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

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

I Love Carol Burris, But . . .

She's got it all wrong about what to do about the Common Core.  At WaPo, she begins by pointing out how sanity is prevailing among parents and teachers and how much CorpEd in on the defensive to prop out the Common Core house of cards.  

The more teachers and parents see and use the Gates Core, she points out, the more they hate it.  Polling shows support for CorpEd solutions cratering.  Arne is being talked about as the new Attorney General (HAH!) 

And then she closes with this:

The Common Core is a lemon and no amount of professional development will make it run right. As Mike Schmoker recently wrote in an Education Week commentary,
“Nothing could be more futile than doubling down on training, testing, and lesson planning based on the still-bloated, misconceived lists of standards.”
The question that states face, then, is what should they put in place of the Common Core.  The logical option of going back to former standards and gradually revising them will earn the wrath and punishment of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, as Oklahoma found out after it pulled out of Common Core this past summer and the Education Department decided that the state would lose its waiver from No Child Left Behind. Ohio lawmakers have put forth a bill to adopt the former Massachusetts standards; whether Duncan will approve what were considered the most challenging standards in the United States is anyone’s guess. Logic has not distinguished the Duncan Department of Education.
That does not negate the moral and ethical obligation of state lawmakers and Chief School Officers from doing what is right by students and taxpayers. If I were charged with the task of cleaning up the Common Core (and thankfully I am not), this is how I would begin. While there would be more work to be done, especially in mathematics, these are three relatively simple first steps...
And so she lists three steps that would help to salvage a very bad idea, bad practice, bad philosophy, bad policy, bad purpose, and bad politics.
Really, Carol? Do you give a shit (as Platonist David Coleman might say) what Arne Duncan threatens to do? Or does? If states would stand their ground and do what their citizens demand, Duncan would have choice but to have the Gates clones fold up his tent and go home. 
This War is not about getting permission from Arne Duncan or Bill Gates.  This is about reclaiming ground for public education and for humane and effective learning, and the way we do that is not to talk tough and then say, oh well, we'd better do this because we might get in trouble if we don't.  Please!
The moral responsibility is to respect children's rights, human rights, and to provide the best children's education and democratic governance we can.  There is no ethical debt owed to laws that are unjust and that benefit cynical profiteers and oligarchs.  
As Dr. King pointed out from a Birmingham jail cell, it is our moral responsibility to break those unjust laws as the best way to show our respect for Law.  The coward and the moral derelict obey laws that do not respect human rights and democratic governance.
"There are just laws and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all... One who breaks an unjust law must do it openly, lovingly...I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law."

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