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

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Future of SOS Hinges on Repudiation of Common Core

Today Stephen Krashen posted a letter at EPATA by Bess Altwerger, co-founder of Save Our Schools.  In it she makes a strong case for SOS voting to put its full weight forward in opposing, blocking, and dismantling the next high-stakes testing deliver system, the Common Core State [sic] Standards.  Will this letter make a difference?  Who knows.

Meanwhile, Corporate Bob and his loyal Webmistress over at SOS continue to churn out more talking points to distribute to the GOP and the DNC.  Can anything be more sadly pathetic and entirely enraging at the same time?!

Try this from the SOS website:
In August 2012, the People met to compose the Education Platforms. For month’s [sic] prior, in preparation, many gathered throughout the nation. Drafts were created. Topics were discussed in depth and detail. . . .
Did an 8th grader write this and post it while someone was taking a nap?!  Or does this truly represent the intentional incompetence that the Friends of Corporate Bob continue to allow to be published online in the name of teachers, while making a mockery of the thousands of teachers who paid good money to come to Washington in 2011 hoping that there was an organization that would listen to them and DO SOMETHING to represent the interests of saving public education.  

After all, teachers who care about their kids and public schools cannot depend upon the union bosses, who have sold their membership down the river in order to protect their own swollen hierarchies of power with their six-figure salaries.  

In checking to see how the SOS plank-writing (or is it plank-walking) is going over at SOS, I found two out of eight planks ready to be read, even though it's been almost a month since the "People" met to write all eight. 

One of the two planks (how sad) has 11 splinters that, taken together with Corporate Bob's position to protect his company's planned Common Core bonanza, demonstrate why SOS still has not come out against Common Core, just as the NEA and AFT have not come out against the Common Core.  First, try Spinter # 3:
3. SOS opposes the unlimited expansion of privately-managed charter schools which [sic] bar their teachers from holding union membership so as to actively and illegally resist union affiliation.
What does this mean, that SOS supports the limited expansion of charters?  Illegal resistance?  In most states with charter laws, charter operators may hire and fire at will.  

But the real interesting splinter is #8:
8. SOS supports a union position strongly opposing merit pay and value-added teacher evaluation based on high stakes standardized test scores.
Which union position is that, the one in place before Randi Weingarten and Dennis Van Roekel both gave their blessing to teacher evaluations based on value-added test scores AND to merit pay plans that are "negotiated"!! Which one of the Klonsky Boys wrote this piece of dissembling babble, or did they consult with the paid SOS volunteer, Bob Schaeffer, to make it sound just right to naive teachers who never come up for air from unceasing test preparation.

And what does this have to do with the Common Core?  Everything, because Randi, Dennis, and their lawyers have embraced the Common Core, too, and in so doing have assured their continued place at the corporate and federal feeding troughs, while public schools, beginning with the poorest and lowest scoring, are put up for sale to the highest corporate bidder.


  1. I spoke to a teacher the other day that is in favor of common core but NOT high stakes testing. He explained that CC does not tell you how to teach, but what to teach.

    I have to say as a parent, this is pretty hard to understand. Does CC include the standards I value in education, like interpersonal skills, developing a love of learning, and culturally responsive material?

  2. Save Our Schools will continue to craft a message and strategies for effectively delivering that message which will have the effect of improving teaching and learning.

    The principles identified by SOS don't support ANY single "common" standard or curriculum that inherently ignores the needs of children who cannot be "standardized" and whose intellects and personal worth cannot be measured by a test.

    The public and admittedly many teachers need to be educated about the limitations of ANY set of curriculum "standards" so that they can confidently work within the demands of the framework to produce content and delivery that is meaningful and authentic and reaches beyond the perceived limitations. It has been proven that changing the face of reform will not happen ON DEMAND. In the case of the Common Core, it will have to come about through the actions of our capable, highly qualified teaching professionals.

    Save our Schools is dedicated to providing the tools, the information, the support and the voice useful to all educators, parents and the public who face different challenges and require different approaches to overcome what we all know to be destructive policy. For some, planting our feet, just saying NO, demanding justice may prove effective, but the personal experiences and obstacles others have to overcome require other approaches. Offering only one strategy is setting up too many for failure and is discouraging - much like high stakes standardized testing. Other established respected organizations like NCTE understand the more important task of fulfilling our duty to serve the children in a way that will overcome the Common Core.

    No sincere supporter of saving our schools would waste time attacking a group of dedicated individuals just because they disagree on strategy. There is too much work to be done.