Today was open house at my daughter’s elementary school. At this school and at probably hundreds of others there was a conversation between a parent and and admin that went something like this:
Admin introducing the CCSS: We are behind the world, we need to streamline, we are a mile wide and an inch deep, CCSS will help us catch up.
Parents thinking: Yes yes yes, I don’t want to be a mile wide!!
Admin still talking: The CCSS will focus on critical thinking, problem solving, and reading text more carefully.
Parent forgets to keep thinking and verbalizes brainwaves: But haven’t we been doing that? If we haven’t been doing that then what have we been doing?
Admin in uncomfortable situation: We were doing it, ummm, we will now just be doing it deeper!
Parent still unsure of anything that had been said in last twenty minutes: So the common core tests start in 2014, and the teachers are starting to teach those standards, but the Connecticut Mastery test will still be given for another two years which covers different standards which were not as good as the CCSS, and so the kids will be given a test for two years and the school and teachers will be judged on scores to a test that they are no longer teaching too? Do I have that right?
Admin feeling confident because they have an answer: Actually we get to volunteer to pilot the new CCSS next year and so can give the kids both tests.
After the admin Parent Academy talk we visited the classroom. We were handed this National PTA pamphlet. This was a high quality multi-color flyer pushing the CCSS. Where would the National PTA get the money to send these out?
CHICAGO — – National PTA is positioning itself as a key player at the front line of education reform. The association today announced a new three-year effort to mobilize parents to advance key education priorities, beginning with common core state standards—a voluntary, state-led, internationally benchmarked set of high academic standards in English language arts and mathematics. A $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will help support the effort (source).
This donation was given in 2009. Before the standards were finished, Gates was already donating money to convince people to push for them.
And the CCSS factoid of the day:
If you “do” CCSS you have to “do” CCSS. A state may legally add 15% more to them…I am really not sure what that means…but they cannot choose to not teach any of the standards.