edward long

Association of Old Crows


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C.C.S.S.-- Yea or Nay?

Common Core State Standards is a big-time effort currently under way to make necessary changes in America's public schools to better prepare graduates for employment.
On this specific issue we the people are either ignorant, apathetic, for it, or against it. Those last two groups can help the first two by expressing their reasons for their positions. Let it rip TEDsters!

Closing Statement from edward long

The vote is: Yeas 0, Nays 11. The Nays have it. It is seen by the respondents to be just another expression of opinion about WHAT needs to be done without a plan for HOW to get it done. It is seen as a power grab by the Feds which leaves the states with little or no say in how schools are run. It is seen as an effort to promote certain career paths while inhibiting others. It is seen as a death warrant for all non-STEM programs. It is thought to be off-target in the definition and utilization of Testing. Tedsters who do not like CCSS spoke up. TEDsters who like it kept quiet. Thanks to all for many experience-based opinions worth sharing.--Edward

  • Aug 20 2013: Every few years or so there is some sort of state or national initiative to rewrite standards. The common core standards, at least in my area of teaching, are a benchmark...that's about it. I teach in a fairly affluent community with several students in AP courses, are motivated and parents that "check in" and support the educational process. I know from my discussions with educators who teach in far less affluent communities that educators spend more time being social workers, life counselors, etc. just to keep students coming back to the classroom and on track to graduate...never mind teaching to the Common Core, assigning homework, or getting to the end of the syllabus. Bottom line: we need to spend more time equalizing the experience. Less affluent schools will never improve until the entire community gets on board to support education, not just monetarily, but more importantly right in the homes, in businesses, community and religious organizations. The solution to the problem is not granular and cannot be solved by adhering to standards, it is broader in scope and boils down to building better communities.
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      Aug 20 2013: By "granular" do you mean the problem is not a bunch of small, individual, unrelated issues. You believe the root cause is nothing less than faulty functioning in families, businesses, and churches? What about the government? Thanks, Kathy, for a valuable contribution based upon real-word experience.
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    Aug 14 2013: Edward, I worked with a committee this summer to incorporate CCSS and STEM into the syllabus. As a general overview we must understand the following:

    Common Core State Standards: Arne Duncan want the States to be on the same page. If you transferred from any state to another you would have the ability to pick up at the new school who would be lock step with your old school. It is essentially a federal top-down" takeover of state and local education systems. Opponents aver that states should not relinquish control of education to the federal government, neither should they cede it to the consensus of other states. This also came with the mandate that teachers should be held accountable. Therefore, as of this year the bulk of teachers evaluations will be based on the students test grades.

    STEM: The term is typically used in addressing education policy and curriculum choices in schools from kindergarten through college to improve the nation's competitiveness in technology development. STEM is an acronym for the fields of study in the categories of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

    All three of these are being pushed by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a effort to socialize education. He sponsors the idea that the Federal Government should write and grade all tests, develop all syllabi, thus being the sole agent in the education process. He used the PISA Exams as the driving force to show that CCSS and STEM were the solution to the USA extremely poor showing scoring in the bottom third of the bottom third. His "suggestions" carry the weight of federal funding. Blackmail is a wonderful tool.

    There is good and bad associated with this mandate ... Leveling the playing field is good ... loss of state rights is bad. Due to funding many electives (arts and trades) may be eliminated ... bad. Mandates without funding is always bad.

    Out of space. Hope this helps. Wish you well. Bob.
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      Aug 14 2013: Man do you have the right surname! Robert you are obviously an educator who knows how to. . . educate!! This comment you shared is the kind of info I know TEDsters are privileged to have and are willing to share. Bravo Robert!
    • Aug 14 2013: how does CCSS violate state rights?
      • Aug 14 2013: Because that constitutionally K-12 education is the sole responsibility of the states. Now, the federal government is forcing the teaching of the CCSS on the states to adopt the system in the condition that if the states refuse to do it they will lose certain funds which are usually from the general tax revenue which should be fairly distributed to the states without this discrimination anyway.
        • Aug 14 2013: bart
          thx for the explanation - I assume you mean that this is based on the 10th Amendment.

