Saturday, August 1, 2015

Common Core and Politics

I wonder if the Common Core will survive the 2016 election campaigns? It's been quite astounding how already the Common Core State Standards are mentioned in negative terms almost every time a politician, regardless of her/his party, gets onto the topic of education. The main question to them has to be "HOW MUCH OF THE COMMON CORE HAVE YOU READ?" Then, the next question should be "HOW MUCH OF THE COMMON CORE DO YOU UNDERSTAND?". I wonder how they would respond.

Having become intimately familiar with the Math CCSS I have to say they are pretty good. The authors seem to have included something for everyone. For example they want students to understand what they are learning, a nod to the liberal side of the populace, and the want students to develop rigor in their learning, a nod to the conservative side. Perhaps this is the very reason why both sides are attacking them. The CCSS contain something that everyone can point to as being not what they want in an education system. Instead of seeing them as an entirely complete piece of work they are selecting small pieces to support their argument for dropping the Common Core. It is always much easier, of course, to chop a tree down in 30 seconds that to grow one in 30 years.

Perhaps it is the name "Common Core" that politicians don't like. The word "common" for example has somewhat negative connotations: It's hard to get excited about something called "common". Then there's the word "core". Again it's a word that you tend to find in somewhat negative surrounding such as in the phrase "cut me to the core".

Then, of course, it's all part of "Race To The Top", a phrase clearly not coined by someone involved  intimately in the education of children. I sometimes imagine a kindergarten teacher saying on the first day of the semester "OK kindergartners, now pay attention. I just want to remind you that you are just about to start the "Race To The Top". Since this is a race, some of you will make it to the top first and some of you won't. No pressure, I just want you to be aware of what lies ahead of you".

Here are some interesting links re CCSS and Politics; US News and the Huff Post.
NPR and the Washington Post.



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