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

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The 10 Page Common Core Report Card

Introducing the latest pile of bullshit from the Common Core technotwits--a report card that parents can't understand and that tells children nothing they need to know--all in a forest-devastating 10 pages of itemized, um, standards.  If you believe that everything children need to learn in school can be reduced to mountain of discrete infobits, then you are soon to be the winner of an schooling system based on children becoming "competent" in those infobits long enough to click the correct  screen item, thus demonstrating as much. 

Education based on an sea of sequential competencies that students can push through individually as if they were mowing an endless prairie?  Sounds enticing, doesn't it.  No teachers, no buildings, no worry: Phoenix Elementary, Phoenix Middle, Phoenix High, and of course, the University of Phoenix.

But privileged parents should not worry.  Real schools with real human teachers and assessments will always be available for the "top income tenth" who will be the required designers of our brave new education future.
By Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer
POSTED: May 23, 2016

As a lawyer, Dennis Weldon has to make sense of tortuous legal papers. But a year ago, the Plumstead Township resident opened a nine-page document that left him flummoxed.

It was his child's report card from Gayman Elementary School in the Central Bucks School District.

Gone was the traditional A-B-C-D-F report from the teacher. Instead, parents were sent to their computers to click open a nine-page digital document with row after row of learning standards and success indicators for specific reading or math skills. Grades ranged from a high of E (exceeding standards), through M (meeting standards) and A (approaching standards), down to LP (limited progress).

Weldon said his wife, also a lawyer, struggled to comprehend the new "standards-based" report card, too. Another Central Bucks parent, a lawyer as well, told Weldon: "I don't even open it. . . . It's information overload."

The district has posted a 10-page handbook and seven videos on its website on how to interpret the evaluations, introduced in 2014 and used only in the elementary schools.

Many parents give the leading-edge system an F in the most important subject: telling them how their children are doing.. . . .

. . . . Along with arguing that the new report cards are what internet users might call "tl; dr" - "too long; didn't read" - many Central Bucks parents say they worry that the grading system rewards mediocrity by lumping too many students in the middle, as M's, and takes up too much teacher time.

"It works equally horribly for the student who wants to do better and the student who doesn't want to try too hard," said Dana Hunter of Doylestown, who sends two of her three children to Cold Spring Elementary. "I've had kids say: 'This is great. It doesn't matter how many I get wrong, I just get an M on everything.' "

Her kids agree. "They're too vague," said Sam, 8, a third grader who doesn't like to ace his tests and get an M while his lower-achieving classmates also get M's. . . . .

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