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

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why I will not be speaking at Southeast TESOL next week

I will not be speaking at the Southeast TESOL Association Meeting to be held in Myrtle Beach next week, because of a disagreement about my keynote topic.  I learned only recently that the conference theme was supporting the common core, that it was  "dedicated entirely to providing teachers with strategies for working with common core and all of the states in attendance have adopted it."

I therefore changed my topic to "The case against the common core." This was rejected by the SETESOL Executive Committee.  I was told that "this topic cannot be presented to this group of attendees. "  

I cannot in good conscience speak at a conference dedicated to the common core without presenting what I know about it.  I offered to present on my original topic as an extra talk, but this was rejected because of lack of space and time.


  1. Regretfully, I resigned from the executive board of SCCTE and stopped attending the annual convention for this exact reason. SIGH

  2. Here's to conscience. I say shut it down.

  3. A principled stand from a principled educator.

  4. I read about this last night on Facebook. And commented that it is consistent with things Susan Ohanian was gleaning from her dealings with NCTE. And I suspect that I or more prestigious presenters would have no chance of getting such a talk accepted for a national, regional, or state meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics or the Supervisors of Mathematics, and probably not to the Research Presession held annually by NCTM (even if it were grounded in research).

    I was lucky to be asked to submit a commentary by one of the editors of the MATHEMATICS TEACHER for last September's issue on my objection to the Common Core. My viewpoint was less informed, less sophisticated, and less nuanced than it is now, particularly as I have the advantage of reading several months' worth of rage from parents and teachers whose children/students are now coming face-to-face with many specific shortcomings in the materials that the Common Core is breeding (note: that particular issue is a very complex one that I continue to analyze and try to parse in my blog). But I stand with my prediction that the overall initiative is doomed to fail, particularly in terms of what NCTM's leadership likely believed was a sound reason to support the Common Core: their hope that the Practice Standards, which are very much in harmony with the NCTM's philosophy of mathematics education as viewed through their own Process Standards, would be successfully implemented along with the Common Core Math Content Standards. But in fact, in no small part it is any sign of that progressive math education philosophy that is causing parental and teacher rebellion and anguish, along with topics that have been pushed down to lower grades with utter disregard for typical child development.

    Clearly, I respect Dr. Krashen's decision. I don't think he had another principled move that would have been better, unless he was willing to go to South Carolina and just bust a move on the conference without announcing his intentions. It might have been interesting to see how that would have played out, but these days, the forces for silencing dissent would have either been well-prepared to shut him down or else would have gotten security to drag him out like that parent in Maryland a few weeks ago. What a state of ill-health we are in.

  5. Anonymous2:50 AM

    Too bad you didn't tell them before and just did it.