Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Alabama Has Second Thoughts About Common Core

The list of states opposed to Common Core is growing.  Alabama joins South Carolina, Utah, and Colorado in having second thoughts:

Alabama has joined a growing number of states opposing the Common Core national education standards. 
Last week, the state senate adopted a resolution to “encourage the State Board of Education to take all steps it deems appropriate, including revocation of the adoption of the initiative’s standards if necessary, to retain complete control over Alabama’s academic standards, curriculum, instruction, and testing system.”
I'm still researching and reading up on the issue from both sides.  I posted some preliminary information and thoughts here.  Since then I have received several emails from educators across the nation on both sides of Common Core.

Christel Swasy, an educator and blogger in Utah, sent me a couple of detailed emails about why Common Core is wrong for Utah.  Her blog is here and you can read a lot about CCSS there.

What most concerns me right now is the over reach of the federal government into the education curriculum.  The comeback is that "CCSS is voluntary!  The feds didn't force this upon the states!"  But the states were certainly coerced into adopting the standards; no adoption, no Race to the Top grant money and no chance for waivers of NCLB.  That's some pretty serious arm twisting.  And I don't agree with that part of it.

If CCSS is so great, why the coercion?

As for the standards themselves, I'm comparing them closely with the standards currently in place in Louisiana.  For my part they just don't seem as good.  Also disturbing is the movement away from classical texts and literature in general to non-fiction and technical writing.  Now, we do a pretty good bit of non-fiction in my classes.  To a certain extent teachers can pick and choose the selections from the text.  You don't necessarily have to real ALL the fiction, or ALL the non-fiction, for example.  You follow your pacing guide, hit all your standards and benchmarks, and select a fair representation from each genre (in 10th grade, anyway).

I've always encouraged my kids to the non-fiction and they do enjoy it:  they love reading about the Holocaust (we read Night, by Weisel) and are shocked at what they learn in that unit.  We have in the past read from Into Thin Air, RMS Titanic, and we've read about the Montgomery bus boycott.

So, it's not the non-fiction that concerns me but maybe the predominance of it.

Again, I'm still studying them.

I'm concerned that CCSS is just another pedagogical fad (and an expensive one, at that) that educators have seen come and go for years.

I'll post my comparison and findings soon, but in the meantime, I encourage you to educate yourself about Common Core because unless you live in Texas, Alaska, Virginia, or Nebraska, it's in your state.

Further Reading:

Sarah Palin Was a Prophet About Obama's Education Takeover
The Road to a National Curriculum
How Well are American Students Learning?
National Curriculum Plan May Face Challenge
Conservatives Oppose National Standards
School Standards Pushback
Common Core Standards
Obama Team Hijacks Schools' Core Standards
National Cost of Aligning States and Localities to Common Core Standards
"Are You Serious?"  Yep, They Are


Anonymous said...

If O has anything to do with it, I would definitely have second thoughts.

lady di said...

Be concerned, be very concerned. Just remember lowering the standards.
We in Mass had higher standards than required by fed, did not want to switch but politicians choose to.