          1. It is not clear because the Amendment says the responsibility resides with the state or the people. Some have stated it is States have usurped the power of the people/parents - and usually the Supreme Court has agreed with the parents. (meyer vs Nebraska, Farrington vs Tokushige, Pierce vs Society of Sisters, etc. ) dating back to the early 19th century to the 20th century.
          2. If the states fail in education, in the past the Federal Government has become involved under the General Welfare portion of the Constitution - 14th Amendment, Brown vs the Board of Education are just a few examples.
          3. It would be an interesting court case to see if CCSS falls under the 10th Amendment or under the General Welfare.
      • Aug 16 2013: I am quoting the 10th amendment here:

        'The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

        i interpret the word "people" as the people within the state. Therefore as long as the state government policy or the state legislature act violates the equal rights (the 14th Amendment), then the federal government is prohibited from inference to the state's policy. In the CCSS case, the states haven't done anything to discriminate any student education in the course content against any particular group. Furthermore, even if the feds found some course materials are discriminatory, they could always point these out for the states to revise them. However the CCSS is going to replace ALL THE MATERIALS including the STEM, etc. which by any imagination we can't say they are discriminatory against,or violating the equal rights of, individual citizens, Furthermore, some discussion on the case study of the 14th Amendment, the courts usually didn't include many groups such as students who are slow learners, etc, as the protected group under the 14th Amendment.
        It perhaps is all right if the Department of Education suggested to the states to voluntarily use the CCSS, but IT BECOMES COERCION OR DISCRIMINATORY BY USING FEDERAL FUNDING TO REWARD ONLY THE STATES WHO AGREE TO IT.
        • Aug 16 2013: Lets agree to disagree -the term people means to me the individuals and I would say that the Supreme Court over the years has agreed that the individual has the right over the State government.
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    Aug 14 2013: o.k. Edward I'll let it rip......

    A. I have yet to see any educational mandate of any kind that has addressed the core issues our antiquated educational system is suffering from.

    B. I have yet to wittiness any educational mandate, (good, bad or ugly) that has been effectively executed. Yes they are impressive, nicely wrapped by individuals who are talented theorists.

    C. data based information is o.k. but, flawed. if you have had the opportunity of reading this "stuff" then all students are" cut out of the same cookie cutter".

    D. Testing....the on-going quest for the preferable" silver bullet". a school districts testing grades, even when averaged do not speak to the true ability of a student nor an accurate reflection of a districts teaching staff.

    the drop in student achievement lives in the quite middle population. The reason(s) are another conversation Edward. the fix, Magnet High Schools. the reasons are vast and successes proven over time. please read;

    Yes, it does" take a village to raise a child".
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      Aug 15 2013: MEJ,

      A. The goal is not to address educational issues ... it is to socialize education with the Fed as the driver.

      B. The mandates are the vehicle to force your will on others. If they like your money they will endorse your mandates. That is the golden rule ... He who has the gold rules ... that would be the fed.

      C. Data always supports the mandate ... I worked in analysis trust me on this one.

      D. Testing is a necessary evil but should be a tool used to show the road taken in relation to the road proposed. Testing is a tool ... high stakes tests .... ruin careers and students willingness to learn.

      Until we offer a duel curriculum of college prep and manual arts / trades, the madness will continue. Not all student will or should go to college. Tech schools and Community colleges are for the majority of people.

      There are many ways to achieve the goal of better education .... Magnet schools, private, lessons learned overseas, all of these are available ... and have been available. However, the goal of the Secretary of Education is assert his will on you and socialize education with the fed writing text, devising and grading tests, and developing all syllabus without input from states or the citizens. See golden rule in B above.

      The best way I know of ensuring failure is to place the Federal government in charge of anything.

      Sorry to sound like I am preaching to you. This really gets to me.

      As always thanks for listening to me rant. Your one of the good guys.

