Parents Voice Concerns About Common Core: NY Dept of Ed Cancels Further HearingsTwo days ago, parents and teachers gathered at Spackenkill High School in Poughkeepsie, New York, for a public hearing to discuss the Common Core, with New York State Commissioner of Education, John King.
The bottom line is that the U.S. Department of Education badly wants national standards, but it is prohibited by law from influencing curriculum and instruction in the nation's schools.So, a deal is struck. Gates pays to create the CCSS, and Arne Duncan uses the power of the federal purse to push states and districts to adopt them, then uses his bully pulpit to warn that the future of the nation is in peril unless these very standards are swiftly implemented.
The problem is that all this happened so swiftly, and with so little public understanding, that the public is in the dark. A recent Gallup poll showed that most people never heard of the CCSS and had no idea what they were. Instead of taking a decade to build consensus, the Gates Foundation and the Department of Education plunged ahead.
Instead of developing a democratic process in which teachers, teacher educators, scholars, specialists in the education of children with disabilities, specialists in the education of English learners, and specialists in early childhood education were consulted at every step in the process; instead of trying out the standards to see how they work in real classrooms with real children, the Gates Foundation and the Department of Education took a shortcut.
I have an eight year old son with a giant imagination. He likes telling stories and creating things. He's extremely bright, but he's not the most book-smart kid. He's bright in other ways. He attends third grade in the Cornwall School District. He hates going to school. He hated it last year, and this year, with a great teacher, he's getting through it. The work that comes home, and the work that the teachers are being forced to teach, is so clinical and boring and confusing, that I refuse to believe that the coursework was written by people with degrees and/or experience in early childhood education. (cheers and applause). The coursework is geared towards the few kids in the class that would have done well in math regardless. The rest of the kids are being made to feel dumb and its abusive, with the kind of testing, and the fact that the teachers have no flexibility or time to do anything creative in their classrooms.I understand the need to make our children better in math and science, for the future of our country. But there is no reason why you need to affect every part of their schooling, which this Common Core is doing. Everything from the math work being made up of long-winded rails, to eight year-olds needing to learn proofreading marks as if they were getting a master's in teaching. I read in the New York Times article, where you attributed your path to some special teachers in your life, that had you play a sportscaster at a fake news desk. With this new curriculum there is no room for imagination or play as it's all business.All the kids are stressed out. The teachers in my district are scared for their jobs. They won't sway from the curriculum, they won't debate it or entertain any kind of talk about it to see if anything can be adjusted to make it more moldable. The three times this year that I brought up very specific problems with my son's amazing teacher about something that didn't seem right with the Common Core, I was told that my son needed to know this a certain way for the state tests - end of story. Mr. King, your children go to Montessori school... (applause)
While our goal was to provide an opportunity to learn and share, based on review of the initial October 10 meeting, the Commissioner concluded the outcome was not constructive for those taking the time to attend.