I remember when the Strategic Plan came out under the Clinton's in the early nineties. As teachers we sat in stunned silence as we were told we didn't have an education plan in our schools and so they were going to give us one. Of course at that time they at least pretended that these were state standards which would comply with the United States Constitution which DOES NOT GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE SCHOOLS TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. We of course investigated and found that -lo and behold- every state had almost identical standards!Today though, they are hiding behind the States Governors Association and the School Chiefs Association, they come right out and say that every school district in the United States and in the WORLD will have exactly the same standards. But let's get back to this idea that we didn't have a plan in the schools before the Federal Government socialists took over.
The teachers were stunned because, of course, we had a plan, a very detailed scope and sequence that was updated every 5 years. We had curriculum committees for every academic area and we reviewed and updated curriculum constantly, along with updating curriculum materials in this 5 year time frame. The Carnegie standards required a certain number of credits in major academic areas such as Science, Math, English, and Social Studies, to be accomplished before a student could graduate from high school. Now the same people, under Common Core, are at it again. Our standards are too muddied, we need them to "streamline" our standards. REALLY?? In New York educators are finding that 4 standards are being "streamlined" to fifty under Common Core. And guess what? There's no mechanism in place for review and updating as we always had before with our scope and sequence. Do the authors of these standards think they will just be good forever?? But let's talk about muddied education.
How about mainstreaming? This was an idea from the Federal Government. So now, children with IQs of 60 are in regular classrooms, often against the wishes of their parents who know they are not being served well there. The schools are operating under the burden of hiring full time staff for each disabled child. Here's another idea from the school reform crowd ,"individualized" instruction. SERIOUSLY? The teacher is going to teach to the strengths and weaknesses and learning styles of 25 students at a time all individually?? Talk about muddying the water. I have news for you, this is not "straight forward education". But let's talk about curriculum.
What has happened to curriculum since the school reformers took over. Well you don't just teach basic academics anymore,I can tell you that.The Federal Government geniuses with their nanny state mind set have eliminated a good deal of the time that was supposed to be spent learning to read and write. Mental health is a big item now and children who don't behave in class are LABELED AS MENTALLY ILL!!! ALL students get mental health intervention as counselors have once a week programs to train children in anti-bullying programs. Students leave their classes regularly for Buddy programs, going to other classes in the building and sometimes to other schools.Breakfast at Title one schools is served AFTER THE BELL RINGS and the teacher must set aside time for government healthy snacks too.Many schools have community service programs so students are taught this program and often have to leave school to do service. Artists in residency come in and take over classes sometimes for an hour a day for a week or more. Elementary schools have gardening programs now too. Then there's the Dare program and the Sex Ed program which is mandatory for 7th and 8th graders for one class for a whole semester each year. Who's MUDDYING THE CURRICULUM here? It's a wonder students can learn anything at all at school. And yes, the teacher trying to "individualize" to every student is dumbing down the curriculum. First reports from students about Common Core English texts is that they "didn't learn anything". Parents are up in arms about kids reading one novel a year and spending lots of time on Movie clips that are PG13 and have very dubious subject matter. Some teachers have commented that we are gradually destroying 200 years of education building in the United States.
It sounds like the only people who are really set to gain from Common Core are the EDUCATION INDUSTRY. That's right we have an EDUCATION INDUSTRY now like we used to have an Airline Industry or a Banking Industry. The tech people (you see why Bill Gates funded this) and the textbook people and the consultants are already cashing in and they are so happy because it's all centralized now- no more catering to states and locales or having to worry about all that pesky competition. The amount of bureaucracy is mind numbing. Schools now have academic officers and support officers and innovation offices and instructional specialists and instructional coaches and student program divisions - need I say more? WHOSE MUDDYING THE WATER HERE??
One teacher described it this way - it's kind of like that miniseries Deadwood about the Black HIlls Gold Rush, "There's gold in them thar hills!""The miniseries would prepare those in the education field for the likely eventual outcome- one or two big winners holding most of the gold, scores of others working for these winners, and a devastated landscape pocked with the scars of enterprise." Let's really unmuddy these waters- TEACHING IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE AND STATES CAN DO IT JUST FINE WITHOUT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. In fact, achievement in our public schools has been flat since the Federal Government got involved. I, for one,am tired of the excuses, lies and manipulations of control mongers that want our schools. Don't listen to them America, nothing they say is true and you can run your own schools just fine WITHOUT FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OR ANY CENTRALIZED CONTROLS!! Get our schools and our curriculums out of the muddy water by giving the centralized planners their PINK SLIP!