      I wish you well. Bob.
      • Aug 15 2013: A. "The Fed" isn't driving anything. This has all happened purely at the state level. The core was developed by a conference of the states and is up to individual states to adopt or not. No federal enforcement is involved.
        B. There is no "mandate". There is no force being used upon individual states. Quote the specific laws or regulations that force states to adopt the common core. Cite your sources--the direct regulations or laws, not some second or third-hand account from a lunatic political source.
        C. There is no "mandate" for data to support.
        D. Testing is up to each individual state, so its problems are, again, the states' problems. Whether or not there is a DUAL curriculum (not "duel"--it behooves someone who attempts to critique a curriculum to have at least the most basic competence in language use) is again up to individual states. There is no mandate. Quote the specific federal laws or regulations that mandate the common core. Quote them.
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          Aug 16 2013: A: Will Barack Hussein Obama and the Sec. of HE&W allow this hugely influential interstate rugulation to operate free of their oversight? Really? The Feds will continue to control the purse strings but they will ignore this far-reaching program which goes to the very heart of the education system in America? The official line is , "CCSS is NOT under the control of the Federal government."?. Such an arrangement, if true, would be contrary to every interstate effort ever undertaken in US history! Suddenly each state is being told by Washington, "Do whatever you want. We will have nothing to do with it"? I don't think we have the truth here.B and C: We are discussing the pro and the con of CCSS. The issue is not about whether or not there is a Federal mandate. The debate here is about the appropriateness of the program for the nation. It absolutely is a national effort! D: If testing can vary from state to state how is the program able to demonstrate overall standardization? You request quotes from the "specific federal laws or regulations". I thought you said the Feds had nothing to do with CCSS? To what federal laws and regulations are you referring? Thank for your thoughts Bryan. Should I record you as a "Yea" vote?
      • Aug 16 2013: Will your idle speculation prove anything at all? Really? Since I'm a scientist and not a demagogue, I don't live in the world of assuming what I claim to prove. Right now, there is no evidence about what will happen. Likewise, given the actual timeline of solid implementation of the plan, Obama will probably be out of office before it even can be seen whether or not it will just be abandoned like so many other pedagogical fads have been abandoned. That's a little detail that the idiot Chicken Littles like to pretend doesn't exist. The USA is infamous, worldwide, for its pedagogical fad-chasing and has been a fad-chaser for at least a century.

        I was responding to a particular paranoid screed that SPECIFICALLY used the term "mandate". I notice that you did not jump all over that screed over the term "mandate". Instead, you dishonestly quibbled over the term only AFTER someone pointed out there was no "mandate". Since there is no mandate, only a paranoid delusional would make claims based on the existence of a "mandate" that didn't exist. I request quotes from specific federal laws and regulations EXACTLY TO POINT OUT THERE IS NO MANDATE and that whining about a "federal mandate" is nothing better than lunacy. If there is a mandate, QUOTE THE MANDATE or withdraw the flat-out lie that there is a mandate.

        Finally, I am not a "yea" vote. I am a "people with no clue need to stop making ignorant paranoid delusional screeds" vote. I consider the "common core" to be an interesting concept, but I also believe it is founded more in wishful thinking and the need to provide the illusion of "doing something" than actual solid grounding. Likewise, if some state wants to comply with NCLB by merely lowering their own state standards to the point where one can graduate from high school by being able to guess the first letter in ones first name three times out of four, it's that state's prerogative. Bad education imposes its own punishment--standards aren't needed.
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          Aug 16 2013: There is a current conversation that addresses how to communicate effectively and suggests that certain insults, name calling, and specific words, should be avoided.

          Addressing Edward in such a manner is uncalled for. I also referred to mandates but have read your reply over and over to cross out the attacks and find your point. Here is what I concluded ... 1. you voted NO .... 2. you do not think there are educational mandates.

          On behalf of the paranoid, delusional, screeds, ignorant, whining, chicken littles, pretenders, etc .. I wish to thank you for your response.
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          Aug 18 2013: I do not want to start a conversation titled: "Should people with no clue stop making ignorant paranoid delusional screeds?", please feel free to do so. Since this debate is simply titled "CCSS Yea or Nay?" I will record your response as "not a Yea", or, more commonly known as a "Nay". Thanks for adding your specific opinion about the subject of CCSS to all those we have seen thus far including Mr. Winner's. By the way, good job on not being demagogic.
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      Aug 15 2013: Clearly another "Nay" vote Mary Ellen. Thank you for giving 4 thoughtful reasons for your convictions. I see some repeating expressions of shortcomings with CCSS. . . the core issues are overlooked; nothing about how to perform the fixes; faulty data used; testing is the wrong metric. Hmmm.
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    Aug 13 2013: Ok I will fire the opening salvo.

