Published: Wednesday, July 9 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT
Starting with Reagan's, "A Nation at Risk" program, the republicans
have waged a war on public education. They have forced reforms down our throats
to privatize education for their campaign contributors and to focus on math and
science.This has increased the headache for teachers and students
alike. More red tape, more standardized testing, and less creative teaching. It
has been done purposely and with precision.Don't like the
direction that education is going? Stop voting republican.
To "FreedomFighter41" republicans didn't come up with Common Core.
That was a purely Democrat idea.Before anybody reconsiders their
view of CC, lets look at what it does to teaching. Not even considering
curriculum, it requires 1 week of test prep in the fall, and again in the
spring, and a week of testing after the test prep. That means that each school
year your kids will lose 20 days of teaching. They only get 180 days of
classroom time, so 20 days is 11% of their school year gone to just this one
test. The test does not take all day, but the disruption it causes turns those
days into non-teaching days.Next, consider the purpose of CC.
According to the CC web site, the tests are to be used to guide your children
through a managed economy. That is a nice way of saying that the government
will determine your child's career path.Here is a point all
will agree on. The cost of testing. Why are we going to spend more money on
testing? Many say we don't spend enough on teacher salaries, so why waste
money on testing?
I asked about Common Core at my recent Caucus meeting (I know... those evil
opportunities to gather with neighbors to discuss the issues of the day,
including politics)....But I digress... Anyway, the teachers in the
room expressed that they had no problem with the curriculum. It was not
different than we currently teach, just a lot more tests. Their main issue was
with the data mining, and having individual students identified in those
databases forever, with no means of opting out.They are my
neighbors. I know them. I trust their expertise and their opinion on
education. So I have decided Common Core is not a big problem... but the data
mining is.... So I'm going to keep bringing it up. Because all the
people who are up in arms about the NSA spying... should be WAY more concerned
about this. Microsoft, colleges, banks, credit companies, corporations, and
all their data partners they sell the data too, mining this data and making
hiring decisions, or customizing their marketing to you and your child. Just
seems creepy and 1984 big-brother-ish...
To those who think Common Core is a program of either the democrats or the
republicans, you are wrong. It is a produce of work by educators, supported by
coalitions of state governments. It is not a partisan product.
Good teachers know how to make reading exciting. Common Core -- like the
current Utah Core -- simply measures how good a job they and their students are
Its NOT a partisan thing. The problem for me is the "Big Government"
aspect. The lessening of local control and increase of National control over
education.The Constitution (yes that again)... says nothing about
public education. Not a word. The Constitution defines and limits the power of
government. This is an EXPANSION of government.Education IS
essential, but that public education shouldn't be micromanaged through
Washington. Comprehending why education appears nowhere in the Constitution is a
key to understanding why the American experiment in self-government is at once
so brilliant and so fragile.The founding fathers crafted a
constitution to establish a strong central government empowered to do certain
jobs the states could not manage effectively on their own. Providing a common
defense, ensure a contract signed in one state is binding in another, etc.But they also understood there were jobs the federal government could
NOT do better than the states, and hence should not do. Education was foremost
among them.We elect school boards because we believe local oversight
is better than deference to far-flung bureaucracies. And parents know what their
children need better than officials in distant capitols.
RedShirt -- I don't know where you got the information you quoted, but it
is simply totally wrong. At least it is in Utah, but you are from California.
I guess anything is possible there.
Redshirt has his information wrong? Gee, now that's a surprise! The drive to change our education system to an Asian system of endless
standardized testing and focuses on math and science began under Reagan and has
been promoted by repubs ever since. Here's an idea, let educators have
control of eduction! Why should the Koch bros or Gayle Ruzika have control? Why
should they have any say? Gayle has no say when it comes to telling doctors how
to do their jobs. So why should she have any say in telling teachers?
As I've said before, the common core won't revolutionize education in
any positive form, especially here in Utah, unless class sizes are reduced. I
would suggest that curriculum has always existed, I mean most teachers taught
something to their students before the core. The endless standardized testing
needs to stop. Besides killing a huge amount of class time and endless
resources to chase down absent students and taking them out of the classes they
attend to do these tests, this emphasis on testing is killing creative teaching
and creative learning from the students. Teachers use evaluations already, many
are actually authentic evaluations of learning that go beyond bubble tests.
I am less concerned about creative teaching than I am effective teachings. We
have 5 kids. Two attended a school that taught whole language (though they
claimed to teach phonics). My kids struggled for several years to learn to
read. The other three went to Challenger - all were reading well BEFORE first
grade. It was using the Challanger materials that helped the other two catch
up.While teachers may get masters degrees by coming up with new
programs, I simply want the teachers of my children to use what works. I have
seen the new math and half the time I cannot understand what they are even
asking. I teach my children how to solve the problem but then they get marked
wrong because they did not follow the illogical steps they are being taught in
school.How it is that with all of the technology and new programs we
have, literacy today is below the level of literacy at the time of the American
Revolution? Please less creativity and more teachers who know and can teach
their subjects. Likewise - we need more parents who actually pay attention to
their children's education.
