July 23, 2016

"The development of the Common Core was funded almost entirely by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It was a rush job..."

"... and the final product ignored the needs of children with disabilities, English-language learners and those in the early grades. It’s no surprise that there has been widespread pushback. In 2009 President Obama announced Race to the Top, a competition for $4.35 billion in federal grant money. To qualify, states had to adopt 'college and career ready standards,' a requirement that was used to pressure them into adopting national standards. Almost every state applied, even before the specifics of the Common Core were released in June 2010. The federal government, states and school districts have spent billions of dollars to phase in the standards, to prepare students to take the tests and to buy the technology needed to administer them online. There is nothing to show for it.... Standardized tests are best at measuring family income. Well-off students usually score in the top half of results; students from poor homes usually score in the bottom.... If we really cared about improving the education of all students, we would give teachers the autonomy to tailor instruction to meet the needs of the children in front of them and to write their own tests...."

Writes Diane Ravitch, the historian of education who was assistant secretary of education in the Bush I administration.

44 comments:

Ambrose said...

So, it's just like Windows 8 and 10, is that what she is saying?

bagoh20 said...

Maybe they forgot to enable automatic updates. Anyway, although it may suck tremendously, the new version will fix everything.

rhhardin said...

There's also the IQ difference across races, which if denied leads to really bad education moves. That's part of why standardized tests measure income.

Teach good character first and the learning will take care of itself. Differences will decline to a normal level from its present insane one.

rhhardin said...

I'm using XP, which is not pushing any updates these days, though the malicious software removal tool shows up every month. Apparently it was set to nag only about Vista and they gave up on that. Vista in fact was sold with a downgrade to XP license for a while.

Big Mike said...

I'm all for allowing teachers room to be creative, but I also want them to be accountable for preparing their students to handle the work of the next grade. A third grade teacher whose students are not ready to handle parts of the fourth grade curriculum is a failure.

Now tell me how to find the failures without standardized tests.

YoungHegelian said...

You mean the DoEd that gave us the infamous "Dear Colleague" letter also hosed up Common Core?

Oh, how can that be? I'm shocked. Shocked & stunned. And moving to Australia.

Paul Ciotti said...

Of course richer students score better than poorer ones. Their parents are smarter. That's why they're rich.

T J Sawyer said...

"Now tell me how to find the failures without standardized tests."

This is very simple. You ask your child's second grade teacher which third grade teachers to avoid. Of course this must be done very indirectly and the response will be given indirectly. So plan on spending time getting to know the school personnel well. This is what PTAs and volunteer work is for.

rehajm said...

Rushed, non experts, working in silos, regulation, failure.

Tell us something new...

PB said...

Remember, Melinda Gates gave us "Bob" a dramatic failure of a product. Common core was her encore.

If you care about the education of children:
1. Don't create motivations for having children outside of wedlock.
2. Allow the full per-student funding to be used as a voucher at the school of the parent and child's choice. (Chicago spends over $22,000/student/year, NYC even more).

If the public schools and their teachers are so good, let them compete for that money.

Paul Ciotti said...

Certain phrases will go down in history. Among them: Lebensraum; "peace in our time;" "I am not a crook;" "it depends on what the meaning of is, is;" "At this point, what does it matter?" "cling to their guns and religion;" and "Common Core."

AprilApple said...

Can rich busy-body know-it-alls back off and leave us alone? ever?

cyrus83 said...

From third-hand observation, I was not impressed by how the Gates Foundation spent its money. I suspect Common Core has made a fair number of consultants a lot of money, it just hasn't improved education noticeably.

Common Core might just as well be called Common Blindness. The point being is that if everybody in the country is taught the same curriculum (just in 3 modes, roughly special needs, standard, and advanced), then pretty much everybody will be similar in what they don't know unless they have independently had a passion for learning on their own time encouraged by their parents (harder when homework and activities eat up most free time).

For testing, I am a fan of the oral examination in those subjects where it is a reasonable testing choice (i.e. good for social studies and literature, not so much for math or writing). I think it is far easier to determine how much someone has learned by talking to them for 15 or 30 minutes than it is by subjecting them to a 2-3 hour session of answering Trivial Pursuit questions.

