HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » RAVITCH: Common Core Writ... » Reply #7

Response to yurbud (Original post)

Wed Jun 25, 2014, 10:36 AM

7. To a large extent he nails it.

The CC standards are the goal. But they're only going to be achievable by a lot of the current batch of students given very narrowly tailored teaching. They will have to be taught to do exactly what is on the test--meaning that the standards are beside the point, what matters are just those standards embedded in the test. (Since the test changes slightly every year and probably will drift over time, this is a practical problem and not just a educational problem.)

It's a common misconception and one rooted in ideology. Years ago I heard the philosophical stance expressed that any student can learn anything, given sufficient time and effort. Meaning, of course, that any student could learn cutting-edge quantum physics, play the Sibelius violin concerto in public performance, engage in simultaneous translation between two second languages, or write a novel that would win him/her the Nobel Prize in literature. That includes the kid who, in 11th grade, is reading at a 5th grade level or has trouble solving 3x + 10 = 0 for x.

The problem is "given sufficient time and effort." It may take that kid until he's 80 to learn quantum physics or to play the Sibelius concerto (and not much else). We're time-limited and resource-limited, and that's not going to change. Nor do we need 300 million citizens who can play the Sibelius concerto and do little else, or do cutting-edge quantum research.

Yet I continue to hear administrators say that we need more kids college-ready in STEM, every kid should be enrolled in as many AP classes as possible while in high school. It's not going to happen. Yet in some states "advanced academics" is one gauge for measuring high school success: There's standardized test scores, improvement in disadvantaged groups and closing the "achievement gap", advanced academics, participation in extra-curricular activities. And these aren't "criterion based" but by comparison--you have 90% of your kids in "advanced academics" and your "peer schools" have 95%, you fail. Because ultimately this is driven by politics.

Which is what drove NCLB. It's what enables the Duncans of this world to want to be the personal saviors of the collective student body. They are on a mission to make sure every kid gets a college-and-career-ready education (and "career" is not working class or semi-skilled, but sitting in an office telling others what to do or being "knowledge workers"--just as only extroverts are approved by extroverts who decide these things, so only college graduates are approved by college graduates).

And, no, a lot of high school teachers only know what they absolutely must need to know to teach. They're kept so busy getting ersatz MEds and learning the latest "now we know how to teach" paradigm that they don't learn more about their subject. It's easier to get credit for a college course on some aspect of education theory that'll be obsolete in 4 years than to actually take an introductory college chemistry class that'll let you understand the high-school textbook for the chemistry class you've been teaching for the last 4 years.

Reply to this post

Back to OP Alert abuse Link to post in-thread

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Please login to view edit histories.