    IMO the first thing to be determined is what is a purpose or goal of the institution?

    The second thing to be determined is the metric for such goal.
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      Aug 13 2013: We are long past the initial research phase of this program. It is planned, funded, staffed, organized, field training is in-place, and our public classrooms are filled with youths who are, as we speak,being better prepared to meet the needs of the employer of tomorrow. I trust the various state governors did establish the purpose and goal of the effort at the outset. As for the metric, let's hope some erudite TEDster will enlighten us. For now, Pat, you are numbered among the "Yea" group.
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        Aug 13 2013: Au Contraire, my premise would be that the goal should be aimed at value. Value is something that changes constantly with the zeitgeist. By definition when you say the goal has long since been set means that that goal/purpose may not be relevant.

        Obviously technology is constantly changing therefore the goals should be as well. Value is also different from one person to the next therefore much subject to change.

        Metrics are tricky and should be used with the greatest of common sense. But the best one that any organization complies with is the free market or it will wither away.

        Schools that teach typing are dated, schools that do not teach how to budget or about credit are dated, schools that do not teach logic or critical thinking are dated, schools that do not teach manners are dated, schools that do not teach learning how to learn are dated, schools that do not teach conceptual thinking are dated, schools that teach memorization are dated, schools that do not teach application are dated, schools that graduate students that do not apply are dated, schools that do not teach the difference between ethics and morals are dated, schools that don't teach the discipline or ability to face or deal with the subject at hand (a high wire school that does not teach facing or confronting heights) are dated, etc etc

        On second thought change dated to irrelevant..
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          Aug 13 2013: CCSS is being carried-out in schools across the nation. Whether the design will yield "value" or not is TBD. So you are in the "Nay" camp then? In terms of public school Education CCSS is the zeitgeist!
        • Aug 14 2013: Hi Dear Pat...I am in your side.
          By the way,Dear edward...which side are you in?
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          Aug 14 2013: @ edulover learner: I am just beginning to learn about it all so my opinion is not based upon a fully informed understanding. I have seen enough to sign-up for the NAY team strictly on the basis of the program being an important loss of state's rights which is another example of America's transition away from the 10th amendment of the Constitution. ("“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”). I DO NOT want my state to run schools the same way Gov. Brown runs California's!
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        Aug 14 2013: I guess if it were up to me I would privatize .all public education and eradicate any federal involvement in education. This is not possible but the voucher system would be a compromise.

        I question that the CCSS is the zeitgeist, as it is lousy with politicians and government employees?

        I don't think I'm entirely ignorant nor apathetic and since the CCSS does not align itself with my previous statement put me down as a NAY.
      • Aug 17 2013: Ed,
        I discussed one of the CC teaching material in math as included below. It was one of my TED Discussion earlier this year.
        "First, let me explain what actually complicated the matter in the method in the "Common Core Standards" about the equation of 1/2 X 1/3 = 1/6. In their explanation they said the solution of 1/6 happens to be equal to the area of the product of the 2 fractions; 1/2 and 1/3. . But that's completely math computation which is very difficult for the children to relate to. They could use the physical demo by showing the cut up of a 1ft by 1ft square piece by first cutting it to 2 pieces of 6"x12", then cut each of them in 3 ways to get pieces of 4'x6', so that each sub-piece will amount to 24 sq inches to show that it would be equal to 1/6 of the total area of the 1 ft x 1ft (12" x 12" = 144") board. One may ask why should we do these measurement steps? But if you don't approach it in this way then what would this approach be any different than the pie-slices approach anyway.
        Now if you take this so-called "truth" method, it involves a stringent requirement that all the cutting measures have to be very precise. Because if not, the end "product" won't be equal to 24 sq inches exactly However, in the pie slices method, you may not realize it, the measurement process doesn't have to be precise to show the result, any roughly close measurement will suffice, and the latter method is much easier to understand visually and tangibly by the children/students as well. So why should we spend lot of time and effort to make all these measurements that really doesn't appease to intuition of the children."
        My conclusion was that those "authors" from the ivory towers probably have no idea how the average children are learning math to establish the foundation for studying science and technology in their later life.. For practical counting in life such as miles per gallon or 15 minutes to exercise, you don't need or want 100% accuracy!
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          Aug 20 2013: Sorry Bart, your comments are not easily digested so it took me a while. I think you are expressing the idea Fritzie quoted above that theories about the What are plentiful, but viable ideas about the How are scarce. I think the soup is spoiled because we have too many cooks, especially cooks who have never really cooked anything!
  • Aug 19 2013: it all went to hell in a hand-basket after they ditched Latin.
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      Aug 19 2013: a congruo? Gratias.
      • Aug 19 2013: See what I mean, that's completely wrong. You should have used the active present conjunctive form. Jesus. Actually he would have know that... after all he had INRI on the cross.

