If there is one theme that comes to mind when thinking about the controversy surrounding the new Common Core Standards, it is let’s be careful to not throw the “baby out with the bath water.”
Each time we see a headline with a new pronouncement that weaves the latest protest over APPR, Data Privacy, and Testing with the Common Core Standards, we cringe and wish there was some way to help decision makers blinded by ambition and political timelines to understand they have created an atmosphere of mistrust and cynicism which has needlessly doomed an initiative that started out as a laudable and noble goal- to failure.
Despite the hype we have to ask….
What can be so bad about trying to do better?
What can be so bad about raising standards?
What can be so bad about agreeing to a body of knowledge that all our students need to know if
they are to reach the top rung on an increasingly longer educational ladder?
Instead, we are enmeshed in a tangled web that appears to be orchestrated towards attacking
teachers and public education with no thought to collateral damage. Or, no thought at all.
What else would explain testing students on material they haven’t been taught, evaluating
teachers on those tests, and then to top it off sending this information to a third party- for a
purpose no one is sure of?
The surprise is that there is any surprise that the whole thing is bogging down. This is becoming
New York’s version of a “traffic study.” Let’s move a few cones and see what happens. If not
headed off the only thing we will lead the country in, when it comes to education, is controversy
Our students, teachers and parents deserve better. They deserve the Common Core as it was
originally intended. Separate and unadulterated from political agenda. Learning targets that are
supported by a rich curriculum that frees teachers to foster deeper thinking and problem solving.
Meaningful assessment that informs instruction and provides a mechanism to improve
instructional practice. Once the foundation is in place the rest of the structure will more easily
Unfortunately the Common Core has fallen victim to guilt by association. We urge you to study
the standards independently and judge them on their own merits. We urge you to not
automatically “throw the baby out with the bath water.”