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22 September 2013 @ 08:19 am
Attacking Dissent  
I can recall clearly when George Bush declared that if we were not behind his move toward war then we were terrorist sympathizers. I recall when Rod Paige declared that teachers were terrorists when they dared question the wisdom of NCLB. And now Jeb Bush is at it, using these same tired tactics about CCSS: http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/blog/jeb-bush-common-core-critics-if-youre-comfortable-mediocrity-fine. Just the title of the headline on this article lets readers know immediately than any dissension in the ranks means we favor mediocrity over excellence. Here is a wonderfully ironic quote given his support for NCLB in the past: "But the simple fact is, no one can defend the lower standards that we have across this country." He asserts quite a bit in this brief report. He declares that we need to challenge all assumptions or run the risk of destroying our country. He states that the states came to CCSS voluntarily and individually because they wanted higher standards. And he suggests that the standards are "fewer, higher, and deeper."

Well, Mr. Bush, I DO dissent. I disagree that states came to CCSS voluntarily since there were all kinds of monetary incentives to get them there. I will disagree that standards are higher and deeper than ever before. You see, I have been in education for almost 40 years. I know better. And I also disagree that criticizing CCSS means I prefer mediocrity over excellence. What I DO value is RESEARCH over politics. What I decry is the throwing of the baby out with the bathwater routine one more time (remember back when we had to dismiss whole language in favor of phonemic awareness? remember when read aloud research was left out of the "scientific" studies included to support NCLB initiatives?). So, reading for pleasure, listening to read alouds, choice, and so much more are going out the door as frustrated and frightened folks implement CCSS in an almost willy-nilly way. It seems that having fewer and deeper and higher standards is still confusing to all save the makers of the assessments.

The one advantage age gives me is a 20-20 vision of the road we have already traveled. Been there, Done that. I might need glasses to see the fine print, but I know it is there. And I know that you will move on to some other topic eventually whereas teachers will be stuck in the quagmire being produced by the push to get CCSS into classrooms long after you are focused on something else.

If we wish to teach our students about logic and reasoning and how NOT to argue a case, we might begin with these declarations by those who support CCSS without really understanding its impact on the most important resource we have: the kids.
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Ryan M. Hannarantryan on September 22nd, 2013 01:58 pm (UTC)
This post rings so true. I am so sad right now.
Gary AndersonAndersonGL on September 22nd, 2013 03:07 pm (UTC)
Another One
Yes, ma'am. These people are walking fallacies.

Another either/or asshat is self-proclaimed PLC guru Rick DuFour who says that any teachers who do not follow his canned formula for collaboration are isolationists invested in a "shroud of privacy and personal autonomy." It's interesting that his collaboration formula is perfectly designed to process CCSS data while simultaneously undercutting teachers' ability to make decisions for their own classrooms.

Gary