Misguided War on the Common Core? At VERY least.

I think Bloomberg’s David Shipley does an excellent post-mortem on the completely political “state overreach” by Governor Mike Pence and State Senator Scott Schneider in repealing Indiana’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Based upon the draft of the *new* Indiana College & Career Readiness Standards (which for better or worse, THIS English teacher would call blatant plagiarism of the CCSS, minus the helpful organization of sequence and scope inherent in the CCSS but absent in this draft) along with The College Board’s subsequent announcement that the SAT is being realigned to the CCSS, I think this will be one of those “misguided” efforts that blows up on the Tea Party fear-mongering faction of the Indiana State Government.

I’m very open to hearing the debates. I’ve considered every perspective a CCSS opponent has thoughtfully shared with me, and can’t find any validity in the passage of this repeal as it appears to only create MORE work for our already overstressed education workforce. Not that implementing the CCSS is easy, but for us to go it alone? After 3+ years of building curriculum, considering a testing schema, and dumping hundreds of thousands of manhours statewide into getting ready for such a seismic shift? That’s foolhardy in ways that defy reason and as Shipley says, can only be determined as political (and thus self-serving to both Pence, Schneider, and those who voted for it ).

As I’ve said before, you would actually have to have mastery of several of the standards in the CCSS to successfully refute something like a set of common sense standards. Just because you bark at more things doesn’t mean you’re a better dog. I’m not advocating that the CCSS is perfect. Not by a longshot according to curriculum developers much smarter than myself. However, the rabidly viral Badass Teacher’s Association (an organization that threw me out for suggesting we draft a 2.0 version if the 1.0 wasn’t worthy), never expressed interest in practicing any of the Four C’s: collaboration, communication, critical-thinking, and creativity. I had no idea my desire to suggest that was an offense. Maybe it was just too badass.

Though I’m a staunch supporter of us having a single set of core standards coast to coast (core, as in, not the entire apple), I’m not specifically brand loyal to the CCSS. I’m just fearful of what this and similar legislation coming out of this General Assembly Session foreshadows. What it’s about ultimately are politicians (and yes, also voters who are kowtowed into illogical fears) becoming all the more capable of doing things to restrict teachers and caring administrators from taking advantage of some of the best resources to come to the education market for helping our kids stay competitive for what comes next. Let me enumerate.

For non-education folks: Here are THREE key takeaways from the General Assembly:

  • We think the federal government is pulling a socialist takeover by saying that learning targets the National Governor’s Association came up with are an overreach.
  • We think decriminalizing having a gun in a school parking lot makes sense.
  • We think we need to stop and ponder for a year or several the idea that preschool is right for Hoosier tikes.

I’m not stretching the truth much if at all in my interpretation. And I’m not naïve the amount of horse-trading that goes on in the State Capitol Building’s hallways. But based on the voting record of these senators who made these three things Indiana law this past month and to think that with these choices, they represent the electorate’s best for our children’s education, maybe we all need to go back to school.


2 thoughts on “Misguided War on the Common Core? At VERY least.

  1. Hi Eric,

    I think you did a wonderful job here. I can relate to your frustration. Because this has become so political, we are again missing the teacher voice. My mom and so many colleagues have worked tirelessly and seen such great benefits. They see benefits not only in their growth but in that of their students.

    I have great respect for you, the teachers in my state, & teachers around the country who have and are demonstrating the professionalism and leadership we should value in teachers & all professionals.

    You make solid points, and I don’t think sharing your frustrations is at all bad or inappropriate here. It’s real and felt by many teachers who initially took ownership, continue to give their time, and remain steadfast in their commitment to learning shifts, new approaches (which are greatly beneficial to teachers and students in practice), understanding them in theory & practice, receiving training, and training others to ensure students are gaining necessary knowledge and skills for the future in a world that is ever changing and vastly different from the one previous generations experienced.

    Politicians and those who oppose did not put in that type of leadership, work, and time. They did not see the benefits for teachers and students in practice, but they made decisions that impacted those who had.

    I’m usually more diplomatic; but like you, I can’t make sense of that decision (outside of it just being political), and I do not appreciate the message it sends to teachers (and other professionals) who lead in their professions, take ownership, accept challenges, and solve problems that come up by continuing to fine-tune their approaches, learn more, and collaborate with others. It’s what professionals do.

    Thank you again for sharing your views.


  2. Thank you, Rachel. I don’t want to be incendiary just for the sake of it. Your interpretation of my voice is spot on. Though many teachers have sided with their union and opposed to this shift, I’m disappointed in the quality of arguments that have come from that side. They’re weak and representative of the opinion that some politicians have of teachers. There is no fundamental way they can know how to affect change in education without involving teachers. I’m going to address this with a follow up post…as the draft of a reply I wrote you is a bit…verbose.

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