        He'd agree - hell in a hand-basket.
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          Aug 19 2013: I wish I could give you a thumbs-up for that observation but using the Lord's name in vain cannot be rewarded. So, you propose Latin as the panacea. Duly noted. Nil Carborundum Illigitimii!.
      • Aug 20 2013: How was that in vain he knew Latin - language of the times. And if there is a jugde it should be him, i'm sorry I cant give you a thumbs up either - you know- Judge not and thou shall not be judged.

        Something to educate/amuse this little diatribe on...

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          Aug 20 2013: Hi freaking larious!! Monty Python I believe. Being judged is uncomfortable, but you did use the Lord's name as an expletive. Such an application is "in vain" in that it brings no glory to God and diminishes the honor due His name. Please write that a hundred times before dawn, or else. Thumbs-up for the video.
  • Aug 16 2013: My point was not that the education from the early 1800's was far below education today, it was that most of the kids didn't go past about 12 years old. If they went, they were not educated to a high level academically. Instead, they learned what they needed then went on to typically hands on type careers. Those that required little education. And a large group never attended school.

    Those that went on to attend university or higher education were far wealthier than the average person as well. The normal child did not go to further education because they did not need to

    I would agree, in part, about the dumbing down of instruction. But part of that is the requirement that everyone, regardless of whether they want to learn or not, is required to learn. Those who don't want to learn or be in school are required to be educated and take an inordinate amount of time a resources to teach. And that is money that is money that is not spent on pushing the top students further. Why? Because every students is supposed to read, write and do math at a certain level and some kids just aren't there. But they are required to be taught like they are going to a university, even though they may never go there.

    There is also no doubt that the students today would be hard-pressed to pass tests from previous eras. On the flip side, those who demand the academic testing at those "high" levels probably can't pass them either but they have no idea what it is that should be taught or tested. Yet they are the ones who make the laws requiring said standards.
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      Aug 16 2013: I see. Your point in the statement, ". . . the education level at the time was far below the level we now see demanded" is that at that time youngsters stopped attending school at about age 12, if they attended at all. You use the word "level" not to evaluate academic and instructional excellence, but as a measure of time spent in class? In other words today a good job requires a college degree. Is that possibly because employers find high school graduates lack the basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills? This is touching on the original purpose of CCSS and STEM, right? Good points Everett, thanks! (By the way Everett. Be sure to use the "REPLY" function when addressing a particular TEDster).
      • Aug 16 2013: Sorry about the "reply" issue I just typed my response in the wrong spot by mistake.

        I think the education level, at Jefferson's time was far below both the time and academic/instructional level of our time. What did you really need to know back then? Basic math, reading and writing at most, all other "instruction" was based on your job, most of which was hands on and skill based.

        Now we look at college degrees as the "expected norm". But do they really need to be so? It seems that the college degree has become the new high school diploma level of academics, though it does not need to be. The college diploma should still mean something and be a higher level of skill and knowledge.

        All standards, whether it is CCSS, STEM, EALR's, or other state standards all touch on the fact that students are graduating with low reading, writing, math, and science skills. But they don't stick with one set and get good at it before changing to a new set of standards. Which, consequently, look like old standards just re-packaged.

        Ultimately, it is not the standard which makes the difference, as it always has, it is the teacher and the administration and their willingness to demand excellence and hold students accountable for poor quality of work. The "standards" as dictated by the government only tell you what the target is. It is on the teachers, administrators, and yes, parents to hold their children accountable to that standard and for what they are learning.
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          Aug 18 2013: You obviously feel strongly that any plan, no matter how impressive the name or the horsepower behind it, which is not built on the foundation of the contributions of teachers, administrators, and parents will fail to rescue America's failing education system. FYI, I agree completely.
      • Aug 18 2013: Any system, no matter what it is, fails when those who are directly involved with the administration of said system are not involved in the process.

