The New Hampshire Union Leader published a guest op/ed from a teacher who identifies herself as a liberal. Diane Sekula is a teacher in Hooksett, NH and she was responding to a published article that said Common Core is a conservative flashpoint.
I come from a staunch Democrat family. By most people’s standards, I would be considered liberal. I am also, however, very much against Common Core. Public dissatisfaction with Common Core is not a partisan issue. It is a matter of importance for anyone interested in doing what’s best for the children of New Hampshire.
She points out that this current path that education is on is one she saw in the former Soviet Union. Wait a minute… a liberal bringing up Communism?!?! Are we sure she’s not a closet tea party activist? (Just kidding…)
During my time teaching with the Peace Corps, Moldova was at a point of transitioning from a Communist society to a democratic society. I was instructed to help teachers incorporate opportunities for individual thinking and creativity into their lessons, as this was not done under Soviet rule.
Under Soviet rule, everyone was taught the same thing, testing was everything and you were labeled because of it. Teachers and students were still largely operating through this system while I was there. I would hear comments from teachers such as, “Don’t bother with him, he can’t do it.” There was no discussion of individual learning differences, the impact of hunger, other outside influences or whether the standards, lessons or materials were working. Is this not what we have now with Common Core?
The day last fall when I heard that administrators went around to math teachers’ classrooms at my school and took away their old texts, manipulatives and other materials, leaving them only with the new, Common Core-aligned math materials, my blood froze. What happened to differentiation, professional experience and judgment, and inspiring students with creative and fun lessons?
I’ve avoided using terms like “Communist Core,” etc. because it seems like an overly partisan approach to opposing Common Core. That said I find it fascinating to read this comparison from a teacher who actually experienced Soviet-style education. So, according to this teacher, we’re going back to the USSR. Based on how she described education in Moldova I can see her point. Heck, Common Core replaced the foundations of Euclidian geometry with a method that a school for gifted students in Moscow created, tried and then jettisoned when it failed. (See Ze’ev Wurman’s review of the Common Core Math Standards)
Note: I don’t say it often enough, but a mega hat-tip to Jamie Gass of the Pioneer Institute who finds article like the one I’m sharing below and emails them out to his list. He’s helped to spark many blog posts.