Today’s Washington Post has a couple of interesting Common Core pieces.
This one is about the role Bill Gates has played in funding the creation and promotion of the Common Core. It looks pretty factual to me and you get as a bonus an unedited video of the half hour interview the reporter did with Gates. Although the education reform policies he funds are a disaster for public education, you can see from this report that the idea for the Common Core originally came from an entirely different direction and the fact that Gates has funding the standards has little to do with the quality of the standards themselves.
And to that point, here’s an oped in the Post by math teacher Austen Kassinger who, like most teachers I’ve met who have actually used the standards in their classrooms, says they’re great:
Austen Kassinger teaches second grade in Denver.
….Able to complete only five problems over the course of an excruciating evening, I begged my mother the next morning to let me stay home from school, believing that I could never show my face in math class with incomplete homework.
My mother would have none of it….Never once did my mother say, “Long division? How developmentally inappropriate. We should change the Maryland state math standards!“I wonder what would have happened if my mother had taken the approach of the comedian Louis C.K., whose tweets about his children’s homework recently went viral: “Yet again I must tell my kid ‘don’t answer it. It’s a bad question.’ ” “Who is writi[n]g these? And why?” “My kids used to love math. Now it makes them cry. Thanks standardized testing and common core!”….I sympathize with Louis C.K.’s kids. I know firsthand the intense anxiety that math assignments can provoke. But I’m certainly not sorry that they are being taught Common Core State Standards. As a math teacher, I have embraced these standards. I have seen kids solve problems I never would have thought to ask, then explain their thinking and justify their answers with pride. I have seen kids who used to hate the subject scribble, “I love math!” all over their tests. That joy is rooted in their persistence.So while I disagree with Louis C.K.’s analysis of the content of his children’s homework, that’s not what bothers me about his tweets. It’s the implicit message that kids should find something to blame when school is hard….
I hope my students have parents who react to their frustrations as my mother did, and as most parents did before Common Core became a convenient scapegoat for any academic difficulty. Teach your children that struggle is a part of learning and that, sooner or later, everyone will be the lost ball. But don’t teach them to blame the weeds.
read the whole thing at Struggle is a natural part of learning – The Washington Post.