        In education, those who are directly involved with students are rarely involved with the standard setting process nor are they even considered in the process. They are simply told what to do.

        What is more maddening is that educators are told to "act more like businesses in their process". Well, businesses are successful because they have faster turn around times and dump ideas that don't work. Ask Boeing how many parts they keep around for use on airplanes that are faulty from the get go. Okay, maybe not the best example, but the point being business and education are radically different. But the model is becoming more business.

        If the government is willing to state clearly and openly that some kids will fall through the cracks and fail, then the system would be functional. But no good teacher in their right mind would say that or toss kids out. When teachers are taken seriously in their profession the system will once again strengthen. Instead, everyone who has been through education thinks that they can do it better but never step foot into the classroom. So yes, I feel strongly that teachers, parents and administrators need to work together to re-build education in failing systems.
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          Aug 19 2013: I see no argument against your several points. The complication comes when it is admitted that self-serving Administrators and Teachers, along with unconcerned parents, are the ones who let the system fall apart. That complication makes it sound logical to exclude them as participants of the design of a solution.
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    Aug 15 2013: Bob..well put and I whole heartily share your comments.I found no preaching here

    Here is something else that makes no sense to me;

    CCSS supports the notion that the student and teacher’s individual achievement are a direct link to testing scores. What happened to curriculum and instruction? Someone pinch be but, shouldn't this data be used as a strategy for improvement not for accountability?
    Now a state has to contract a company to produce not only the tests but prep material and this will surely cost millions of dollars. Who foots the bill? It bothers me greatly that companies should be afforded the opportunity to gain such huge profits.

    data driven... Edward a suspicious thought;
    is the system devised to gather this data created in such a way as to support these federal mandates?

    Once again Edward a huge NAY !!
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      Aug 15 2013: Got it M.E.! You are not a fan of CCSS! Good point to consider about what, exactly, test scores ought to be used for: to evaluate teacher performance, or, to identify areas for improvement? [also, just a point-of-order on TED protocol: if you wish to respond directly to a contributor click-on the word "REPLY" in red letters between their name and the Thumb icon. This will cause an email to go to the contributor informing them that you have responded directly to their comment. If you post a new comment they will not be notified and may well miss your comment. Sometimes there will be no REPLY button because TED tries to limit reciprocity to three exchanges. In such cases simply scroll-uo to the nearest previous comment by the person and use the REPLY button on that post. You can begin such a response with the preamble, "RE: your comment xxxxxxx" . If they have no previous posts you can make a new comment with the preamble, "@ John Doe:"]
  • Aug 14 2013: I believe Thomas Jefferson stated the goal of public education was to create a literate electorate

    1. i am for standards but basic standards - after that it should be up to the student to decide his/her direction
    2. i think ccss is going to far and trying to push students to attend college in math and science when college may not be right for their career goals. I am Nay to CCSS.

    Side note: Fritzie - when I was teaching Calculus - gave my freshman a quick quiz at the start of the semester, multiple choice 2 examples of the questions were 1/2 + 1/3 and 2+3*4 - 20% got most of the questions wrong. One student showed me a cheap calculator that gave 20(which is wrong) as the answer for 2+3*4.
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      Aug 15 2013: Two more reasons for revisiting/revising/recalling CCSS: it dictates career choices; it emphasizes certain (STEM) disciplines and ignores others. Thank you Wayne.
    • Aug 15 2013: Was Thomas Jefferson speaking to the whole of the "public" or just those who had money and who were able to attend school?

      Also, the education level at the time was far below the level we now see demanded to be successful.
      • Aug 15 2013: Thomas Jefferson was talking to the whole public and the establishment of local schools controlled and paid for by the local people, not by the Federal or State government.

        and I beg to differ, I would bet that many high school graduates could not pass a 6th grade exam from the 19th or early 20th century.

        But my point was college is not for everyone and let them choose their path. A colleague of mine in GB was Director of Research at Cranfield Institute (now Cranfield University) His two sons decided not to go to University but became apprentices, one at Roll Royce and the other Jaguar at age 16. They may or may not go to university but will have careers as mechanics and machinists.

