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

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why Defeat of the Common Core Would Represent a Major Victory for Education

A post by Diane Ravitch yesterday leaves the soured impression that beating back the Common Core would be no major victory for those opposed to corporate education reform.  Her reasoning?  By ending Common Core, we would still have a terribly flawed system based on test and punish and ignoring poverty, so Common Core or local core--who cares.

How wrong can Diane be: let me count the ways.

1) Without Common Core, states may establish their own curriculums and standards and assessments based on the possibility of local needs, democratic process, and professional expertise.  They don't have that possibility now.

2) Without Common Core and the new tests that go with them, we are not required to witness another generation of manufactured failure based on cut scores that guarantee a continued supply of public schools to hand over to corporate charters.

3) Without Common Core and the big data network that is being dreamed up to handle traffic and store data, there is no national surveillance system that tracks children from pre-K through high school.

4) Without Common Core, some semblance of teacher autonomy may be restored.

5) Without Common Core, we shelve the plans by the Oligarchs to churn out a national learning widget that can be plugged in in any state.

6) Without Common Core, we have a an opportunity to maintain a modicum of diversity in the learning ecology, rather than every child in America being stuck on the same page at the same time of utilitarian texts chosen by elitist, David Coleman.

7) Without Common Core, we destroy the rationale for the next generation of high stakes test and punish policies.  Surely it will be harder to push more test based "accountability" without the testing delivery system, Common Core.

8) Without Common Core, the education industry and the corporate takeover of schools is handed a severe setback in their effort to control American education, while turning public support for them into corporate revenue streams.

Now maybe Ravitch sees these potential gains as less important than her friend Randi Weingarten's undying support for Common Core, but it seems to me she has not make the case.

There remains much work to be done in order to 1) end high stakes testing, 2) bring a halt to the corporate takeover of public education, and 3) to end resegregation and restore diversity in all classrooms.  We cannot pretend, however, that there are no reasons to claim victories along the way as we continue to work for these goals.  Ending Common Core has not happened yet, but doing so would represent a major shift in the momentum to end corporate education reform.

Did Ravitch lose her brains when she opened her mind a few years ago after decades of supporting the policies of Chester Finn?

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