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

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hillary Loves the Common Core, and the "Iowa Core"


On Tuesday Hillary’s first small sit down in Iowa, which was choreographed for the CSPAN audience, took up the subject of education.  Almost 50 minutes in, one of the particiants, Diane, receives her prompt from Hillary to ask the Common Core question at 49:48.  Check out Hill’s response, which runs until 54:00.

Her comments underscore the possibility that Hillary knows almost nothing about tests or testing policy.  In fact, in the part of Hillary’s response that begins at  50:01, she expresses her belief that the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, which has been given since 1935 in many states as a rough basis of comparison across districts and states, is, in fact, a state test based on something Hillary calls the “Iowa core.”  This kind of ignorance would be embarrassing for mom in Des Moines supermarket, but for the leading presidential contender with pre-approved questions, this is shocking.

I think part of the reason that Iowa may be more understanding of this [the need for Common Core] is that you have had the Iowa core for years.  You had a system, plus the Iowa assessment test, I think I am right in saying I took those when I was in elementary school, right? You know, the Iowa test.

Iowa has had a testing system based on a core curriculum for a really long time, and you see the value of it, and you understand why that helps you organize your whole education system.  And a lot of states, unfortunately, haven’t had that and so don’t understand the value of, you know, a core, in the sense, a common core that the, of course, you can then, figure out the best way in your community to try to reach—but your question is really a larger one: how do we end up at a point, where we are so, ah, negative about the most non-family enterprise in the raising of the next generation—how our kids are educated.  And there are a lot of explanations for that, I suppose, but whatever they are, we need to try to get back into a, ah, broad conversation where people will actually listen to each other again and try to come up with solutions to problems . . .

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