Saturday, February 8, 2014

Common Core is not about testing

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The  Common Core standards are all about  Math and English. They are not about testing.

Rex Smith of the Albany Times Union says in this morning's paper
People are blaming Common Core for a cluster of pressures in the schools, including excessive standardized testing and a revised scoring system that has shown student performance to be lower than previously thought. But a lot of the folks attacking the Common Core, I’m convinced, haven’t actually looked at the standards, or talked with education experts about them. Until we have heard more from a thoughtful review by educators, the calls to abandon the reform are premature. 

 Common Core does not prescribe tests, or modules, or most of the things that people are complaining about. In New York, all those things called modules are not from the Common Core. They are designed by the New York State Education Department. The EngageNY web site states
The optional curricular materials on EngageNY are designed to be adopted or adapted. Educators will find both PDF and Word versions available for their use. Some lessons provide detailed instructions or recommendations but it is important to note that the lessons are not scripts and rather they should be viewed as vignettes so that the reader can imagine how the class could look.
I added in the red to emphasize that even NY does not believe it knows "the way" to do things.
I also know that there are districts that have mandates that their teachers follow the modules. Those districts are naive, misled, misleading, and dangerous. Common Core is none of those.
I also find it misleading for Governor Andrew Cuomo to select Todd Hathaway, for one, as a member of his new committee. After all, Common Core is about math and English, and Hathaway is a high school history (social studies) teacher. The least he could have done would be to include a math teacher and an English teacher.

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