Oral exams can be administered either by the student's own teacher (which is what occurred in college when this type of exam was given) or it can be done by another teacher, whether from the home district or not, and certainly the exam can be recorded or observed. An advantage of this type of exam is that it allows the examiner to ask follow-up questions and to offer suggestions or hints when it seems somebody is stuck (i.e. maybe they draw a blank when asked to describe the conflicts leading up to the Civil War, but maybe they get going if the examiner redirects by asking them about Bleeding Kansas or Dred Scott).

Birkel said...

AprilApple:

I will answer with a C.S. Lewis quote:

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences."

Any further questions?

n.n said...

Read, write, and practice. The parents need to be involved.

Birkel said...

Everybody set to adopt a new teaching strategy should be forced to attend Harvard's Graduate School of Education classes. There, you will learn all the newest trends. You will learn these things in lectures and Socratic discourse.

After that, those attending should be forced to define irony.

narciso said...

that is just a tiny fragment of the educational templates, the roots are much older and more sinister,

http://invisibleserfscollar.com/

AllenS said...

Probably very difficult to get good grades when your teacher is speaking ebonically.

Sebastian said...

So tests measure income. Right. But income is strongly correlated with, wait, what's it called?

Abstract:

"This 5-year prospective longitudinal study of 70,000+ English children examined the association between psychometric
intelligence at age 11 years and educational achievement in national examinations in 25 academic subjects at age 16. The
correlation between a latent intelligence trait (Spearman's g from CAT2E) and a latent trait of educational achievement (GCSE
scores) was 0.81. General intelligence contributed to success on all 25 subjects. Variance accounted for ranged from 58.6% in
Mathematics and 48% in English to 18.1% in Art and Design. Girls showed no advantage in g, but performed significantly better on all subjects except Physics. This was not due to their better verbal ability. At age 16, obtaining five or more GCSEs at grades A⁎–C is an important criterion. 61% of girls and 50% of boys achieved this. For those at the mean level of g at age 11, 58% achieved this; a standard deviation increase or decrease in g altered the values to 91% and 16%, respectively."

Ian Deary has done amazing work. Ravitch should read it and get back to us.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Let's see - Cash For Clunkers, failed websites for OCare exchanges (not to mention the failed exchanges themselves), the money to combat "food deserts," the money wasted on projects searching for "shovel ready jobs"...but yeah the Left knows how to run shit--they should be trusted with the national check book.

Fun fact--almost all the large, long term studies on pre-K education show very little gain (and very short-lasting gains at that) for most students (specifically for "at risk" kids) but try finding a single politician who's not falling all over themselves to talk how much more of your money they're going to spend on those programs.

MikeD said...

As "Best of the Web" oft opines, "diagram this sentence", is that even a requirement these daze at any "public school"? It was at my elementary school. While I'm the product of stone age education, (finished elementary school a couple of months after Ike's first inauguration), the criteria for promotion waaay back then was, reading/understanding at grade level, arithmetic at grade level, writing at grade level. Of course this preceded the absolute worst educational development in the history of this Nation: the unionization/politicization of public school teachers.

David said...

" If we really cared about improving the education of all students, we would give teachers the autonomy to tailor instruction to meet the needs of the children in front of them and to write their own tests...."

Nice idea, if the teachers were of high enough quality to pull it off. But they are not. The schools of the wealthy get the best teachers. With noble exceptions, the best teachers are not clamoring for jobs at schools which serve the poor.

And then the unions--don't get me started.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

If the Left was smart they'd tie the failure of Common Core to the failure (or if you prefer, "failure") of mandatory minimum sentencing.
Think about it--the impetus for both was similar. You had groups of people who felt a lack of clear, widely-applicable standards caused harm for a given community. Those people pushed for a single standard that would be applied across the board. The application of that standard wasn't always handled well and even when it was it caused unforseen consequences--so now some of the very people who pushed for the change in the first place now loudly oppose the programs.
Anyway there are some lessons there. For anything ed-related, though, it probably makes more sense to look at what the teacher's unions want than it does to analyze state or nation-level policy changes while ignoring that crucial factor. Oh, yeah, and those same unions strongly support the Left/Democrats. But that probably doesn't have any bearing on these types of discussions.