Howard Beal nailed it.As someone who has actually fought in the
trenches (and not just listened to am radio) I know the importance of class
size. Many utahns just assume that increased spending in education will go for
salaries. Not true. We need to get the class size down. Real learning cannot
happen when class sizes are 40+. We don't need any more voucher nonsense,
$300 million dollar handouts for iPads, and endless evaluations and testing.
It's simple: lower class size and give the educators (the soldiers in the
trenches) the material they need to win this war.Becky Lockhart,
Howard Stephenson, Gayle Rusicka, and governor Herbert, get out of the way!
To "one old man" and "FreedomFighter41" I got that information
from the CC web site and the Utah Core web site. They are not hiding what they
are doing. It is thanks to the ignorance of the masses that don't bother
to actually dig and think about what they are saying that has allowed CC to
progress as far as it has.Tell us, what is a "managed
economy", and do you want your children and grandchildren to be raised in
one?As for Asia, they also have 20 to 40 days more of instruction at
school and are prone to have massive amounts of homework during breaks. If you
want to compare things, please find an equivalent culture to compare the US
to.Why should anybody beyond the principal and the parents in the
schools be dictating the curriculum in the schools?
I learned to read at home, which is why I love to read.
As a teacher with 32 years of experience, the current school climate of constant
testing is damaging to kids. And Common Core is exacerbating the problem.
Because of state and district requirements which are driven by the threat of
withdrawal of federal funding for those who do not comply, teachers now have
time to ONLY teach to the tests. I look at what I could do years ago (not fluff
but certainly more enriching to kids) and what I have to do now, and there is no
comparison. Yes, we need to evaluate student achievement, but not 80,000 times a
year. Adults in their daily jobs would rise up in rebellion if they had to do
what we expect the kids to do.
To "birder" will you please tell us how many hours and days of teaching
you lose to each of the standardized tests that our kids are required to take?
Maybe we should make sure our kids know the government will be using the results
of these tests to judge the worth of our kids (to society)?I'm
just being fictitious, but this kind of pressure IS put on elementary students
in Japan.Parents compete to get their kids in the toughest
pre-schools, so their kid will be well disciplined to perform better than other
students in their elementary school. Because how you perform on standardized
tests determines which high school you will be placed in. If you get super
high scores, you get placed in a high school that prepares students for college,
and a lottery-type chance of getting into the few elite Universities (if you
qualify for one of these elite Universities... your future is virtually
guaranteed).Score lower and you get placed in the
"technical" or "Agricultural" high school. Where you are
trained to be a drone on an assembly line, or work in the rice fields.No wonder they have such high parent AND student suicide rates after these
test scores are announced.
@Redshirt:We were required to give a practice test before each of the
three state-mandated SAGE tests. Each practice test took 60-90 minutes on the
computer. Same for each SAGE test. Also, my students had to spend 15-20 min
daily doing keyboarding practice so that they could keyboard well enough to do
the essay portions of the test. Most kids do not keyboard very quickly, and that
limits their ability to do well. Also, districts have the option of doing
preliminary SAGE testing in the fall. That doubles the testing time. We also had
to administer the Direct Writing Assessment, which was another 90 minutes of
testing plus many hours of prep. I didn't keep track of how many. That didn't include the district-mandated testing: Testing reading
levels monthly, 3 more computerized reading assessments, and 3 more
non-computerized reading assessments. We also had to do math pretests and post
tests plus math benchmarks 3 times per year. And we were supposed to do
additional math testing weekly. Then we had spelling and vocabulary assessments
weekly, plus testing in science and social studies. I've probably forgotten
some, but you get the idea.
To "birder" here is the question that will irritate many. By the end of
the year, do those tests tell you anything about each student that you
didn't already notice in their school work? In other words, what value
were the standardized tests in teaching the students?
Here's what testing might look at your average Utah high school.For years, the testing has shut down computer lab access for the last six
weeks to school (because of testing). This year over 400 students in our school
initially missed their testing. Since 98% of the students have to be tested by
law, the race is on to get the testing done before school is out. I would
anticipate that 5% of our student body misses school in any one day. Then many
come to school just to miss school. So all in all, an estimated one-fourth of
our student body missed one of the tests on the initial test dates. So what happens next? Well, they have to be tracked down and if they happen
to be in your class they often then have to miss your class, say Social Studies,
to take their English or Math or Science Sage Test. Often times, as birder
mentioned, the time needed to take these tests is quite substantial, and may
take up more than one class period. Of course, trying to teach with students
coming and going constantly is difficult.
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