I had an amazing conversation the other day with one of the vaunted aging Hippis in town. I was at the deli counter and ran into this woman whom I had taught with. We exchanged greetings and I asked her if she was retired yet. "Oh no" she said, she loves hanging out with ten year olds. Well, yes, so did I, but things got so bad I had to leave. The conversation went on. She loves Common Core ( no surprise there). I don't like to argue with these people but I just had to ask, "Why?". Here comes the really, REALLY, shocking part. She loves Common Core because when her son was in school they didn't finish the math book and now they do!! WHAT?!! This is the person who comes from the Montessori ideology. This is the person who advocated for free school back in the day. This is the person who advocated that all children should be taught to their learning style and that conservative teachers who taught to the book were narrow minded and wrong headed!! WHAT?!! Now the hippis want everyone in lock step never veering from the book?!!
As I said, I don't like to argue with these people, but I was truly amazed. I have put up with Hippi nonsense since college days and now they are the HAMMER!! I had to ask her how she went about making her whole class learn everything well every day so they could continually go on with no stoppage for anything. She said, "We have para educators to help now". Seriously? A para educator who does not even have a teaching degree is going to make sure every student is on board every day? I did not ask that. I didn't ask how struggling students would catch up on the lessons they missed while being caught up by the para educator either. It sounds like a bit of a conundrum. We agreed that you will never have every student learning everything at the same time in the whole country and left it at that.
A parent told me that all the materials and books have to have "cc" on them now. The "cc" stands for "Common Core" but it should stand for "Continuous Cash". This is a scandal compared in size only to the Clinton Foundation. Can you imagine the amount of money the Common Core copyright holders are making when the HAMMER of state government is forcing every school IN THE COUNTRY to use their materials and books?!! I guess monopoly laws are now a thing of the past in this country. If you are on the right side of things there are no laws at all - you are free to be completely lawless.
The parent explained the testing to me as well. The teachers have to teach every page every day because EVERY student has to be tested on the material at the appointed time, no exceptions. If your whole class was out sick for a week- too bad. If the teacher doesn't give the test at the appointed time she gets a "black mark". I believe in teaching with books. I believe in this because curriculum writers do this for a living and the books should have an organized approach to learning that will build knowledge in good ways. Of course, it has to be a good book. You only get a good book by having CHOICE and trying things out. I like the book because it provides a framework for teach, practice, review and assess. I MOST CERTAINLY WOULD NOT TEACH THE BOOK EVERY DAY!! School should be fun and interesting. That's why we had ancillary projects. That's why we took field trips and made collages and diaramas and had science fairs. If my students did not understand a math concept we took an extra day to work on it. If I had a really smart class we could move along faster. If my class wasn't as sharp we took a little more time. If most of the class failed a math test we certainly didn't just go on !! I fought with the Hippis forever to say that we needed structure and you couldn't teach 25 students individually. Now, here is the HAMMER. They are in charge and academic freedom and student indivuality is ALL gone.
This is what always happens with totalitarianism. Whether it's Marxism or Communism or Facism- they start out with magnanimity and end up with the HAMMER. This situation in our nation's schools is sick and corrupt. Little children are frustrated. Even good students are feeling confused and stressed as they don't know all the questions on the test. They don't understand that the tests are designed that way, to sort of pretest their upper limits. I never believed in pretests, they confuse and upset students. Common Core is creating test anxiety in our students!! American parents and grandparents and taxpayers and citizens need to stand up and SAY NO TO THE HAMMER!! No one has the right to do this to our students and our teachers- no one!!