American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten makes some good points in this Huffington Post piece. Notice her reference to bungled Common Core execution in New York, opponents’ favorite reference point (emphasis added):
The Common Core State Standards are taking so many hits these days that some might wonder why so many people think they should play an important role in American education. In our competitive, fast-changing global economy, if students don’t have higher-order capabilities like critical thinking and problem solving, mastery of essential knowledge, and the skill and will to persist, they will be left behind. That’s what the Common Core is about.
Instruction in many wealthier public and private schools is routinely aligned to such skills, often through project-based and hands-on learning. But between budget cuts and top-down accountability laws like No Child Left Behind–whose testing fixation promotes test-prep and rote memorization–poor kids have gotten less access to the well-rounded, rigorous education they deserve. Without standards aligned to what kids need to succeed in college, career and life, and ample supports to help them get there, that chasm will grow even wider.
That is why the AFT supports the Common Core standards. They’re not a silver bullet, and they’re not the only thing kids need for a great public education. But they have the potential to disrupt the cycle of increasing poverty and economic and social stratification by making essential skills and knowledge available to all children, not just some. That’s why civil rights groups that see public education as an anchor of democracy and a great equalizer have embraced these standards.
But even good ideas can be torpedoed by bad execution. In New York, officials rushed to impose tests and consequences way before students were ready. And Louisiana, New Mexico and other states are skimping on or simply bungling implementation. If officials are trying to make these standards unattainable, they’re doing a great job. No wonder students, their parents and teachers are angry, anxious and demoralized.
read the rest at Will States Fail the Common Core? | Randi Weingarten.