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

Monday, March 02, 2015

Using Common Core to Dumb Down College to Benefit Student Loan Predators

The New York Times had a "news story" yesterday that attempts to downplay the effects of the growing Opt Out movement on the survival chances of the fetid Common Core.  According to the Times, the Gates and Lumina Foundations don't have much to worry about from a bunch of disorganized and hot-headed parents who will, in the end, send their children to school to be hammered with the new failure production system known as Common Core.  We'll see.

The big underreported story of the Common Core debacle involves the corrupt Lumina Foundation's influence in helping to assure that the Core is used to shape state college undergraduate education along the Core's dumbed-down contours.  Most people, even university people, don't realize that in states adopting the Core, state colleges and universities are compelled to use the 11th grade CC test results as the only indicator of readiness for college.  In other words, state institutions of higher ed can only place students in credit bearing courses if they have passing Common Core test scores.  If students pass the test, they must be placed into credit-bearing courses.

Why is this important?  With increasing numbers of the present generation of high school completers having learned how to memorize, cheat, and bubble in test forms rather than how to think and to write, remediation in college has become more and more critical to bringing kids up to speed for college learning.  When another 11th grade Pearson test (Common Core) is to be used to determine college readiness for state schools, you can bet that college courses will necessarily be dumbed down to fit the lack of preparedness that will surely continue as long as testing continues to displace teaching and learning in high school, even as the thumb screws are tightened on K-12 teachers. 

The likely outcome of this dumbing down of undergraduate education in state schools will be a clearer demarcation within the college caste system that will offer one knowledge set to the kids at the Harvards and the Dukes, a lesser one for the kids going to state colleges, and a bottom one for those untouchable kids who can attend only the online diploma mill schools.

Meanwhile, the predators who provided the money to create the Lumina Foundation to begin with will get fatter and fatter from preying on more kids who are less prepared for real college work and who will come out of their undergraduate experiences with less knowledge and plenty of debt to make them permanently indentured to corporate America.  The student loan bubble will grow and grow until another economic meltdown allows the banksters to walk away once more with most of the country's assets. 

So you see killing the Core is even more important than many have so far realized.  University people need to wake up and smell the coffee.

Inside Higher Ed has a nuanced and somewhat-detailed article that I highly recommend.  Here is clip:
. . . .More than 800 colleges and universities, most of them public institutions, have already agreed to use the results of [Common Core] assessments for placement purposes. (Getting state colleges on board with college- and career-ready standards was a requirement for states seeking waivers for No Child Left Behind.)

“The practical result is going to be something like this,” says Hammang, of AASCU. “If you’ve taken the assessment and you are deemed college-ready in math or English, you don’t get put into a developmental class. You get put in a credit-bearing class and go from there.”

Colleges have agreed only to make the assessments one factor that they consider, and Smarter Balanced argues that institutions should take high school grades and other factors into account. “We know this is a high-stakes thing for kids in the 11th grade,” King says. “It’s not appropriate to make high-stakes decisions based exclusively on an assessment.”

But that’s what many colleges do now through Compass and Accuplacer. And there will be “tremendous political pressure” within states for colleges to rely on the new Common Core assessments instead when possible, Hammang says.

Whether the results match up -- whether students who score as “college-ready” on assessments are considered to be well-prepared once they actually enter college -- will be a stress test for the effectiveness of the Common Core. If colleges have reasons to doubt that standards are truly at college level, the trust between K-12 and higher education on which the entire initiative rests could easily erode.

“We’ve gone to all this trouble and expense,” Hammang says. “They should mean something when a student shows up at your door.”

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:37 PM

    Another option is to increase the number of remedial classes at colleges. Some students spend years in remediation and never make it to college level courses.

    Abigail Shure