(Guest Post by Sandra Stotsky)
Congress badly needs independent feedback on the very costly jar of snake oil that the USDE has enticed 46 clueless state boards of education into purchasing, with many national organizations handsomely funded by the Gates Foundation assisting in the seduction. Congress could do no better than speak to some of the many teachers and administrators across the country who, according to Catherine Gewertz’s June 29 blog titled “Educators Don’t Understand Common Standards, Boards Told,” don’t see differences between their previous standards and Common Core’s standards, adopted by these state boards this past year.
At http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2011/06/educators_dont_understand_comm.html Gewertz reported on a meeting for members of state boards of education designed to help them learn how to implement Common Core’s standards. Speaker Susan Tave Zelman, once Ohio’s superintendent of instruction, tried to warn attendees about the core problem. According to Gewertz, she said that “most folks just don’t understand how the new standards are different from the one’s they’ve already got.” “You’ve got to… make clear what is different between your current standards and the common core standards.” “I’m telling you, out there people don’t see the differences.”
Educational disaster is farce, as well. The sponsors of the meeting assured them that the biggest problem they face is “communication” and that the James B. Hunt Institute in North Carolina has secured a public-relations consultant to help them convince educators in their state to support their newly adopted standards.
However, it is not unreasonable for teachers and administrators to see little difference between the standards they had and what they now have. First, as the Thomas B. Fordham Institute has pointed out repeatedly, based on its evaluations of state standards for over a decade, most states had poor to mediocre standards. Second, according to CCSSO and the NGA, the states also helped to shape Common Core’s standards (often with the help of the very same “experts” and organizations that developed their poor to mediocre state standards). Given the non-transparent process CCSSO and NGA used to develop and validate Common Core’s standards, why should teachers and administrators now scrutinizing Common Core’s standards for the first time see significant differences between the poor to mediocre standards they had and the standards they must now prepare to use?
If the new standards are much better than the old ones, why weren’t these differences pointed out to state board members at the meeting? After all, educators in these 46 states are being asked to spend en enormous amount of time and money learning how to use the array of test instruments, curriculum materials, technologies, and professional development aligned to Common Core’s standards.
Isn’t it time for state board members to justify to educators in their own state the decision they made to adopt Common Core’s standards as their state’s standards this past year? How many state boards have requested to review drafts of the curriculum models, guidelines, and other materials, as well as the specifications for the tests themselves, as part of their responsibilities? State boards of education, whether elected or appointed, should be as accountable to the teachers and school administrators in their state as the latter are going to be to the USDE for making all students college-ready by the end of high school. Teachers may begin to wonder how many of their board members ever read Common Core’s standards before adopting them.
I’m in NH where the state standards were horrible. What I find amazing is, no one held the Gov. responsible for that. When the local newspaper questioned the DOE on the “F” rated history standards, they said they set MINIMUM standards to the schools would have local control. Now that they supposedly upped the standards with Common Core, will they now say they diluted local control by improving the standards?? Don’t count on it.
The reason for trying to make Common Core appear so different is to support their claims of needed ancillary materials/assessments to go with them. States with pinched budgets need a little reassuring you know…
Educrats have always been very accomplished at marketing their existence… and the snake oil they peddle.
[…] at Jay Greene’s blog, Sandra Stotsky riffs off an Education Week report about educators around the country not seeing the difference between […]
The CCSS are not much different than the previous standards of many states. Alabama’s standards were a 96% match to the CCSS. My own state of Washington was an 85% match. Certainly Mass, Calif, Indiana and many other states followed the CCSS closely. The fact is that there is nothing unique or magical about the CCSS. They offer very little that is new and will have little or no impact on education in America despite all the ill informed optimism.
Bob, that’s a new one on me. Most people seem to agree that state standards 1) vary widely, and 2) are generally poor, with Massachusetts being the noteworthy exception. Neither of those could be logically reconciled with your view here. Question for information – seriously, this is not rhetorical: Is it your view that Massachusetts’ standards are not much different from those in the rest of the nation?
[…] Time for state boards of education to sing!!! Sandra Stotsky July 5th, 2011 Jay P. Greene’s Blog Share this: This entry was posted in CCSS Content, Common Core State Standards. Bookmark the permalink. ← Another Call to Action. Register Your Written Opposition to Common Core Standards. […]