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What would you think if you read the Dear Colleague Letter put out yesterday by the CCSSO trade group that is funded by tech companies and the accreditors and other beneficiaries of taxpayer education dollars and that supposedly represents state Departments of Ed and you ended up finding this sentence. “There is no experimental evidence to back up this dialectical/constructivist view of self being created by the required assessments being pushed under the Common Core. Or by the OECD to be considered internationally competitive in the future. In fact, we have to look instead to existential philosophy, meditation, spiritual, and history-of religion literatures to locate proof that the kind of personality we want to use education to create is actually possible.” Would you say “that sounds like a wonderful mandate for all schools and all students. Here’s my tax dollars to fund the transformation?”
Well, of course, we wouldn’t. That’s the beauty of the misrepresentations surrounding the Common Core...
The easiest way to explain what is being sought is a desire to have all thought grounded in emotions. It is the constant refrain that the problems to be used for assessment have no fixed answer and it is why lecturing and textbooks are becoming abhorrent. They build up the logical, independent, mind and are not necessarily grounded in feelings. Which means they may not produce the behavior desired to fit with all these plans for transformation. To get that requires a personality that has been shaped by “qualitative metamorphoses in affective-cognitive experiencing and thinking.” Which is precisely what the new curricula and gaming and online learning and these new assessments are designed to create....
reply to post by greencmp
Well, I am glad that the process is grassroots and doesn't rely on central direction.
When we eliminate the department of education, I see no reason that the work that has been done can't be useful to any states or towns that wish to use the curriculum.
Common Core Standards are the result of teachers and department-heads in smaller-state school districts confederating with one another to improve their buying power with big K-12 (Kindergarten through 12-grade) textbook publishers.
my career in school textbook publishing,
...The US Department of Education, Jimmy Carter's gift to the teachers' unions, seems even less interested in textbook errors than is NASTA. The DOE Web site is enormous but neither it nor other sites linked to it mention textbook critics like Hubisz or Bennetta. There are 34 mentions of the Hubisz' sponsor, the Packard Foundation, none of them about his study of science textbooks. If the Department of Education is on top of the textbook problem, it is only to cover it up.
Unfortunately, textbooks are crucial to learning. As the American School Board Journal reports, "… between 80 and 90 percent of classroom and homework assignments are textbook-driven…
This is frightening... More generally, the quality of the twelve most popular science textbooks for middle-schoolers is so low, Hubisz concluded, that none had an acceptable level of accuracy. An example of the effect of this inaccuracy, as reported by CNN in 2002:
"For 10 years, William Schmidt, a statistics professor at Michigan State University, has looked at how U.S. students stack up against students in other countries in math and science.
"In fourth-grade, we start out pretty well, near the top of the distribution among countries; by eighth-grade, we're around average, and by 12th-grade, we're at the bottom of the heap, outperforming only two countries, Cyprus and South Africa."
The American School Board Journal also cites Schmidt, who blames U.S. textbooks, "… because the content of textbooks in different countries correlates very closely to what children learn in those countries…" In Schmidt's own words, U.S. "books just do not hold up by international standards."
The results are similar in history. The Christian Science Monitor cited a 2001 US Department of Education report that "…more than half of [American] high-schoolers thought the US fought World War II in partnership with Germany, Japan, or Italy. Sixty-five percent couldn't link the Boston Tea Party to the American Revolution." These data about American high-school students came to mind when I happened to read an article by an 18-year-old woman who is pushing to lower the voting age to 16. Frightening, indeed. (In the young woman's defense, it may be that she merely thought her campaign would look good on her college applications -- "soccer: 2,3,4; French club: 3,4; amended the Constitution: 4." Colleges just eat that sort of thing up.)
It is not as if the schools have no alternative to these cheesy and expensive textbooks. As Bennetta pointed out, there are dozens of solid historians today, "writing trenchant books of history and biography, free of ideological claptrap." And there are thousands of books available to schools for free, over the "interNET." (We may as well finally put all those computers to some good use.) Project Gutenberg, for one, offers nearly 12,000 freebies. Of course, then the public schools might have to settle for writers of the caliber of Thucydides, Gibbon, and Franklin, but every idea has its drawbacks.
