AFT Rides The Fence With Common Core

Over at Huffington Post, Randi Weingarten has an op-ed up. Weingarten rides the fence with this op-ed. It’s titled Tuning in to Teachers.  I wonder when we’ll see one called ‘Tuning into Students’?

Here’s the excerpt I was concerned with; emphasis added:

The most intense debate concerned the Common Core State Standards . Teachers have been told that these are an essential building block to help all students be ready for college and career, yet stories of inadequate resources and preparation for teachers and students were as legion as they were heartbreaking. The anger over the emphasis on testing and the profit-seeking developers of tests and textbooks as well as other “edupreneurs” was evident and justified.

That’s why some who object to the standards believe that they are being used to set up public education, kids and teachers for failure. Even with all of this, supporters said the standards–when properly resourced and supported–develop deeper learning, and help disrupt educational inequities by making essential skills and knowledge available to all children.

The passionate debate ended with two-thirds of the delegates in support of the standards’ potential, but calling for teachers and parents to have real input in their implementation; for officials to be held accountable for proper implementation; and reaffirming the call the AFT started in April 2013 for a moratorium  on the high-stakes consequences of Common Core-aligned assessments until the new accountability system envisioned here is in place. Officials who say they believe in the Common Core should heed these commonsense actions.

The standard’s potential? What potential? It’s a copyrighted set of flawed and experimental sentences strung together and paraded around – after adoption – with a shiny marketing campaign.

What this position boils down to is that Weingarten and AFT don’t want performance tied to Rottenecards_CommonCore3student scores on the Common Core tests. Rightfully so. Tests scores do not determine what some kids really know or are capable of, some are bad testers, the tests themselves have proven to be awful even for kids who breeze through class.

Having said that, AFT’s purpose is to focus on protecting teachers – it’s what they as an organization do. Teachers are supposed to be focused on teaching and protecting students. Common Core’s potential isn’t higher standards, it’s more of the same control tactics and string pulling by unelected and unaccountable trade groups and businesses. AFT needs to recognize that bit of ‘potential’.  AFT can’t ride the fence forever on this. At some point one side or another is going to knock them off of it.

 

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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