The blogger buzz this past weekend concerned an angry audience voicing concerns about Common Core Standards (CCS). It took place at a Poughkeepsie, New York town hall meeting with the state’s Ed. Commissioner Dr. John King. Indignant parents and teachers listened to King for 1 hour and 40 minutes then, with their meager left-over 23 minutes, they bombarded him with their dissatisfaction concerning CCS. The YouTube, embarrassingly entitled, “Commissioner King Gets Spanked” shows it all http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_Eiz406VAs.
King, who only taught a short time, and never in a traditional public school, could not respond fast or effectively enough to satisfy these savvy parents and teachers. Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet highlights New York high school principal and award winner Carol Burris for a fascinating and more complete history of the problems in New York and what is happening with King http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/10/13/how-new-yorks-education-commissioner-blew-it-principal/.
After the meeting ended, one would think, based on the angry audience reaction, state education leaders would go back to the drawing board to rearrange their priorities. You would expect them to include some of these New York parents and teachers on a board to consider the problems caused by CCS, or back off of the overall push for the program to be implemented so quickly, if at all. Perhaps, you’d assume, they’d at least try some pilot testing to locate difficulties in the program on a smaller scale. Wouldn’t that be what you would do in a democratic government? Public schools are, after all, one of the last American democratic institutions. Are they not? Instead, King called off the other town hall meetings http://www.newsday.com/long-island/state-education-chief-suspends-li-town-hall-meeting-1.6246532. I think this speaks volumes as to what parents and teachers are up against not just in New York but throughout the country.
So why were parents and teachers upset to begin with? What kinds of questions and concerns did they bombard King with to make him run away from those closest to the students and call them “special interests”? Here are a list of a key words and phrases that I heard from parents and teachers. They may or may not be exact quotations, and I don’t credit each individual. The greatness at this meeting seemed to me to be how all these parents and teachers came together. Individually and collectively their words are powerful. By all means watch the video. The statements were all about the Common Core….
It underestimates the student’s ability to learn.
Our students already do well when you compare them to other students.
It is top down. Why not include those most affected?
You are giving reform a black eye.
Kids don’t have hobbies or extracurricular activities.
It is experimentation.
It is not developmentally appropriate.
It is rushed.
It is poorly developed.
Students are not data points.
There are mystery exams not written.
How do math teachers implement a 1,000 page curriculum several days before it is to be taught?
No independent party checked the standards.
There is corporate greed.
It can’t stop data piracy.
We can’t put money into quality learning.
There is a delusion it is working.
My child hates going to school.
Work is so boring and confusing.
The wording is so clinical it is hard to believe educators wrote it.
Some kids understand, but the others are made to feel dumb.
Students need to learn proofreading marks.
There is no room for imagination.
It asks children to learn things they can’t comprehend.
You are messing with the teachers.
The same people who make the test make the materials.
The district is forced to spend the budget—chunk of change—they didn’t have.
Class sizes are larger.
There are fewer field trips.
There is too much of a college focus.
It has stolen the student’s right to a meaningful education.
It makes me mad.
It makes me sad.
It doesn’t consider individual needs.
Things are crazy this year.
Children are angry.
Children hate school.
Childhood should not be this difficult.
It compromises professionalism and integrity of teachers.
Professionals are feeling bullied.
It doesn’t challenge students creatively.
I’m not sure junior college is what I want for my child.
The bottom is falling out.
There are fewer support services.
There is less of the arts and enrichment.