Well, as Common Core and the high stakes testing controversy heats up nationwide, more calls for accountability and of conflicts of interest emerge. We’ve seen Oklahoma Governor Fallin be called out for her dual role with the National Governors Association. This time in Massachusetts.
The School Committee voted unanimously to ask officials to review a conflict of interest involving Mitchell D. Chester, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The Peabody School Committee continues to be concerned about the new Common Core standards and is asking state officials to review a potential conflict of interest involving Mitchell D. Chester, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The School Committee voted unanimously to ask officials to review the conflict of interest because Chester also serves as chairman of the governing board for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, a consortium that developed the new assessment system that will likely replace the MCAS tests in 2015, reported The Boston Globe.
Breitbart restates the issue:
Mitchell Chester is both the Commissioner of the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education in Massachusetts and the national chair of the governing board of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of the two testing consortia, the role of which is to develop assessments aligned with the highly controversial Common Core centralized academic standards.
Have a gander at why this truly is a conflict with Chester’s involvement at PARCC and the money to be made there over at Mercedes Schneider’s blog. Schneider also gets into the CCSSO connection to PARCC and Pearson. Ah, the CCSSO – one of the two trade groups along with Acheieve Inc. who foisted the copyrighted Common Core on us. That leads me to point out, yet again, the conflict of interest right here in North Carolina with Dr. Atkinson serving as both NC State Superintendent of Schools AND President elect of the CCSSO.
Citizens are now becoming aware of this point, as seen in the public comments given at the meeting of the Common Core Legislative Research Committee meeting on March 20th. Check out the second speaker, parent Barbie Harper, at the 2:05 mark. Listen to her full comments.
“And parents are asking…which hat is Dr. Atkinson wearing in this embattled cause? President elect of CCSSO or State Superintendent?” (3:52 mark)
Which hat, indeed.
Here’s the full video:
I got to talk with a teacher yesterday. Her assertion was that the origins of “Common Core” was to say that a student would have the same material, and the same expectations, no matter where they went to school. No more of this “my kid switched schools and now they’re behind/ahead” stuff. She went on to say that the problem is that the process was hijacked by the next generation of “new math” and “open concept schools” people (my summation and terms).
So part of the frustration in the conversation with school admins is that they want to stick to that original premise of just standardizing the student experience and expectations. And I don’t care how much teachers complain (and they complain a lot), there needs to be some explicit expectations against which they and their students are graded.
The problem of course is that the thing got hijacked by the “Education business” along the way. All sorts of fanciful, faddish things seem to have been thrown in there. And this is what causes most of the outrage. But for various reasons, the administration seems to remain oblivious to what we’re seeing. Perhaps it’s because they’re used to the nonsense?
There is a fundamental flaw in having the same standards which in turn, create the same curriculum. That flaw is complacency. There is no motivation to have continuing development of best processes and it stifles creativity. It also doesn’t address how kids learn – it’s placing them all in the “middle” basket.
The math does indeed seem to be a return to the rejected “new math” we’ve seen in the past. Rigor does not equal making something harder or longer in process. Rigor should come AFTER the student has learned the basics and then extrapolations and higher skill sets can then be introduced.
But we have to have *some* standards. Said teacher yesterday told me that she’s had to tutor HONOR students in her math courses ’cause, upon reaching high school, they didn’t know their multiplication tables. Would it be fair to say, for instance, that all 4th graders MUST be expected to be proficient in multiplication tables, that it would be “advanced” for a 3rd grader, and by the end of the 5th grade said student would be “remedial” if they still weren’t proficient?
What happens with the lack of standards is pretty grim: Teachers teach whatever strikes their fancy, teachers teach to the standard of “what gives me the least grief from parents and makes me popular”, students think they’re doing well until they get to college, to name a few.
We had standards. They were decent and as will all things, should be continually improved on.
Common Core is not better and many states with superior standards were duped by the money incentive to take the Core.
Common Core dropped multiplication tables and cursive. The NCGA reinstated it.
Standards are standards – what matters is the teaching of the concepts in a proficient manner.