Jul 18 2014

Common Core, Testing, Beck, what the heck?

Published by at 12:47 pm under Uncategorized

I went to a movie yesterday, and there was an advertisement before the trailers for an organization/event launched by Glenn Beck to take down Common Core. It’s called “We Will Not Conform”.

I’m definitely not an expert in Common Core’s principles or implementation, but I know a bit about it through my wife’s work with one of the people who created CC, and I know that those two things — principle and implementation — are not the same.

The Principles of CC are sound in my opinion. They mostly have to do with using texts in a more integrated way than “read and regurgitate,” understanding how knowledge scaffolds and what kids need to know to be college-ready.

Because the “what kids need to know” part of the standards boils down to “quite a bit, actually,” there has been an inordinate amount of focus put on testing whether kids know what they’re supposed to at each stage. which sounds sort of reasonable in a vacuum, but in the real world it often translates into schools making teachers “teach to the test,” which sucks in SO MANY ways.

I believe CC can be implemented in a good way, but I’m sure it’s a bit harder, and requires forward-thinking administrators to make it work. And I’m worried that may be too big an ask from our educational system as a whole. What do you think?

Did I make it sound like Glenn Beck was just against testing? No, not only that, he and his supporters believe CC is a tool of the liberal intelligentsia to indoctrinate everyone’s kids throughout the country with liberal values. Yep. Again, I think the political content can be separated from the basic CC principles, but on the other hand, it seems quite possible that he’s right. Most of the people writing content for CC are probably using the latest consensus ideas about climate change, American history, multicultural literature, tolerance, and so on. If CC makes it harder to shelter your kids from all of THAT, then is that a good thing or a bad thing?

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Common Core, Testing, Beck, what the heck?”

  1. Chris Son 18 Jul 2014 at 1:09 pm

    When the Texas Republican Party writes in its 2012 platform that it opposes teaching “critical thinking skills” to children, that inadvertently reveals what they believe constitutes “liberal indoctrination”.

  2. Mike Lewison 18 Jul 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Gareth,

    I think you’re right on the money. The principles are sound. Common Core asks that we provide content conceptually and that we teach students critical-thinking habits. I’m sorry that Glenn Beck characterizes that as liberal. But I’m even more sorry our education system couldn’t prepare such a talented speaker like Beck to graduate from college.

    The question of whether or not the Common Core is too much to ask of our educational system is a sad one. Our schools are filled with the best and brightest minds humanity has ever known. A generation with the world at its fingertips. After spending the week at conference with 700 teachers from around the country, of all ages, from all walks of life. From the morning’s keynote to the evening patio party, conversations about teaching buzzed with excitement.

    The debate over the Common Core’s merit has deteriorated into the noise we’ve become accustomed to. The good news, plenty of people are too busy sharing great ideas about education all over the internet. Or as M. Gustave would say, “You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity.”

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