Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Latest in the Common Core Controversy

Apparently, the Department of Education and the Governor's Association, along with the organization of school boards, have woken the sleeping giant - Common Core critics. They are coming from all sides in this battle which has managed to align the Tea Party with the teacher's unions. With that weird re-aligning of the planets, it would seem natural to take a step back and evaluate the situation before proceeding.

Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute has been following the Common Core/PARCC testing debacle very closely, and he offers the simple pragmatic advice to "Not Fear the Moratorium." Common Core advocates are adamant that the standards be implemented and that testing begin as soon as possible. But, the recent drop in test scores in New York, and the widening of the achievement gap, indicate that being too hasty with the new standards and tests could, in fact, derail some pretty reasonable education reform.

And, from the teaching standpoint, it's worth being cautious about implementation, especially when new research indicates that many CommonCore-aligned materials are turning out to be a bunch of hooey. And, regarding class materials, the Department of Education can't even get the story straight, when people like Arne Duncan imply the standards won't impact curriculum. It seems like teachers are getting suspicious, especially when the teachers unions are starting to push back and ask tough questions. If you lose the teachers, and the parents, you're going to lose the argument.

The debate rolls on.

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