The COMMON CORE will fail because it is undemocratic

Written by a corporation's hand-picked stooges, without any teachers involved, illegally end-running around the government's rules--no wonder it's facing such push back. Process Matters in a Democracy: Common Core Fails the Test - Living in Dialogue - Education Week Teacher
Louisiana teacher and scholar Mercedes Schneider has done an amazing job tracking the details of the process by which the Common Core was developed, and some clear violations of democratic process are apparent. Process issue #1: As everyone (except Arne Duncan) now acknowledges, the Dept of Ed made an end run around the rule that forbade it from promoting national standards. Process Issue #2: The Common Core was written by a small group of people which did not include any experts in early childhood, or any classroom educators. The Gates Foundation paid a couple of non-profit organizations, the National Governor's Association, and the Chief Council of State School Officers, to preside over and lend their names to the Common Core Process. These organizations in turn hired a small group of individuals to actually write the standards. Schneider's report quotes testimony from Sandra Stotsky, who served on one of the Common Core validation committees: After the Common Core Initiative was launched in early 2009, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers never explained to the public what the qualifications were for membership on the standards-writing committees or how it would justify the specific standards they created. Most important, it never explained why Common Core's high school exit standards were equal to college admission requirements without qualification, even though this country's wide ranging post-secondary institutions use a variety of criteria for admission. Eventually responding to the many charges of a lack of transparency, the names of the 24 members of the "Standards Development Work Group" were revealed in a July 1, 2009 news release. The vast majority, it appeared, work for testing companies. Not only did CCSSI give no rationale for the composition of this Work Group, it gave no rationale for the people it put on the two three-member teams in charge of writing the grade-level standards.

October 16, 2013

"My Female Students Aren't Impressed With Me"

This is a lovely satire of male professors who prey on their students. My Female Students Aren't Impressed With Me
SMITTY: “I ask myself sometimes — what did I get this degree in comparative literature for, if not to intimidate and impress a bunch of young women who until very recently were still in high school?” HANK: “S’a good question. Damn good question.” HANK passes the bottle back to SMITTY. SMITTY: “Because I sure as hell didn’t get it to compare a bunch of literature.” They laugh. SMITTY: [softly, almost to himself] “Compare a bunch of literatures at each other.” HANK: “That’s not why I got into the business. No, sir. I got it so I could stand up in front of a group of mostly impressionable and anxious girls less than half my age and make them listen to me talk about how I proposed to my first fianc� and to deliver long, impassioned monologues about The Red Knight I memorized fourteen years ago.” SMITTY: “I didn’t mind the work, though, Hank. As long as I could go to bed at night knowing that at least one girl who feeds herself with a school-sponsored meal plan was impressed with me. That’s all the thanks I needed. The admiration of that girl who has very little to compare me to, and also tenure.” HANK: [solemnly] “And also tenure.”

October 11, 2013

Kindrgartners can't read or write, so why are they taking standardized exams?

Child Abuse in New York: Bubble Tests for Kindergarten | Diane Ravitch's blog
“Administering the exams is a complete headache, teachers said. “They don’t know how to hold pencils,” said a Bronx kindergarten teacher whose class recently took the Pearson exam. “They don’t know letters, and you have answers that say A, B, C or D and you’re asking them to bubble in . . . They break down; they cry.” “Because the little test-takers don’t know their numbers, teachers direct them to find each question by an image printed next to the answers. “Education Department officials insist that the 32 early elementary schools don’t have to give the kindergarten test yet — though they are required to administer it by this spring. But officials also acknowledged schools may not realize they can wait a few months. “At the same time, officials defended the use of multiple choice as an an easy way for even kindergarten teachers to learn how much their students know at the beginning of the year. “Teachers should have access to multiple tools that they can use in a variety of ways to diagnose what students already know and what they need help with,” said Nancy Gannon, executive director of academic quality for the Education Department.