The Only in California Conundrum on the Common Core
Last week, I attended a meeting on the Common Core Standards in Sacramento. The morning was about the core itself. The afternoon was a discussion about the core by an esteemed panel. Earlier in the week, I’d met with David Coleman of Achieve who is considered to be one of the driving forces behind the core.
David was great. It was nice to talk about the education standards with the focus on lessons from education research and practice rather than the lunatic politics of standards setting that are so prevalent in Sacramento. In particular, we had a great conversation about how the core could potentially transform education in this nation by actually making them relevant to teachers and parents and allowing for meaningful state to state comparisons. We also talked about how ELD standards could be used to facilitate the process by which English learners could more rapidly achieve English proficiency instead of languishing in substandard programs for their entire school careers.
At the very least, we had a conversation about standards that was meaningful. Contrast that with the Sacramento meeting where the usual suspects sat in a room thinking the usual ideas and raising concerns about the impact of the common core on career and technical education. Fortunately, Linda Murray sat on the standards panel and had an opprotunty to both show and talk about the data revealing how far our students are from achieving our “world-class” standards.
Indeed, the meeting made it very clear once again how distanced Sacramento is from the day-to-day of school systems. Instead of thinking – what are college and career ready standards? Do we have a system to measure those standards? And do we have the data system to make informed decisions based on how well our students are doing in achieving those standards? We focus on how wonderful our standards are and how important it is to make them more and more rigorous and if fewer and fewer achieve them it’s because of their failure (or their communities).
At this point so few of our Latino and African-American students are entering college and succeeding in college that we should be questioning all aspects of our system. And we should be asking whether the common core can change that trajectory.
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