I don’t know about you, but I am beyond outraged with the latest long-winded, vacant, meaningless, insubstantial, preposterous declaration by the Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department. Yet again, they exhibit the propensity to NOT listen to the parents and educators of this great state when it comes to our grave concerns about over-testing, inappropriate curriculum, joyless learning experiences for our children, and unfair expectations in the name of the MYTH of failing schools. Go ahead NYSED, let’s put another bandaid on this gushing mortal wound you call the Common Core.
Thirty-seven pages to acknowledge topics of concern such as state assessments, teacher evaluations, and curriculum. But most of this summary is just a rewrite of the same old Common Core rhetoric that goes something like this: Despite the bumps in the road, which we assure you we’re working on, the Common Core is exactly what we need to fix our failing schools and prepare our students for college as they were previously unprepared, and we know best, so let us throw you a bone while we blame schools for not properly implementing the Common Core and by the way it’s up to schools to eliminate unnecessary and redundant testing because it’s not our fault after all, and let us blame parents for not truly understanding how they can help their own children succeed, but rest assured we’re here to help and we will succeed, in fact we’ve got a plan that if we spend more money on getting parents involved, they’ll roll over with sincere thanks for us lending a hand at getting them involved in their children’s education, which is what they truly want so all that complaining they’re now doing will ultimately disappear once we, the truly magnificent declarers of educational needs, provide them with the proper resources to be good parents and good aids at home while their children become college and career ready, and nobody can say we didn’t ……. That had to be a run-on sentence because that’s how I imagine these people talking to one another while they’re perched over tables, breath sour from dehydration as they each in turn make important declarations, brows intently scrunched, listening to the wind being forced from their colleagues’ upper orifices, a forced air of gravitas in the room, ostensibly caring but with a real and not-so-hidden contempt for parents and teachers who they silently (and perhaps openly) curse for forcing them to this moment and forcing their hand to actually “do” something, their faces drawn into permanent frowns as they produce this meaningless paper that we’re just supposed to accept. And then what, possibly thank them for it.
This, coupled with Governor Cuomo’s ineffectual cherry-picked panel to review the Common Core, should be an insult to anyone out there who cares about education. Do not be appeased by these false offerings of salvation. It seems that someone is vying for our favor this election year. Someone wants to be viewed as education’s savior.
It’s all a farce, these panels, these committees, these official reviews. Perhaps the Governor, the Board of Regents, and the State Ed. Dept. are now pretending to respond to our concerns in light of the New York State Assembly Republican’s APPLE Plan, where this legislative body also offers it’s show of hearing parents and educators (which I believe to be sincere), and a collective of remedies to make things better. Perhaps they are responding to the valiant calls by legislators who claim, if the Regents don’t fix it, we will. Who will win? Who will we select as our savior?
If all this jargon isn’t a clear indication that this political and bureacratic rigamarole isn’t even coming close to addressing the concerns of parents, educators, and students, I don’t know what is. We’ve been patient, we’ve followed all polite channels with our grievances. And now it’s time to call “bullshit” loud and clear.
It is complete bullshit. These forums, committees, panels, and measures do nothing to improve education under RttT and Common Core. Do NOT accept these forms of “appeasement” from these jokers. Rebel and refuse. Opt out of ALL testing aligned with Common Core. Parental rebellion is the only way to break this down. They are still blaming local districts for the additional testing by saying the state doesn’t require it. They put the burden on districts to “review their local measures of assessment and reduce any unnecessary or duplicative assessments.” WTF does that even mean? I’ll tell you how we can reduce assessments–REFUSE to participate in any of them. Opt out of the state tests! Opt out of ANY and ALL assessments, even progress-monitoring computer-based nonsense assessments if they are at all aligned with Common Core and are not used solely for the individual classroom teacher’s benefit in tailoring instruction to your child’s INDIVIDUAL learning needs. This NYSED and bureaucratic rigamarole has to stop. Parents, you have the power. Go all out and cause chaos in this nonsensical system that does NOTHING to foster engagement and authentic learning for your children. The time for hesitation is past. It’s clear that waiting for something else to fix this is not going to work. Exercise your parental rights and refuse ALL common core aligned testing. Resist.
Whatever you do, get involved and stay involved, even if we are presented with a plausible “solution.”
If parents, educators and their communities were involved from the beginning in determining what was needed for public schools, would we be in the current situation? Would we see developmentally inappropriate standards, narrow, unreliable and invalid tests for students and teachers, violations of privacy rights and the overall cheapening of public education? I doubt it.
The point is this: it’s not about the standards, it’s about who controls them, who makes them, who enforces them. Fights over standards are really fights over who decides. That is the question any moratorium worthy of the public interest must consider. Because if the Core is defeated, yet the public remains excluded, you can bet Bill Gate’s tax exceptions another hair brained reform will soon follow in its wake, imposed more vigorously than the Core.
–Mark Garrison, from his recent blog post, “Failed Implementation, or Failed Governance? On the Possibility of a Common Core Moratorium”