Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Who knows?

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The truth is that most Louisiana teachers have not found the Common Core standards to be developmentally appropriate, nor have they liked the preponderance of informational texts at the expense of good literature, which historically has been the source of the development of abstract thinking.
The above statement is from an article by Glynis Johnston in the The Times of Shreveport, La., on May 24 of this year.

I do not question the opinions she expresses in her article. She is entitled to them.

The phrase "most Louisiana teachers" I find truly head-scratching. If she truly has access to real data that supports her claim, she should be writing for national media and addressing her state legislature if not Congress. It is hard to fathom how these "Louisiana teachers" could have judged these standards as not developmentally appropriate at a time when very few students have tried to develop under them. No state has come even close to having students progress through their k-12 years under the influence of Common Core.  

Ms. Johnston really amazes me when she claims to know what has been the historic source for abstract thinking.  Good literature? Define that phrase. As far as I know, what is good for one is lousy for another. What I can say, based on my 36 years as a high school teacher, is that students never got enough work on reading and writing for detail. The closest they cam to reading for detail was their textbooks in math, science, and history.  The top students, however, needed to do little reading because they "got it in class" while the weak students never even took their textbooks home.  It is hard to tell the impact of reading for detail is that environment.

Perhaps these rationales for dumping on the Common Core are well-intentioned. Who knows. 

On December 1 of last year, Amanda McElfresh, writing about Louisiana, states 

Teachers also said they've seen significant improvement in student performance since they started using Common Core in their classrooms. Are these two talking about the same state?

Speaking of Ms. Johnston, back on December 5 of last year she wrote an article entitled All La. teachers do not support Common Core. I guess it is an improvement scaling back from "all" to merely "most" in her statements.

Speaking of her article's title, I believe Ms. Johnston has fallen into an increasingly common error. She uses the phrase "All...are not...", which is logically equivalent to "None... are...". I believe she intended to acknowledge that some teacher's do favor Common Core, and the phrasing "Some... are..." is logically equivalent to "Not all... are...".  In her statement the "not" appears to be misplaced.

Then again, maybe back then she really was claiming to speak for all teachers in Louisiana. Who knows...

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