Friday, June 20, 2014

My Year Long Journey with Education Reform

I left teaching for my daughter's birth in 2009, just before Common Core reared its head.

It wasn't until June 2013 that I started to research CC.  I started by going right to the Common Core State Standards document and reading the ELA standards that would govern my teaching.  With a huge sigh of relief, I found I agreed with the standards.  They were very similar to the ones I used for five years.

A couple months later, I started blogging for Crunchy Moms.  One of the first posts published was about CC.  I don't remember the posters points, but I do remember arguing with her.  This event started my further research into CC, and then later Race to the Top.

Some elements of current ed reform rub against values I've held about education since my undergraduate student teaching.  I value my autonomy in the classroom and the trust my hiring represents.  I believe all students are unique and thus deserve their educations tailored to their needs as much as possible.  I believe not everything of value learned at school can be tested or measured.  Other elements of current reform clash against newer beliefs, such as those I gained through my literacy master's work.  I believe that student choice is key.  I believe in varied assessment, both in type and formality.  I see poverty and cultural affects on education. 

My learning about CC and RttT has taught me more than anything else the larger system of education.  I am sad to say that almost nothing I have learned about the politics of education matches my beliefs about student needs or my professional role as a teacher. 

These are my current reasons for opposing CCSS and RttT:
  1. Reliance on high stakes testing to judge students, teachers, and schools.
  2. Created by corporations and lobbyists based on business world models with comparatively little educator input.
  3. Rushed implantation resulting in insufficient professional review, no field testing, and no notification to the general public.
  4. Questionable quality of standards including: developmental appropriateness for youngest learners, lack of mathematics for STEM careers and other such "basement" vs "ceiling" concerns, rigid sequencing affecting ELL and special education students in particular, and the loss of literature in ELA classrooms.  
  5. Expensive. Local money wasted on tests and related materials, which benefit private, for-profit corporations.  
  6. Connected to the longitudinal studies required for Race to the Top, which carries significant possibilities for unethical data mining. 

The first two reasons are the most pressing for me personally. 

No comments:

Post a Comment