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03 June 2014 @ 08:02 pm
What's good for the goose is apparently not for the CCSS  
The Fordham Institute whose motto is "advancing educational excellence," recently published another piece in support of CCSS: http://edexcellence.net/articles/intellectual-coherence-and-common-core. Largely ignoring the criticism being levels by others who, I would argue, are also in pursuit of educational excellence, this pieces spends more time attacking wheat they label as practices that are bad, have no basis in research, and cause harm to students ultimately. They mention specifically writers workshop which they ascribe to Teachers College for some reason they never provide. Here is a teaching approach that, "downplays grammar but obsesses about the “process” of writing (a process that’s not based in any research)..."

This is strangely familiar territory (and it should be given Chester Finn's role in this piece and in his past attacks on educational practices). And it points to the incredible ignorance of the authors. Ignorance that causes them to assert a workshop approach has no research underlying its pedagogy. Ignorance about the process of writing. Ignorance about the role of grammar and how it should be learned.

Somehow, math approaches that use calculators and teach everyday applications of math are also suspect. The true reason behind the CCSS boils down to this: "The only answer that makes sense to us is for a state to make sure that its math and reading standards are clear, coherent, and rigorous; that its tests line up with those standards; that its schools and educators are held to account for getting better results in terms of real student learning; and that research is done to examine the effectiveness of various curricular products. In other words, you encourage the use of the good stuff—and make shoddy results more obvious when you use stuff that doesn’t work. That’s precisely the strategy behind the Common Core."

Again, this statement contains the usual misinformation. Let's begin with the fact that CCSS did not invent standards let alone standards that are rigorous, clear, and coherent (and I am ignoring the fact that many standards are far from clear and coherent). Next, of course, is the mention of TESTING and accountability. It seems to me that the stats on NCLB, which made similar claims, prove it has not worked, not at all. The first couple of years of CCSS appear to be bust if we pay attention to these tests which do not yet count, too.

But that actually again places emphasis on testing as assessment and ignores other measures and means of assessment. What I find most laugh-inducing is the mention of textbook companies like PEARSON as textbook oligopolies ignoring that Pearson has cornered the market on much of the CCSS testing already.

For an article about coherence, this piece has no internal coherence. It is, instead, contradiction after contradiction in defense of a failed CCSS. But these folks will go down with this sinking ship rather than head back to the work table and try to produce documents that might guide a prices rather than impose a set of standards that defy what we know to be true.
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