"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Not quite what I was trying to say: Comments about the Common Core Standards and Tests


Not quite what I was trying to say: Comments about the Common Core Standards and Tests
Stephen Krashen

I was quoted in an article in the NY Times about David Coleman’s appointment as head of the College Board. I had sent the reporter written statements and a few of my short articles before the interview, but like most reporters, she preferred the oral interview. Coleman is “an architect of the common core curriculum standards,” so I was asked what I thought of the standards. (I was not informed about the purpose of the article. I did not know Coleman was appointed head of the College Board until I read the article on the internet.)

Here is what appeared in the NY Times:

“There’s no reason on earth for common core standards and these tests that we’re wasting billions of dollars on,” said Stephen Krashen, an emeritus education professor at the University of Southern California. “The problem is poverty, poverty, poverty. Middle-class children who go to well-funded schools do very well, but even the best tests, the most inspiring teachers, won’t mean anything if the kids don’t have enough to eat.”

Here is what I tried to say:

“There’s no reason on earth for common core standards and these tests that we’re wasting billions of dollars on,” said Stephen Krashen, an emeritus education professor at the University of Southern California. “The rationale for the standards and national tests is the belief that our schools are broken. The only evidence for this is our mediocre scores on international tests. But middle-class children who go to well-funded schools do very well on international tests, scoring at the top of the world. Our overall scores are unimpressive because we have so many children living in poverty, about 22%, the highest percentage of all industrialized countries. This shows that the problem in American education is poverty, not a lack of standards and tests and not teaching quality. Poverty means food deprivation, lack of health care, and little access to books. The best tests and the most inspiring teachers will have little impact when children are hungry, sick, and have little access to books.

The article can be found at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/education/david-coleman-to-lead-college-board.html?_r=1

PS: According to Education Week, Coleman wants to align the SAT to common core standards. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2012/05/common_standards_writer_named_.html

2 comments:

  1. I was very happy to see the quote in the article; even if it wasn't fully elaborated, the point was strongly made. Coleman is a disaster, another one of these ivy-league idiots who thinks his top-down theorizing can change reality. Keep up the good fight, Professor Krashen.

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  2. Hi Stephen,
    I like both your quotes, but would like to copy the second, more accurate one for my blog. You just summed up my master's thesis in a few sentences! I hope you will be heading back to D.C. soon,
    Pam

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