Friday, August 09, 2013

Where's the Teacher Who Supports Common Core?

Norm Scott often says, "Watch what they do, not what they say." But I think it's important to watch everything. For example, in an email from UFT President Michael Mulgrew, he said, "Our students need to develop the higher-level cognitive skills and deeper learning at the heart of the new Common Core Learning Standards." This goes against what I know, to wit, that the Common Core standards have never been tested anywhere, and have never been proven to establish that.

Mulgrew continues, "The Common Core standards were created by educators — and adopted by 46 states — in response to the lowest-common-denominator standards that the states fell back on in response to No Child Left Behind testing requirements." As for being created by educators, there's a video below that says something very much to the contrary. You'll see names like Gates, Walton, Broad and ALEC, but I'm not precisely sure how many of them are teachers.

I don't know where Mulgrew gets his information, but I'd certainly welcome any commenter who can support it. I'm also a little concerned by a statement in Mulgrew's piece from yesterday's Daily News.

While teachers — many of whom helped create the new Common Core — support the new standards...
Once again, I'm unsure of who these teachers are who created the Common Core. While this, allowing for other contributors,  is an improvement over the assertion that the standards were simply "created by educators," I'd still like evidence. More disturbing is the assertion that teachers support the new standards, evidently without exception. In fact, the only teachers I know of who support the new standards are those in E4E. I've read two rambling E4E op-ed pieces this week supporting the new standards, neither of which offered any evidence of their validity.

I certainly agree with Mulgrew that they were rolled out with no curriculum and insufficient preparation. That's patently idiotic, and it's part of the reformy meme that this is an emergency and our children cannot wait. In fact, if this is being rolled out with no testing, no research, and no evidence of its validity, our children are much better off waiting.

I talk to teachers every day. Not one has spoken to me of support for Common Core. I wonder where Mulgrew hears these things. I suppose he talks to teachers. I see pictures of him visiting schools all the time in NY Teacher. Actually, I've spoken with him a few times. He was cordial, though I can't remember expressing support for Common Core, which never came up.

Still, I want to know who these teachers are. Who are these teachers who support baseless Gates-based initiatives rather than science? What's their motivation? I could certainly understand if they were upwardly mobile E4E types looking to get their hands on Gatesbucks, or trying to find some cool administrative gig. But teachers?

Teachers I speak with are not at all sanguine about the upcoming junk science evaluation, and I don't know any that are thrilled with Common Core either. Teachers I know are well aware of what reformy things mean for them and their students, and none of it's good.

What really perplexes me is why on earth our union is so reformy. Sometimes UFT reps tell me we have to pick our battles. And sometimes I wonder, particularly after we designed a law that gave us a junk science evaluation system without even a contract, whether we're bothering to battle much of anything.

Take a few minutes to watch the video. You won't soon forget it.

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