Thursday, December 12, 2013
Common Core at home . . .
Going through my RSS feeds the first post I opened had the Common Core as a topic. As I went through it there were others on the same topic that I transfer over to my blog folder for possible posts. The folder has a number of posts most of which I have not used and will not, but today I do want to share some of my thoughts and some of the posts.
Why now? Because the Common Core is creating anxiety, confusion, and concern in our system and is a topic of conversation in our latest round of Teacher Leadership. We are asking the teacher leadership teams to assist us in identifying our "Common Core current reality", something that would mostly be based on assumptions if we did it with input only from central office staff. Knowing our current reality is essential if we are to identify the structures and strategies necessary to close the gap between our aspiration of young people positioned for success in the spring of 2014 and the reality shared above. As system leaders, we created the reality, understand and own the responsibility to close the gap.
This is and will continue to be difficult work as we focus on answering the question many are asking themselves. Is it worth it? The focus of these efforts is on culture at the team, building, and system level; work that many of us struggle with and find ways to put toward the back of our priority lists. Working through our issues to create learning environments positioned to support the needs of our young people is essential and time sensitive. We are sputtering after a less than successful unveiling, but committed to reflection and implementing structures and strategies to move the system in a direction that closes the gap.
Our efforts are taking place at the same time that systems are experiencing push back at the local and state level around the country. Here is a link to an Education Week article sharing the shift that Mike Huckabee, a one time Presidential contender, is making from a conservative supporter to opposing implementation of the standards.
"It's been hijacked," Huckabee tells his audience, referring to common core, "and I don't support the hijackers or the destination. But I don't blame the airplane for getting hijacked."
He calls for the term "common core" to disappear from the education policy lexicon, but that states shouldn't back away from high education standards: "Common core is dead, but common sense should not be."
In this Education Week Teacher article, Anthony Cody shares hos concern with the influence of the Gates Foundation and the standard's tie to commerce and corporations.
There is a powerful engine of "reform" at work in the "venture philanthropy" of the Gates Foundation, which has sponsored the development, adoption and implementation of the Common Core, spending close to $200 million so far on the project. While every Common Core web site claims that the standards were "authored by states," those who inquire learn that the standards were written by a small groupof individuals affiliated with a handful of non-profits funded by the Gates Foundation.
I could pick many more posts and articles to share, some supporting and some fighting against implementation of these standards, but I doubt they would be read. You get the point, the experiences in our system are no different than the struggles taking place across the country. How we respond to the challenge will have a significant influence on the learning cultures that emerge to support students and teachers in this most important experience we call learning.
Posted by Seeking Shared Learning at 8:31 PM