Rush, Race Ahead With Subpar Standards

Merryl H. Tisch, the chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, and John B. King, Jr., the commissioner of the New York State Education Department wrote an op/ed for SchoolBook.  They said we shouldn’t slow down the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, but implement it faster.

They write:

The Common Core standards were developed by asking leaders in higher education and America’s business community a simple question: what skills do students need to bring with them on their first day of class or work? What do they need to succeed? The Common Core was mapped backwards from college and career success to lay out what students should know and be able to do at every stage of their K-12 academic career. The Common Core rests on a foundation of research on the keys to student success in reading, writing, and mathematics – and was internationally benchmarked against the academic expectations of our competitor nations. Supported by the National Governor’s Association, the AFT, the NEA, the National PTA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s leading higher education association, and countless others, the Common Core is the best roadmap we have to plot a course for success for our students….

…In recent weeks we have heard calls to slow down the Common Core and the shifts in instruction the Common Core requires — like the ability to read complex fiction and non-fiction texts, to write effectively using evidence, and to apply math problem solving skills. And in some school districts across the state there have been calls to delay implementing an evaluation system that will finally provide all educators with meaningful feedback.

Unfortunately, our students can’t wait. The reality is our students are already accountable for the skills embedded in the Common Core. They’re held accountable on the first day on a college campus, or the first day on a job, when their professors or their employers expect them to have those skills.

They paint a rosy picture of the Common Core’s ELA and Math Standards, but there is much room for debate on whether these standards will be helpful.  How to you help kids with the ability to read complex fiction when 70% of the reading material is informational texts?  Kids learn about literature by actually reading good literature, not by reading about it.  How can we help kids apply math problem skills with such an unhealthy focus on mental math and by ignoring the process needed to solve equations?

Why the rush to apply standards which are subpar compared to numerous states’ previous standards?  Why the blind faith in something that was never field tested?  Why the focus on college/career for kids in elementary schools who should be focused on just learning the basics?

We can’t slow down and actually have a conversation and debate about these standards, especially since state legislatures and the people were bypassed in the process?