Common Core Concerns
Rumbling concerns about the rollout of the Common Core are getting louder. The Washington Post reports that Tea Party activists are getting worked up about what they see as too much federal government involvement in education.
Other voices have also raised questions about how Common Core standards--and particularly the assessments associated with them--will be rolled out. Here are a few:
- Blogger Anthony Cody describes his concerns about the Common Core here,
including questions about the safety of student data and concerns about how the
Common Core was developed in the first place.
- PBS Journalist John Merrow penned
an "Open Letter To
the Architects of the Common Core," in which he asked how the
assessments will reckon with schools that are doing a fabulous job of mastery-based performance. "How do you propose to test the skills and
by the 8th graders at King Middle School in Portland, Maine?" Merrow
- Jack West--long time teacher and blogger who also works with Hapara--questions how much the Common Core assessments will cost per student. His calculations suggest it may cost 20 times as much as existing tests, which cost about $20 per student. Tom Vander Ark points out that $20 a student is the goal of the Common Core assessments. That seems pretty ambitious out of the gate.
- American Federation of Teachers president, Randi Weingarten, has asked for a moratorium on how the results of the Common Core assessments will be used.
That's a spaghetti bowl of concerns. Stripping out the political motivations, the theme that comes through most clearly in such critiques is the role of the assessments. Unfortunately, the development of the assessments seems somewhat out of sync with the standards themselves. Amplifying that concern is the growing frustration that people have with the amount of time schools are already devoting to testing.
Plenty of educators have talked about the strengths of the Common Core. What we seem to need is some innovative thinking around how to make use of the power of the standards without getting sideswiped by issues that have little to do with inspiring learning.