AJ Lynch said...

"Asst sec of education in the Bush I administration". I love when they try to make a liberal, gay, democrat into a Republican.

mockturtle said...

Back in the 'Dark Ages' of my elementary education, every subject in each class was divided into groups, 1,2 & 3, based upon ability and achievement. Gifted children were allowed to skip grades and underachievers were held back. What we have today is an imposed mediocracy, education geared toward the lowest common denominator--'no child left behind'.

Carter Wood said...

Diane Ravitch is the Kevin Phillips of education: keeps touting her conservative bona fides when in fact she left the cause of accountability and reform years ago. You want a serious conservative view of Common Core, turn to Chester "Checkers" Finn. This is he and Michael Petrelli, also of the Fordham Institute: "School policies have gotten smarter in the decade after ‘No Child Left Behind’".

Terry said...

When billionaires design an education system, they design a system that will produce workers to make them rich.
They don't so this because they are evil, they do this because making money is what they do, and they think whatever makes them value themselves more is good for the universe.
It used to be that parents would choose how their children would be educated. If I were paying thousands of dollars a year in property taxes to pay the public schools to educate my child, I sure as Hell wouldn't want some Seattle billionaire controlling that child's education.

narciso said...

it's actually much worse than that, the ignite template, which is the basis for all state standards, before common core, follows constructivist principles, that is un fact based, but meme dominant propaganda of race and class, which isn't a surprising considering where it originates,

Jonathan Graehl said...

Aside from being overly concerned with his reputation as one of the greatest human beings who ever lived, Bill Gates especially in his foundation-running phase is one of the greatest human beings who ever lived.

That said, he's a fool to give money to education experts in the US, and that "standardized tests only measure family wealth" is all the proof anyone should need to be convinced of it. These people are zealot lemmings.

I applaud his malaria/clean-water inroads to qualify and quantity of life in that most-needy of need-holes, Africa. Truly this is a man who cares about all humans and not only those who are his closest neighbors. Great. I'd be happier if I were convinced he had an endgame for limiting immigration from and/or reproduction in the 6+ children per family regions Africa that he's so nobly improving.

I'm surprised he hasn't tried to do more about the birth-defect (supposedly Zika related but who knows) epidemic in Brazil. Maybe that's less cost-effective than mosquito nets for Africa. I dunno.

Anyway, perfectly honest, he's a better man (or at least, in a position of being able to do more good) than all the Rockefellers, Carnegies, etc.

Fernandinande said...

Standardized tests are best at measuring family income."

They measure IQ.

Well-off students usually score in the top half of results; students from poor homes usually score in the bottom.

Race is a better predictor than income.

rhhardin said...
There's also the IQ difference across races, which if denied leads to really bad education moves.


That is almost always denied by everyone who counts, but better yet, the official lies and/or ignorance as exemplified in the article lead to never-ending $tudies and grant$.

Fernandinande said...

"During the last 40 years, the federal government has spent $1.8 trillion on education, and spending per pupil in the U.S. has tripled in real terms. Government at all levels spent an average of $149,000 on the 13-year education of a high school senior who graduated in 2009, compared to $50,000 (in 2009 dollars) for a 1970 graduate.

Despite the dramatic increase in spending, there has been no notable change in student outcomes."

Flat from 1970 to 2008. All their studies and programs and fiddling and financing have no effect.

mockturtle said...

Aside from any racial factors, there is a wide variation in learning abilities among children. One size will never fit all and it's unrealistic to expect it.

Sal said...

Reading about how public schools began in the frontier Midwest, it's shocking how much things have changed. Back then a group of parents in a community hired a teacher to teach their children. Now parents aren't expected to be involved at all. The goal now is for educators to be accountable only to bureaucrats in DC.

Kids with intelligent, involved parents (aka "rich") will do fine despite the government. Kids with crappy parents (aka "inner city kids") are going to suffer. That's won't change.

bagoh20 said...

