Common Core central planners strike again: “Let us tell you how to teach”

August 19, 2011

Writers of the new Common Core standards are explaining to teachers they will have to change the questions they ask their students in order to comply with these new standards.  Only questions that keep the discussion on the text, say about the Gettysburg Address, are to be asked.  Teachers must not accept students’ responses based on their backgrounds and experiences, as this will allow the discussion to veer away from the text.  See “Standards writers wade into curriculum,” Education Week August 10, 2011.

This level of micromanaging teachers is the next logical step for the central planners in Washington D.C.   Now that they have coerced 45 states to adopt these national Common Core standards as a condition of receiving federal money, they are moving on to their next steps:  one federal curriculum and one federal test to rule them all.  And don’t put it past them to issue detailed teaching guides for every teacher in America with a list of the proper questions to ask and acceptable and unacceptable student answers. 

It simply doesn’t work to micromanage the education of children from Washington D.C.  The education of a child is exquisitely personal and local.  Every child’s education is handcrafted.  The learning process cannot be mechanized, industrialized or centralized.  No amount of technology, no standards, no curricula, no test, no straightjacket over what kinds of questions to pose and answers to accept will improve the quality of education in this country.  A child learns when a caring adult speaks to him directly, calls him by name, and conveys knowledge from one mind to another. 

Even here in Washington state, the central planners in state government have tried to micromanage the education of the children attending over 2,000 schools in this state.  Since 1993 state lawmakers have spent over $5 billion on more than 80 education reform programs such as:  smaller class sizes, increasing teacher pay, Math Helping Corps, Math Initiative, Reading Grants, Promoting Academic Success and many others.  See our education reform plan, Appendix A.

How much more unrealistic are attempts by the federal government to control the teaching of the children in Mill Creek, Washington.     

Helping teachers teach by allowing them, not central planners, to choose the materials which work for their individual students would do much more for the students.  Decentralize education by letting teachers teach and principals lead.  This is the answer to improving the schools.  See our education reform plan.


Common Core

As a long-time progressive educational researcher who has been trying to figure out for a decade why we choose such misguided policies, and how to stop them, I'm amused to find how much we agree on.

I love the line "Every child’s education is handcrafted."

NCLB was federal overreach by people who have little understanding of teaching and learning, and CCSS will likely promote unhealthy conformity and further alienate teachers and de-motivate students.

I've been an early childhood teacher educator for 25 years, and I know homeschooled kids who learned to read without ever learning some of the supposedly "foundational" reading skills in the CCSS. How foundational are they if you can become a great reader without every learning them? And thus, why mandate them for all?

I wish you success in ending bureaucratic micromanagement of teachers, students, and families.

Quick question...

Where is the Tea Party Movement on this?

If the Tea Party Movement began before Obamacare because of the bailout mania of 2008-2009 and the Governors like Palin and Perry rejecting federal bucks because of the strings attached... why isn't this seen as the sparks for a Santelli Moment in 2011?

One thing I ask The Left and me is why wasn't there a Tea Party over No Child Left Behind when the NEA hates it so much?

Perhaps it's time for the left to grow a spine and realize that w/ more taxpayer money comes more regulation... that perhaps some if not all of the Tea Party fiscal views might have a grain of truth.