February 10, 2013

What's wrong with Common Core

Michael Paul Goldenberg, Rational Math Ed

1. It's a rigid, one-size fits all system that presumes to know now, for everyone, everywhere, what EVERY child "must" know in order to be successful in a rapidly-changing world in which the rate of change increases all the time. Such an approach is guaranteed to always be dramatically lagging behind the demands of reality, stifling creativity at every level imaginable, punishing those who dare to try to escape the centralization and conformity such an approach to anything inevitably brings.

2. It is another doomed attempt to bring about meaningful change through a top-down, punitive system that will be badly misunderstood by many -- even if everything in it were good, which is far from the case -- and resented by those who for good reasons or bad view it as a wrong-headed path. Much research indicates that such reforms are fated to fail badly because few at the ground level were given a real voice in the process. Despite the propaganda that this is a state-led reform effort, it is in fact a federal one, supported primarily by corporate interests who are playing this opportunity for all it's worth -- new textbooks, new assessments, and new professional development all lining the pockets of the publishers and testing companies. And whether it succeeds or fails matters not -- they will profit greatly on this and will be ready to profit further when the next wave of change comes, innocently declaring that not they, but "the states" were the ones who brought this about.

3. Regardless of the hype, at the ground level, teachers, administrators, and other key stake-holders believe that this is all about test scores. As long as that is the case (and it in fact IS the case in fact if not in theory), this reform effort will simply comprise another decade of game-playing in which kids, teachers, and learning will be sacrificed at the altar of high-stakes tests. Moreover, the computer-adaptive tests and the propaganda surrounding them are clearly NOT to the advantage of learners: they take away control of the testing process from the test-taker and completely put it into the hands of a computer. How can that possibly advantage the students? They can't go back to problems previously answered to revise answers that they gain insight about from questions asked later. They can't skip questions that baffle them initially and return to them when they choose, for whatever reason. The technology is designed to minimize the time for testing, reducing cost, appealing to students whose main desire is to be done with the process as quickly as they can, but at the price of losing their full opportunity to maximize their performance. As they are unlikely to understand this cost (just as parents, teachers, and administrators are unlikely to see it unless they have given a great deal of thought to how to excel on standardized tests), they will sell themselves out in the name of relief, little realizing (and for most, little caring) that the price they pay is so steep.


Capt. America said...

1. Wrong. One size fits all. It's true that only a very few will benefit from a technical or science oriented education in terms of getting a technical or scientific job, and what very few other jobs there may be is not forseeable except that arts and crafts must be preserved as living exhibits.

2. Wrong. It has to be top down because the schools are flawed as institutions. Teachers or schools should not be the ones to grade students at all. Correction must come from above.

3. Wrong. There should be no "high stakes" tests, but teachers and administrators should have no influence whatever on tests or curriculum. It doesn't matter what they think.

A robot will do your job better, faster, cheaper, 24/7, and no back talk. The only way you will ever be paid anything is to own the robot.

Another way of putting it:

The benefits of technology are not shared. If this continues, there will be sudden change.

The kids are finding this out. They know their teachers are lying to them. There must be change soon to avoid sudden change. What is required is a change in values. It's not going to come from the teachers or the schools we have now.

Anonymous said...

Capt. America

You are so wrong in so many ways, but here is an article about why robotics aren't ever going to take all the jobs.


Michael Paul Goldenberg said...

Hope that's satire, Captain.

Capt. America said...

Anonymous 11:29:

Science fiction robots aren't happening, but robots are making jobs disappear forever, and for the first time, finally, new jobs are not taking their place. Marx never envisioned a time when new industries would not bring jobs, he instead wrote of new industries bringing well paid jobs and old industries paying slave wages. He was not wrong. That has been the pattern until now.

The humanoid robot is one of many milestones, but not a necessary condition for robots to take jobs. The farmer doesn't "plow straight" any more, a robot guides the plow, better, using GPS. This is not about the future; it is happening now.

Robots don't have to be intelligent. They can download any skills they need. They are just tools, that's all. The article was crap, but it did not dispute the fact that robots are taking jobs. The writer just opines irrationally that they will not continue to do what they are actually doing now. Gonna whop that steel on down, right John Henry? I don't think so.