Why are public school textbooks so bad? CNN quoted the conclusion of Hubisz' report for the Packard Foundation: "Publishers now employ more people to censor books for content that might offend any organized lobbying group, than they do to check the correctness of facts." Unchecked errors spread: in 1999 the Boston Globe reported, "Some educators have traced the transmission of errors from one textbook to another and compare the process to the spread of a virus through a population." The Globe was too delicate to say so, but this "virus" smacks of plagiarism by textbook authors too rushed, lazy, or inept to research even reputable secondary sources. They settle for stealing from each other....
An exasperated William Bennetta explained why so many teachers accept inferior textbooks from these publishers, "[T]he major schoolbook companies… have long recognized that the teacher corps in America includes some desperate dumbbells, and the companies have learned to produce books that the dumbbells will like." Alistair B. Fraser, a professor of meteorology who runs web sites exposing bad science in textbooks, concluded bleakly, "Apparently, most teachers believe everything they teach." To which I add, why not? Cornell professor Donald Hayes, quoted in the Grandfather Education Report, reported on results of sampling 788 textbooks used between 1860 and 1992: "Honors high school texts are no more difficult than an eighth grade reader was before World War II." (And in an essay written over half a century ago Randall Jarrell complained that 1930's textbooks were much easier than the ones from the 19th century!) So by now our teachers, and their teachers, and their teachers, have been dragged through the same swamp of bad textbooks. They know not what they do, and they know not that they know not.
And the same might be true of the parents, school boards, and the culture at large. It may be that our culture has already dropped below the critical mass necessary to transmit learning, reason, traditions, and values from one generation to the next....
reply to post by maria_stardust
Which is precisely why large states, such as Texas, are able to heavily influence textbooks that are eventually adopted by other states. Texas has a relatively small Board of Education that currently is -- and has been ruled by a majority of religious conservatives. A group that has fought tooth and nail to water down science textbooks for our public schools to down play evolution and introduce creationism. The same group that sought to rewrite history books to their revisionist right-winged views.
reply to post by crimvelvet
I disagree, but then I have been reading Robin's Invisible Serfs Collar and hanging around with one of the guys who started the Charter Schools in North Carolina.
Most of the people on the science boards I normally spend time on will savage the current education system if given half a chance.
I can still remember the sense of betrayal I felt when I was researching the why of a statewide integrated math mandate. It turned out to be tied into tens of millions in grants to certain universities and state agencies and school districts. All undisclosed to the taxpayers paying for the schools and watching real learning stop for so many students. Later I became a bit of an expert on how a certain part of the National Science Foundation created these conflict ridden abuse of trust partnerships to corrupt math and science instruction in obliging states and districts all over the country. It was part of NSF’s human sciences and behavioral sciences research, but that is never readily identified when you first hear about an NSF grant..... Future Earth Alliance: Where Education, Climate, and Economic Planning are All Cores
reply to post by gnosticagnostic
As a home school parent, I appreciate your views of the system however this common core has in my own opinion a much broader gateway to new education reform. I don.t need to be told which text book must be bought and when. The common core is really a segway into what I believe will be the ultimate break down of the public school system as we know it... yes I know radical me however I do have sane reasons for believing that the way we educate our kids in twenty years will have nothing to do with sending them out to a school that will seem archaic. Think about how many public school are now offering free online schooling, we are constantly bombarded as a nation about how unsafe our children are at school Etc. We Think we know that the bill gates foundation is somehow managing to track every student in the country how true this is I don't know (never really know though... )if you back up and look at the broader pictures happening (re bullying )will see its all a big lead up to another way of schooling via tech and not in a class room... least ways that's how I see it.. So as long as I have the freedom to buy which ever curriculum I want for any particular unique child I have my freedom however another liberty taken is not cool with me.
reply to post by bigfatfurrytexan
Out of curiosity, how do you feel about Apollo buying McGraw-Hill?
reply to post by bigfatfurrytexan
My experience with Apollo: they are a "slash and burn" mentality. Rather than slander them with specifics, I can see a future for McGraw-Hill where product quality continuously declines, and where the value of ownership drafts/pay disbursement never weakens.