Thursday, January 3, 2013

Yong Zhao: Five Questions to Ask about the Common Core


Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1750 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

These daily emails are archived at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
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“Elections shouldn’t exist”: The new war on school boards
The new education "reform" fight is over who chooses school boards: the mayor or the people. One city fought back
Salon.com BY JOSH EIDELSON MONDAY, DEC 31, 2012 05:00 PM EST
On Election Day 2012, as voters around the country chose between two presidential candidates who both touted policies that would make it easier to fire teachers, voters in Bridgeport, Conn., rebuffed a referendum backed by Michelle Rhee, Michael Bloomberg and the local Democratic Party. By a seven-point margin, Bridgeport rejected city charter changes that would have ended school board elections. It’s the latest round in Bridgeport’s multi-year battle over a below-the-radar front in America’s reform wars: Who should pick school board members – mayors or voters?

Five Questions to Ask about the Common Core*
Yong Zhao’s Blog 2 JANUARY 2013
If you are reading this, you know the world didn’t end in 2012. But the world of American education may end in 2014, when the Common Core is scheduled to march into thousands of schools in the United States and end a “chaotic, fragmented, unequal, obsolete, and failing” system that has accompanied the rise of a nation with the largest economy, most scientific discoveries and technological inventions, best universities, and largest collection of Nobel laureates in the world today. In place will be a new world of education where all American children are exposed to the same content, delivered by highly standardized teachers, watched over by their equally standardized principals, and monitored by governments armed with sophisticated data tools.

Why schools used to be better

It’s one of the ironies of education reform that despite wave after wave, schools are seen by many as in worse shape as before all the changes. Here’s a look at why from Marion Brady, who was a classroom teacher for years, has written history and world culture textbooks (Prentice-Hall),  professional books, numerous  nationally distributed columns (many are available here), and courses of study.

This is How Democracy Ends — An Apology
Middle Grades Mastery Blog DECEMBER 18, 2012 
America has long been known–despite our problems–as the country of freedom, innovation, and wealth.  There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is our democratic and free public education system.  Prior to NCLB in 2002 and Race to the Top eight years later, standardization was limited to SAT and ACT tests, NAEP and PISA tests, and graduation exams for Advanced Placement courses.  We valued music, art, drama, languages and the humanities just as much as valued science, math, and English (for the most part).  We believed in the well-rounded education.
Now, the Common Core State Standards has one goal: to create common people.  The accompanying standardized tests have one purpose: to create standardized people.  Why?  Because the movers and the shakers have a vested interest in it.  It’s about money and it’s about making sure all that money stays in one place.

Deferring Six Figures on Wall Street for Teacher’s Salary
New York Times BY SCOTT EIDLER JANUARY 2, 2013, 6:36 PM
Four years after the financial crisis, Wall Street hiring has remained weak, and many college graduates have searched for jobs and even careers in other fields. In the last several years, hundreds of such would-be finance professionals and management consultants have taken their high-powered ambitions and spreadsheet modeling skills to the classroom.
Teach for America, the 22-year-old nonprofit organization that recruits high-achieving college graduates to teach in some of the nation’s poorest schools for two years, in particular has garnered renewed interest among the business-oriented set. Teach for America says that its 2012 class contained about 400 recent graduates with a major in business or economics. Of those with professional experience, about 175 worked in finance.

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