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Monday, February 23, 2015

The nightmare that Common Core has become

From Scathing Purple Musings by Bob Sykes:

The nation is constantly told by a what’s become a shrinking, but still influential few that Common Core Standards “will prepare students to compete in a global workforce.”
Such seedy used car sales sloganeering when coupled with the realities of what’s going on in classrooms and homes across the nation. In Florida, the chickens have come home to roost. Jeanelle Wellhoner, a fifth grade teacher in Ocala pens an essay for the Ocala Star-Banner  which provides a glimpse of the nightmare.
 I taught you three different ways to divide multidigit numbers except the one way everyone else in the world was taught. I tried my best to teach it to you, but since I was never taught this way, I know I confused you quite a bit. When you went home to your mom and dad confused as to how to solve a division problem with pictures and partial quotients, your parents — out of desperation — showed you how they were taught. We call that the standard algorithm, which in Common Core is a dirty word in fifth grade.
And then, I did the unthinkable. I gave you a zero because you didn’t do it my way, the Common Core way. I told you to use partial quotients, and you didn’t. I told you to draw a model, and you didn’t. I didn’t care that you got them all right. You got your correct answer the wrong way. I watched your face fall and tears well up in your eyes. I felt terrible, but I had to do it because that’s how you’re going to be tested on division.
And then, I expected you to turn improper fractions into mixed numerators, but I didn’t teach you the standard algorithm for division, which made it that much more difficult for you. How could I have expected you to do that when I didn’t teach you how to divide easily in the first place?
I did this to you with every single math skill I taught. No, you can’t do it your parent’s way. You must do it my way. My way is the right way; your way is the wrong way. I don’t care if your answer is right. I don’t care if it doesn’t make any sense. I don’t care if it takes you 20 minutes per problem instead of one. I watched your self-esteem plummet.
“…will prepare students to compete in a global workforce.”
Jeb Bush could hardly be brought to utter the words, “Common Core,” at his education summit earlier this month just less than a  year after he put the muscle of his foundation behind a TV campaign to educate the public on Core’s “benefits and superiority.”
And make no mistake, these are Jeb Bush’s Common Core Standards. Education Commissioner Pam Stewarts’s tweaks was nothing more than a name change. Jeb’s new tests will be taken by Florida students this spring and a disaster awaits.  WFTV report
Channel 9 found out there could be some big problems with a standardized test that Florida paid Utah $5 million for.
Several Utah lawmakers are working to get rid of the test amid complaints that the questions can be confusing or misleading.
“A lot of the questions are difficult, even for an educated adult to answer,” said Utah Rep. Justin Fawson.
The Florida Standards Assessment, which is call called SAGE in Utah, is all online and requires a lot of skills with a computer mouse to drag, drop and click.
Florida has not paid to teach children typing skills.
In Utah, about six out of every 10 children failed it and some worry that means the test itself is flawed.
“One of the legislators in Utah, he said if we’re going down the road the wrong way, you don’t step on the gas,” said Orange County School Board member Linda Kobert.
Kobert fears that as of now, students could be held back or given remedial work based on a test that hasn’t been tested itself yet.
“Can you imagine if more than 50 percent are deemed not to be at grade level and they don’t change legislation to allow these children to advance a grade, or require remediation and pull kids out of classes?” she said.
With Jeb Bush’s top policy wonk, Patricia Levesque savaging state school boards for wanting to pause school grades for a year for just this reason, its clear that they ma want to use the “failing schools” meme again. Meanwhile, the republicans and policymakers who work for Bush and Levesque have established a private school voucher system which doesn’t have to take the same tests.
I wonder if they’d object if public school parents put their kids in a TV spot to explain how bad common core and those new tests are. Or maybe if public school parents take their kids out of school one day, put them in red scarves and parade them to Tallahassee on a school day.

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