Comments on Fairport Panel On the Common Core by Mike Connolly

“Decompose the numbers less than or equal to ten in pairs by using objects or drawings and record each decomposition.  e.g. 4 + 1 = 5– 3 + 4 + 7 etc. “
How are you doing so far on a common core question for your second grader?
 I asked the Fairport parent panel if they really meant second grade and if this was the actual wording of the question.  Yup and uh huh.  I didn’t think to ask how this sample question came to light since common core test questions are zealously guarded.
“Decompose” ?????
About 30 + attended the meeting, nicely lead by a group of 5 common core parent opponents from Fairport who have been researching common core pretty extensively.  It was a generally very good and cohesive presentation.  Among their number there was a retiree, and a Rochester early childhood teacher.  As on the panel, in the audience about a fifth were elderly.
These folks each presented brief, cogent segments and referred throughout to 10 common core myths found here: http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/myths-verses-facts/
Maybe the first thing to know is that the lure of funding (CC, No Child Left Behind, and Race to the Top) has provided  $700,000 to NY school districts so far.  But the cost of fully implementing CC will be about $1.2 Billion.  Ah, the lure of “free” money!  The phrase “divide and conquer” comes to mind.
It is worth looking at the myths first, then go back and read some elaborations that dispel the particular myth.  The majority of these myths have to do with covering up the extent to which common core is designed to evaporate local school control and run things from the top.  You can’t read the “myths” without just hating common core.
The first to speak, a Rochester teacher went thru chapter and verse about how biased much of the negative reportage on the poor performance of American schools is.  This was compelling info but hard to summarize.  The point often was how invalid comparisons were, comparing elite foreign students with general population students here.
The myth that CC is “state led” is laughable.  It is all Gates money top down stuff.  Accepting CC means total capitulation.  For one thing,  no test modification is possible.   Of the five board members responsible for designing [or at least approving the CC ?], only 2 were educators and both refused to sign off on CC.
Signing on to CC has required a blind commitment, buying a pig in a poke.  Free money again.  The commitment of 45 states to this “model” was prior to knowing anything about CC.
CC (and race to top) require 400 data points, i.e. gobs of info on all students.  This is data collection that only goes to the top.  The NSA must love it.  And this helps students / teachers how?
It is very difficult to see how CC testing is helpful in any positive way.  It seems to be only about a pretty arbitrary judgement of (against) teachers and schools.   There is no self corrective mechanism, a fundamental purpose of testing, since test questions and results  are held secret.  You may find out that you got a 31 in language or math skills, but will have no means for knowing what you answered wrong.
The design mechanism for CC is laughable if it were not tragic.  See sample question above.  The methodology for the design is to start with what people “should” know upon graduation.  Back this down year by year to Kindergarden.  K-2 students apparently have to be able to do good rocket science or minor brain surgery in order to be sure to be on track by graduation.  And as is pointed out by Diane Ravich,               [ https://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/03/25-7] “The Fatal Flaw of the Common Core Standards” all this rush to get CC established skipped over all accepted norms for creating standards.
What worries me is now, since it is common knowledge that the roll out of CC was badly botched,– now the talk is about diddling about with it till we make it “better.”  This is a nightmare presumption.  There is no better.  There is just running things from the top or locally, or a meaningful coordination of top and bottom instead of a take over.
Someone else will have to research the online resources.  I have found this less easy to do than I would have liked.  I mentioned to a number of the panelists afterwords about BoR “core” interest but was not able to make a good connection here.  I told them I’d write this up and try to establish a link with them.  Perhaps because this is a Fairport enterprise they did not show strong interest and I do not see a way to make email contact with them.  I assumed that would show up on hand out material.   Maybe a tweeter can find something @ROCP@P or @StopCCINNYS ?
The personal stories of parents on the panel about test anxiety and issues was positively bone chilling.
Mike

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