Common Core Smackdown

Actually it was much more civilized than that.  You can see below my discussion with Mike Petrilli on the pros and cons of Common Core (national) standards.

10 Responses to Common Core Smackdown

  1. Greg Forster says:

    I’m prepared to recant my entire critique of Fordham in honor of their brilliant deployment of the theme from Mike Tyson’s PUNCH-OUT!!

  2. Daniel Earley says:

    Hmm… last time I saw this it was called Jurassic Park. The clash between the prudently insightful researcher played by Jeff Goldblum vs. the enthusiastic, short-sighted park’s founder, as reenacted below. Ponder the similarities.

  3. Ze'ev Wurman says:

    We could achieve all the benefits of a more unified standards approach by having truly voluntary multiple (5-10) consortia, much along the lines of NECAP, while keeping variety and competition alive. Instead we are hurtling from one extreme of 50 standards to another, of a single (untested) set of standards for more than 300 million people. It makes absolutely no sense. It it were, we would be already hurtling along the path of eliminating all state laws to come up with a single unified set of “common” state laws. Have we gone mad?

  4. Matthew Ladner says:

    Mike and Fordham are to be commended for putting this up on their website.

    Having said that, it is clear to me that the answer to Mike’s question “why not try this when most state standards are bad?” is simply “because all state standards will be bad.”

    I also agree with the point Jay made about an overemphasis on standards. I do think standards are important, and tests more important still, but some of the faith placed upon standards alone as an improvement strategy strike me as utterly naive.

    For example, California usually grades out as having solid standards, but shows very large variation in outcomes by teacher in LA Unified:

    All of these teachers used the same state standards. It could be that the bell curve would shift to the left without those standards, but it seems evident that standards are not sufficient to obtain positive outcomes by themselves.

    • Patrick says:

      And Nevada students outperform California students on all but one of the NAEP tests…. No one applauds Nevada for its system of public education.

  5. allen says:

    One of the unmentioned problems of a centrally-developed standard is that it necessarily moves the standards development process away from those with the greatest claim on a desire for strong, worthwhile standards – parents.

    Without the gravitational attraction of parental concern to anchor standards to reality the development of standards becomes the province of the educational rabbinate, which has hardly acquitted itself admirably over the decades, and the politically-motivated like teacher’s unions who definitely have no interest in strong standards.

    Another problem with such imposed-from-on-high standards is that they press the floor and ceiling together. Having climbed the mountain of the standard the natural reaction is to lay down and take a nap.

    Without a competitive component where’s the impetus to, not only reach the standard, but to beat the school down the street? Parents will intrinsically supply a competitive component but the desire to send junior to the best school around is frustrated when just meeting the standard is all any school need do. Innovation now consists of gaming the standard so as to meet it with the least effort and the least pain.

    Standards of any sort don’t address the basic problem which is that the public education system is a politics-centered institution. Until public education becomes a parent-centered institution all the same problems will remain or, if temporarily displaced, come creeping back.

  6. Student of History says:

    The naivete Petrilli demonstrates is truly alarming.

    No wonder Fordham’s ratings have become the sword and shield for the basic skills as the ceiling, changing affective behavior as the goal of school crowd. Utopia means nowhere yet the ideal goal is allowed to distract from the increasingly real implementation nightmare.

    The Fordham ratings about content are the sword that gets politicians to adopt the standards.

    Fordham’s review then becomes a shield that protects the actual implementation from scrutiny even though it is very different from what is known about how to teach the academic content and skills effectively.

    When taxpayers and parents demonstrate the variance, their warnings are disregarded because “Fordham gave us a B” or “Fordham says these are the 4th best math standards in the country”.

    This time though the state tests and the nationally normed tests that tell us something is wrong are being rejected as we move to these subjective methods of assessing using “learning tasks” and rubrics.

    What is Petrilli’s response to ETS declaring that these new assessments adopt a “theoretical conception of learning”?

    This is nuts.

  7. There are still private schools that can act as the laboratory for new ideas, as well as other countries that can give us new ideas for curriculum.

    The common core is not required. States can choose to implement them or not.

  8. […] me start by saying that I share most of Jay Greene’s reservations about the Common Core State Standards. Over the past couple of years, I have had the opportunity to discuss these concerns with many […]

  9. […] me start by saying that I share most of Jay Greene’s reservations about the Common Core State Standards. Over the past couple of years, I have had the opportunity to discuss these concerns with many […]

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