On Friday, in an unobtrusive office park northeast of downtown here, about 100 temporary employees of the testing giant Pearson worked in diligent silence scoring thousands of short essays written by third- and fifth-grade students from across the country.
There was a onetime wedding planner, a retired medical technologist and a former Pearson saleswoman with a master’s degree in marital counseling. To get the job, like other scorers nationwide, they needed a four-year college degree with relevant coursework, but no teaching experience. They earned $12 to $14 an hour, with the possibility of small bonuses if they hit daily quality and volume targets.
(2/3) “Even in special education, our curriculum is based on Common Core standards. I’ll have to teach about seasons to a child who doesn’t know his own name. I’m expected to teach To Kill A Mockingbird to a classroom full of nonverbal students, some of whom may be wearing diapers and haven’t learned their ABCs. I think it’s insulting to tell students what they’re going to learn, regardless of their abilities and needs. But I try to work some magic and design a lesson plan where everyone in the class can take something away from the story. For the least advanced students, we just use To Kill A Mockingbird to practice the alphabet. Then I’m also expected to teach Algebra. I try my best using lots of velcro and lamination, but I can’t say that many of my students have ever learned how to solve for x. We spend so much energy on learning how to sit still. I think special populations should be focused more on vocational training like filling out forms and budgeting money—things that will give them confidence and prepare them for independence. But I keep my mouth shut and do my best to work within the system. When I first began teaching, my mentor told me: ‘If there’s anything about the system that you want to fight, just make sure it’s the hill you want to die on.’”
Jeb Bush: Common Core is great and no one can convince me otherwise
If you thought Jeb Bush might try a flip flop on the awful Federal educational standards known as Common Core, think again. Not only is he not backing away from his support, he’s cementing it.
from NY Times:
Jeb Bush, making his first visit to New Hampshire as a likely presidential candidate, implicitly criticized his Republican rivals for the nomination for changing their positions on difficult issues.
Discussing his support for the Common Core education standards, which are viewed unfavorably by many Republicans, Mr. Bush said, “you don’t abandon your core beliefs” just because a position appears unpopular. “The way I’ve sorted it out is: I think you need to be genuine, I think you need to have a backbone. I think you need to able to persuade people this is a national crisis, this is a national priority,” Mr. Bush told a group of New Hampshire business and education executives.
Asked after his remarks who exactly lacked backbone, he said: “I have it — that’s all I said.”
Never in my wildest dreams could I have foreseen the situation we find ourselves in today.
education policies that do not reflect what we know about how young
children learn could be mandated and followed. We have decades of
research in child development and neuroscience that tell us that young
children learn actively — they have to move, use their senses, get their
hands on things, interact with other kids and teachers, create, invent.
But in this twisted time, young children starting public pre-K at the
age of 4 are expected to learn through “rigorous instruction.”
And never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that we would have to defend children’s right to play.
is the primary engine of human growth; it’s universal – as much as
walking and talking. Play is the way children build ideas and how they
make sense of their experience and feel safe. Just look at all the math
concepts at work in the intricate buildings of kindergartners. Or watch a
4-year-old put on a cape and pretend to be a superhero after witnessing
some scary event.
But play is disappearing from classrooms. Even
though we know play is learning for young kids, we are seeing it shoved
aside to make room for academic instruction and “rigor.”
not have foreseen in my wildest dreams that we would have to fight for
classrooms for young kids that are developmentally appropriate. Instead
of active, hands-on learning, children now sit in chairs for far too
much time getting drilled on letters and numbers. Stress levels are up
among young kids. Parents and teachers tell me: children worry that they
don’t know the right answers; they have nightmares, they pull out their
eyelashes, they cry because they don’t want to go to school. Some
people call this child abuse and I can’t disagree.
I could not
have foreseen in my wildest dreams that we would be up against pressure
to test and assess young kids throughout the year often in great excess —
often administering multiple tests to children in kindergarten and even
pre-K. Now, when young children start school, they often spend their
first days not getting to know their classroom and making friends. They
spend their first days getting tested.
The most important
competencies in young children can’t be tested—we all know this. Naming
letters and numbers is superficial and almost irrelevant in relation to
the capacities we want to help children develop: self-regulation,
problem solving ability, social and emotional competence, imagination,
initiative, curiosity, original thinking — these capacities make or
break success in school and life and they can’t be reduced to numbers.
these days, all the money and resources, the time dedicated to
professional development, they go to tooling teachers up to use the
in low-income, under-resourced communities like this one where children
are most subjected to heavy doses of teacher-led drills and tests. Not
like in wealthier suburbs where kids have the opportunity to go to early
childhood programs that have play, the arts, and project-based
learning. It’s poverty — the elephant in the room — that is the root
cause of this disparity.
Rynne touches on the education standards from the perspective of academia; Colin speaks about the images teachers are forced to take on while enduring a bureaucratic system of intellectual and imaginative restraint on faculty; Jess asserts the importance of art and physical creativity as an essential aspect for quality development; Rich suggests the problem of scientific illiteracy stems from influences/hindrances of media/society alongside viewing education as a process of parenting and mentorship beyond the school bell each day; and our guest Chace expands on his view of the current education model in America through the lens of current Common Core, NGSS standards.
Certainly, group activities can serve a purpose in the teaching of introverts. In part because of the Common Core standards and the Internet increasingly serving as a proxy for classroom teachers, “cooperative learning” has grown in popularity among teachers in recent decades. As the English teacher Abigail Walthausen noted in The Atlantic two years ago, “Common Core standards place far greater value on small-group discussion and student-led work than on any teacher-led instruction.” And overall, this trend is a good thing. Several recent studies offer the latest evidence that students who engage in cooperative learning tend to outperform those immersed in traditional learning approaches—namely lectures. But cooperative learning doesn’t have to entail excessively social or overstimulating mandates; it can easily involve quiet components that facilitate internal contemplation.