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24 April 2014 @ 11:46 am
Our Mister Brooks  
Okay, many of you are too young for the reference in the title, but it matters not. David Brooks is the latest to offer his two cents about CCSS in tis editorial: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/opinion/brooks-when-the-circus-descends.html?_r=2. You have to love how simple it is for Brooks to indicate why folks are pulling back from CCSS: "This is what seems to be happening to the Common Core education standards, which are being attacked on the right because they are common and on the left because they are core." Yes, Mr. Brooks, we are critical of CCSS because they are core. The core of an apple is inedible; we cannot swallow it without choking. So perhaps you are correct, Mr. Brooks. But you proceed to do the exact same thing every other CCSS supporter and architect has done: color critics as somehow opposed to doing what is best for the kids.

However, Mr. Brooks, you are mistaken on quite a few counts. I guess maybe there needs to be a CCSS for journalists and op-ed writers, something that guarantees you are career-ready, that you know how to do your homework, get facts straight, investigate? You observe that it will take time for tests to be aligned with CCSS. Guess what, Mr. Brooks? Those tests are already being administered. Guess what else? Students are not demonstrating they college and career ready. Nor are they test ready. As for textbooks, sir, they are springing up already. So is PD and the professional books and webinars and more. All of the folks who can cash in on CCSS are doing so (check out Pearson for instance).

As for the criticism from some that kids are being asked to perform at a developmentally inappropriate level, you, Mr. Brooks respond thusly, "But that is a feature, not a bug." Really, a feature? Something about which we should be proud, something to tout? Look, everyone, we are frustrating kids by asking them to do things they are not ready to do developmentally. Watch them cry? Watch them get sick? How wonderful!

On you go, though, Mr. Brooks, "The idea that the Common Core is unpopular is also false. " You cite some stats. I can cite some, too. As a matter of fact, sir, I looked at some of these surveys, and they do not paint such a rosy picture. And did you know, Mr. Brooks, that teachers in some of the CCSS states ares being told they may NOT be critical of CCSS in posts or presentations or anywhere. I wonder how free expression factors in, sir? Don't you?

The final stab, a betrayal to many of us, is to conclude that we are resistant to change. Mr. Brooks, you could not be more wrong. Those of us who have been in education for a long time (38 years for me) have seen plenty of change. We have seen teaching to the test, constant benchmarking, and so much more. Most recently, we have seen folks with ZERO teaching experience enter into our field and demand we "reform" using their plans. Does that happen to you often, I wonder, sir? Do people come into journalism and insist on wholesale changes without any benefit of knowledge in your profession. Do you afford them, Mr. Brooks, the opportunity to change what you are doing to what THEY think you should be doing instead?

Yes, indeed, the circus is in town. And you, sir, have just become one of the clowns.
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