In Mystifying Poverty, Will Johnson aptly summarizes the multi-pronged lunacy besieging public schools today under the mantra of education reform and its latest moniker: The Common Core State Standards. Couple these with the teacher accountability movement ensconced in the Danielson Framework, or similar “objective” instruments, along with the federal government’s continued efforts to extend the reach of No Child Left Behind via Race to the Top, and the general public likely perceives that academic outcomes surely will surge. Yet, the only things to rise will be the incomes of educational consultants and corporations seeking to plunder some of the $650 billion spent annually on public education: call it the “Vacuum Up” theory of economics. After the tech stock bubble burst, investors headed into real estate. We know how that ended up. Now, we get to see how quickly the last vestiges of a free and public education will last under the guise of helping the children.
Edwin Rosskam / Library of Congress
Rarely has a dull, technical document created as much controversy as the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. Everyone from parents and teachers to politicians and op-ed columnists is debating the merits of the Common Core, though it’s unclear how many of them have actually read the full book-length document.
But who can blame them, when the standards are full of sentences like: “Part of the motivation behind the interdisciplinary approach to literacy promulgated by the standards is extensive research establishing the need for college and career ready students to be proficient in reading complex informational text independently in a variety of content areas?” It’s not a fun or illuminating piece of literature, but it is a great example of the type of jargon that has taken over America’s public schools.
Of course, public school teachers have no choice but to familiarize themselves with the Common Core. Around the country, school administrators are demanding that teachers of all subjects adapt their lesson plans and painstakingly explicate how they are aligned with the Common Core.