"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How Teachers in the US View the Common Core

Gallup has recently released the results of a survey that seeks reactions of teachers to the Common Core standards. I am not sure how familiar most teachers in the US are to the writings of Finnish educator Pasi Sahlberg but the Gallup findings resonate soundly with what Pasi has to say, for example, in his article "Global Education Reform Is Here". The following are excerpts:
...the Finnish education system has remained quite uninfected to viruses of what is often called the global education reform movement or GERM...

...Since the 1980s, at least five globally common features of education policies and reform principles have been employed to try to improve the quality of education and fix the apparent problems in public education systems. 
First is standardization of education... 
A second common feature of GERM is focus on core subjects in school... 
The third characteristic that is easily identifiable in global education reforms is the search for low-risk ways to reach learning goals...

The fourth globally observable trend in educational reform is use of corporate management models as a main driver of improvement... 
The fifth global trend is adoption of test-based accountability policies for schools....
The following are some of the results of the survey:

There are several objections against the Common Core. The following are among the most common arguments against the new standards. First, when asked whether the Common Core undermines a teacher's autonomy - a significant majority agree:


A lot of teachers also expect the Common Core to be detrimental to other disciplines (arts and music, as well as decrease in recess time):


And as one gets closer to the topic of testing, the opposition becomes stronger. Asked whether the additional testing takes too much time away from teaching, more than three in four teachers agree:


And when students's scores are linked to teachers' evaluation, the response almost becomes unanimous. Teachers overwhelmingly believe that such practice is unfair:


Thus, the "common" in Common Core seems popular. The first characteristic of GERM seems attractive to most teachers. However, the other four seem not palatable....




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