Create a single test you must pass to graduate. The test will involve going through the common decisions and function of modern life: things like how to get and keep a job, how to handle the money you make, use of credit, and how to avoid financial pitfalls, fraud and crime, basic concepts of the Constitution as well as how to effect state and local government, important concepts of health and civil cooperation. Of course to pass the test you must have the basic math and English skills to read, comprehend and calculate the answers to the questions. You must also pass a test in any manual, clerical or other skill that proves you employable at a basic level. Preparedness for higher learning should be evaluated entirely separate and not required for graduation.

Educators can teach to the test or get you there anyway they want, but you must pass to graduate. Educators are paid based primarily on how well they do at getting kids to pass. K-12 does too much non-essential stuff and too little essential. It should focus on making citizens who are not dependent on government or charity.

mockturtle said...

Preparedness for higher learning should be evaluated entirely separate and not required for graduation.

When I was in high school, this was called the 'College Preparatory' track. It was not anticipated that every student would take this track.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I think that we should provide children with the best possible education so that they'll be able to fully comprehend and explain the causes and effects of their perpetual underemployment.

Skipper said...

Wouldn't it be more valuable for Gates to pour his big bucks into business development rather than piddling left-wing projects like Common Core?

Roger Sweeny said...

Many people say something like Paul Ciotti 7/23/16, 6:47 PM, "Of course richer students score better than poorer ones. Their parents are smarter. That's why they're rich." On average, that is certainly true. But there is something else important going on. Again on average, children of richer parents come from a household and a peer group that is expected to and is pushed to do academic things. Poorer children are just less interested in less immediately practical things.

There is a big, big limit to how much a "good teacher" can change that. To the extent that school is about things that are not immediately useful, poorer students will never--never, never, never--do as well as richer students. The more academic success is required for economic success, and the more we pretend that the latest tweak to academics will make poor students do well, the more poor students will be screwed later in life.

Fernandinande said...

Roger Sweeny said...
To the extent that school is about things that are not immediately useful, poorer students will never--never, never, never--do as well as richer students.


Asians and whites from the poorest families do better than blacks from the richest families.

Try another theory, perhaps one that matches the data.

Unknown said...

Curriculum should be tailored to let faster students go faster and slower students get the remedial work and attention they need. Our classroom/lecture model is a complete failure except where the students are already highly motivated. Once a student falls behind, they can never make it up without targeted teachings.

mockturtle said...

I think that we should provide children with the best possible education so that they'll be able to fully comprehend and explain the causes and effects of their perpetual underemployment.

And quoting Aristotle while flipping burgers.

mikee said...

What would the problem be with adopting standard math and reading teaching methods from, say, 1891, and using them today? Other than the students being paddled into proper behavior, I mean?

Mark said...

With no way to evaluate performance across the teaching industry, the industry becomes one big rent-seeking guild. Common core isn't perfect, but it is meant to address the race to the bottom, and the vehemence with which it is hated by the industry probably means it's an overall plus.

Stephen said...

Interesting that you feature the failure of common core, but not Ravitch's diagnosis of the source of the deeper problem of inequality--which is poverty and racial discrimination--and her revised understanding of where the focus needs to be: on: well-maintained schools where all children have a chance to learn in classes of reasonable size taught by expert teachers. Coming from Ravitch, for years a strong supporter of standards and a former Republican party appointee, this emphasis is striking. Do you find those points uncongenial, or simply not interesting?

"If we really cared about improving the education of all students, we would give teachers the autonomy to tailor instruction to meet the needs of the children in front of them and to write their own tests. We would insist that students in every school had an equal opportunity to learn in well-maintained schools, in classes of reasonable size taught by expert teachers. Anyone who wants to know how students in one state compare with students in other states can get that information from the N.A.E.P., the existing federal test.
What is called “the achievement gap” is actually an “opportunity gap.” What we need are schools where all children have the same chance to learn. That doesn’t require national standards or national tests, which improve neither teaching nor learning, and do nothing to help poor children at racially segregated schools. We need to focus on that, not on promoting failed ideas."