Are we in this for the children?

I have watched the video several times of enraged parents and teachers shouting down State Education Commissioner John King during a town hall-type meeting about Common Core Learning Standards. I’ve read numerous articles, blog posts and social media rants condemning Common Core as just about everything short of alien mind control. I do understand the frustration brought on by large-scale change, especially in a field – education – that typically evolves at a pace only slightly faster than a T-Rex.

Still, I’m confused. Common Core Learning Standards were designed to ensure that our children, from whichever state they hail, will be equipped after high school graduation to succeed at college and a career. Amidst all the rancor and protests, I have not heard one parent or teacher argue against that goal. Shouldn’t that mean we are all on the same side? Continue reading

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Our ‘Model T’ Education System Has to Go

Originally posted on the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign blog, APRIL 30, 2013

Let’s be honest about something while we struggle with this slumping economy, reductions in state education spending and the suffering caused by high unemployment. In New York State’s quest to become more business friendly and economically stable and to create jobs, we are acquiescing to the sacrifice of the here and now. Now more than ever we need to make significant investments in our young people. And we need to invest in a public education system that has the potential to be model for other states and public systems across the globe. We know that education continues to be the engine of opportunity, driving growth, innovation and jobs for our great state.

From certain perspectives, sacrifice might be acceptable in light of brighter prospects for the state’s future. However, from the point of view of our children’s education, we are tragically giving up on an entire generation who will receive far less right now, will not be prepared for college or a career, and will struggle to become the productive citizens we need to perpetuate our republic. Continue reading

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Lower test scores not a bad thing

The State Education Department is warning parents and teachers that the scores on this year’s state assessments in grades 3-8 English language arts and math could be dramatically lower than last year. That’s because the 2013 tests reflect the tougher learning standards of Common Core. SED is basing its forecast on test results seen in other states, such as Kentucky where scores dropped 46 percent from the previous year.

It’s understandable that we feel disappointed when we see lower scores, but it should be expected because of the higher educational goals built into Common Core Learning Standards.

On the other hand, maybe we should appreciate this as a wake up call for our students’ sake. They are the ones that must build a life on the educational framework we provide in our schools. Common Core was designed to strengthen the framework and position our kids for a brighter future. Continue reading

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