Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Prediction for Common Core

Anyone that has read my blog recently knows that I am not a proponent of the Common Core State Standards (the "Common Core").  My reason for opposing the Common Core is that I do not believe that they will be positive for education.  In fact, I believe that they will be a dismal failure, a straight-jacket that will drag most children down.

I predict that in the coming years, more and more people will realize that the Common Core represents the latest in a long line of failures of the education establishment (remember when No Child Left Behind was touted as the "end all/be all" of education).  Unfortunately, the failure of the Common Core may perhaps be counted as the worst due to it being implemented on such a wide scale (at least No Child Left Behind did not dictate one national set of standards).  We have essentially created a nation of educational guinea pigs and shackled them to an untested and unchangeable set of standards.

We have abandoned the model of judging and implementing educational change on a local level in favor of judging and implementing on a national level.  One huge problem with that is that when we make mistakes (and we are bound to make mistakes since we are still human after all), the mistakes are made on a national level and the harm will be felt on a national level.  Another huge problem with that is that we (or at least some of us) have decided to stop judging whether something is good or bad for our children's education ("It doesn't matter whether I think it's good for the children or not, we have to implement it.").

We have also abandoned the notion that all children are unique.  We have adopted a one size fits all solution for a one size fits very few issue.  Common Core is the "Model T" solution to education (Henry Ford, when producing the Model T in the early 1900s, is reputed to have said "You can have a Model T in any color you want as long as it's black.").  In a world where almost everything is customized to the particular needs of the end user, we are telling children they can have any type of education they and their parents want as long as it's Common Core.  We no longer see each child as a unique human being whose education should uniquely fit their needs.  Rather, we see children as a collective entity whose education must follow the Common Core (while we all mutter the mantra "Common Core, Common Core, we must serve the Common Core"), their needs be damned.

We have adopted a model of education that is based on unmitigated hubris: the notions that (1) a few educational elites could possibly determine the one right set of standards for the education of millions of children that they have never met and will never meet; (2) this new and untested set of standards is superior to any and all standards that came before it or (since there is no provision for changing the standards) after it; (3) that no one who wasn't involved in the promulgation of the Common Core has a superior idea about the education of even one of the children in the states that adopted it; and (4) (perhaps the worst) that regardless of whether it works for a particular child or children, it must be implemented and followed (besides, who are you to judge, see (1) above).

I hope for the sake of the millions of children who are being and will be subjected to the Common Core that I am wrong.  But, the limits of human intelligence being what they are and the dismal track record of the education establishment being what it is, I fear that I am correct in my assessment of the Common Core.

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