“I pretty much agree with everything you've said. I'm not sure I understand your outrage.
To clarify my resource sharing point: the best thing Common Core does is encourage collaboration and the sharing of resources. Under the classic model, individual districts spend millions of dollars on their own curricula, padding the profits of giant for-profit educorps that spend more money on advertising than innovation. If we can get each of those districts to contribute to shared, open curricula, they can save millions of dollars per year. It's not close to the resources they need, but it's a start.
Also, I should clarify that when I talk about districts sharing, modifying, and improving open curricula, I'm ultimately talking about teachers doing that work. I don't think of teachers and districts as necessarily being at odds with each other in this regard.”
lhpartridge on Aug 21, 2013 at 18:12:57
“Perhaps I misread your intent. I took your comments to mean that you thought that collaboration among different entities would somehow offset the lack of resources that affects schools like mine. I mentioned stress several times, and that was likely one of the factors causing me to overreact. I should know better and make sure that I defrag after work before responding to any posts! Mea culpa, PA.”
“There's no phrase conservatives love better than "failure of American/public education," because every time it's uttered a liberal loses his/her nerve to try to find an answer.
The great thing about Common Core is that it doesn't pretend to be the answer, because, truly, no two-word phrase could ever be the answer to all of the challenges facing public education, just as the two word phrases "good teachers" or "proper funding" can't. (Well, proper funding probably would, but I don't want to wait for that to happen before I start seeing improvement.)
Common Core is only a start. Common Core is about creating a framework for sharing successful educational strategies and curricula. Already districts and states nationwide are using the Common Core framework to begin the process of creating truly open educational materials, sharing them freely.
Where NCLB forced districts, schools, and even teachers, to be competitive, CC encourages schools to be collaborative. That's an imperative change in mindset. Collaboration is the only way public education can succeed in the future, because it's the only way to stop the flow of money to for-profit education corporations.
Ultimately, the good classroom practices you describe shouldn't be reserved for the schools in high-income neighborhoods in wealthy suburbs, where your solution of proper funding and creative teachers is already working wonders. They should be freely shared and implemented everywhere, even where resources are thin, even where good teachers struggle to serve their high risk students.”
lhpartridge on Aug 20, 2013 at 22:16:44
“Part 4. The real downside of the Common Core standards is that the intended use in our state and many others is to label the teachers as failures based on the scores of these poor children in order to non-renew them and replace them with cheap new teachers who won’t question the practice because they won’t know the research. The research consistently shows that the fastest way to change a teacher’s effectiveness ratings is for the teacher to change to a school with a different socioeconomic profile. Any teacher who points this out is encouraged to find a school that is a “better fit.”
Like so many reforms that came before it, the Common Core is a blend of good and bad, old and new. Experienced teachers know that. Just let us teach and help the new teachers become great teachers too. In order to do that, I need money.”
lhpartridge on Aug 20, 2013 at 22:16:17
“Poor kids need great teachers too. There are many top-quality professionals in a variety of careers who would make excellent teachers, and who have the desire to teach, but who want to live the kind of life that a six-figure IT professional would make, or an accountant, or financial planner—good money and little stress. These people don’t want to work in the kinds of deprived circumstances that I do, where a classroom wall’s friable asbestos is finally being plastered over after six years of rapidly increasing decay and where most computers are outdated and on the verge of breaking down. No one has ever provided the teachers of poor inner-city kids with that kind of salary, and the stress is unbelievable, so we continue to attract bright-eyed TFA-types who stick around for two years (maybe), lowly incompetents who passed the exams, and great people who stick around for one year before they find something less stressful. Thank God there is a strong backbone of veteran teachers who know the families and the school.”
lhpartridge on Aug 20, 2013 at 22:15:14
“Part 2. I teach in the inner city, one school for 21 years, and in all that time, it has NEVER had even minimally adequate resources. We don’t need your “good classroom practices.” We need the RESOURCES—physical and human. Our students have not been hot-housed since before birth as so many kids are these days, resulting in world class performance from our wealthy and suburban schools. If you remove the poverty-stricken children from educational comparisons, our students are doing quite well. It would be fair for international comparisons, as our children’s neighborhoods resemble those in third-world countries more than they resemble wealthy neighborhoods just miles from their homes. It is a fact that in the United States we tolerate childhood poverty, begrudgingly, even while claiming that poor children have no excuses for not performing at the same high levels as those hot-housed children.”
lhpartridge on Aug 20, 2013 at 22:13:03
“This jumped out at me: “Already districts and states nationwide are using the Common Core framework to begin the process of creating truly open educational materials, sharing them freely.” First of all, it is clear to anyone who knows the business side of educational materials that the sharing has a negotiated price tag and most definitely is not free. But more importantly, this states that the teachers are to use materials that they has no say in creating. Teaching is a creative activity, and it is imprudent to take that task away from teachers.
Here’s another: “Collaboration is the only way public education can succeed in the future, because it's the only way to stop the flow of money to for-profit education corporations.” Teachers caution students about using adverbs like “always” or “never.” I’m sure you could think of another way or two to stymie the education profiteers who appear to be the intended beneficiaries of the current education policies.
It was your last statements, though that outraged me: “Ultimately, the good classroom practices you describe shouldn't be reserved for the schools in high-income neighborhoods in wealthy suburbs, where your solution of proper funding and creative teachers is already working wonders. They should be freely shared and implemented everywhere, even where resources are thin, even where good teachers struggle to serve their high risk students.””