Yesterday, National Education Association president Dennis Van Roekel called for a “course correction on Common Core.”
“I am sure it won’t come as a surprise to hear that in far too many states, implementation has been completely botched,” he wrote. “Seven of ten teachers believe that implementation of the standards is going poorly in their schools. Worse yet, teachers report that there has been little to no attempt to allow educators to share what’s needed to get CCSS implementation right. In fact, two thirds of all teachers report that they have not even been asked how to implement these new standards in their classrooms.”
He insisted that teacher input is being ignored. “Governors and chief state school officers should set up a process to work with NEA and our state education associations to review the appropriateness of the standards and recommend any improvements that might be needed,” he wrote.
Let’s assume Van Roekel is right. Wasn’t NEA’s involvement and support for Common Core supposed to stop this from happening? Let’s go to the web site.
“After the standards are completed and adopted, there will be the task of developing assessments related to the standards,” reads this article on why NEA has been involved in the development and implementation of the standards. “The potential to vastly improve the quality of assessments and increase the role of teachers in the development, scoring, and use of assessments is an important rationale for NEA’s continued involvement in the project.”
Nor can NEA complain about inconsistency, that some states are doing it the right way and others are not. “Most importantly, the standards will be voluntary,” the union stated, saying the “initiative is promising also because it will involve input from states and a wide range of stakeholders” and touting the flexibility states and teachers will have to craft appropriate curricula and tests for their individual circumstances.
“The standards are obviously the work of teachers,” said Van Roekel last year. “Number one, they’re clear. Number two, there aren’t a thousand of them. And number three, they all can’t be measured using a bubble test. That was not by accident. It’s the input of the people who knew what had to be done.”
NEA noted, “To successfully implement any set of standards, we must do it in the right order. And we must do it in a way that is fully aligned. The adoption of the Common Core State Standards was just the start of this process and it is up to us to ensure we get it right.”
“Getting it right” leads to differences of opinion when there is “input from states and a wide range of stakeholders,” but once again everyone involved has overestimated how much the public has invested in this one way or the other. Here’s a sobering paragraph from yesterday’s Huffington Post:
A survey released today by education reform advocacy group 50CAN shows that a majority of Americans have no idea what the Common Core State Standards are, although the new set of education standards have been adopted in 45 states. Based on interviews with approximately 6,400 registered voters across the country, the survey found that while 31 percent of Americans support the Standards and 12 percent oppose them, a whopping 58 percent don’t know what they are.
In short, we don’t know anything about what we want everyone to know about.