        CCSS is heavily aimed at pushing people into science and engineering and going to college. Is that right? I personally do not think that is right.
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        Aug 16 2013: As a retired Design Engineer I can attest to the fact that today's graduate engineer will struggle to pass the Draftsman's Exam from the 1950's. A high school graduate today would have no chance of passing the 50's Draftsman's Exam! America has been systematically dumbed-down since the 1960's. You will be hard-pressed to substantiate your assertion that the Jeffersonian age education was "far below" today's standard. Today's college graduate will struggle to read the 8th grade level McGuffey Reader from early America.
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    Aug 14 2013: This FAQ sheet may be informative for those considering this question. http://www.corestandards.org/resources/frequently-asked-questions

    I have taught mathematics within a regime of state and district standards, though I never felt constrained by them as I always taught above them.

    The purpose of standards is to clarify, particularly for teachers and administrators who may not understand well how a subject hangs together, what a logical scope and sequence is in the subject students need to be able to use to advance in their learning and function at a high level in higher education, career, and life. In the United States, for example, many teachers teaching math in k-8 have neither a serious grounding in the discipline nor experience applying the subject in a work setting. Those with such background tend not to choose k8 teaching. And what children learn in those early years has a large effect on what they will learn and be able to do thereafter.

    There have been fads in math instruction- grand experiments in content and sequence- that have not worked and negatively affected the lives of large numbers of people. There have also been great differences in the rigor and content to which students are exposed depending on where they live and go to school.

    I believe the standards, based on a careful study of the curriculum in the countries that are reputed to prepare students best, are meant to prevent students from being victims of where they live. Parents are not specialists in, say, mathematics education either, and cannot typically assess well what students should be learning when, what they would be learning elsewhere, what they know in a subject, and so forth. This is true often even for highly educated parents.

    Standards are meant to put kids first, above the preferences of any adults in the equation. While many teachers make good judgments, there have been too many cases over time of teachers teaching what interests them more than what students gain most from.
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      Aug 14 2013: Thank you Fritzie for this nutritious food-for-critical-thought in the form of the link and your experience-based opinions.. May I be so bold as to ask, Yea or Nay on CCSS?
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        Aug 14 2013: I am with Robert in considering it a mixed bag. The standards are part of a broader program of testing, resource allocation, and enforcement that may be handled poorly.

        It is a statement of goals which look reasonable on their face, but means of attaining those goals- pedagogies and appropriate interventions to reach toward those goals are not at all specified or well understood. These choices- the hardest parts of the problem, are left to teachers/schools/school districts.

        I am reminded of a former superintendent who said, "I am good at the what but not the how." The what is the easier part.
  • Aug 14 2013: Edward, I would like to suggest that the CCSS are simply SSDD.

    Having reviewed them, and gladly not teaching to them, they are incomplete in their topics and do not adequately address the standards that our children need to learn today. They are based on standards that are all ready in use today. They are not new, they are just re-worded and glammed up. They are heavy into writing and reading as well but they ignore subjects such as art, physical education, and even social studies as content areas.

    They are a step towards national standards, but they are incomplete.
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      Aug 14 2013: You sent me scurrying to internetslang.com where I discovered SSDD means "Same Stuff Different Day". You say you are gladly not teaching it. Do public school administrators and teachers have the choice to disregard the CCSS standard, or does it have "teeth"?
      • Aug 14 2013: I am currently working in an independent school and my content area does not fall under the CCSS. So, I use a different set of standards. Now, having worked under several different sets of "standards" in my career, all sounding very similar to the last, I don't get to excited about the new standards coming out.

        That being said, teachers are required to "teach to the standards" that are dictated by their district or the state they work in . Most states and districts are adopting the CCSS. And, in this case, they are told they have to teach to them.

        If you do not teach to the required standards, you can be removed from your position. So, yes they do have teeth in the way that all standards have teeth. If you don't teach to them, then what standards are you teaching to and don't expect to have a job.
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    Aug 14 2013: I'd like to make a contribution to this conversation, if only because in doing so I'll learn what CCSS and STEM are about. Having read the topic and read the few responses, my question is where do the parents fit in relation to all this?

    I read that teachers should be held accountable, but I think that it is parents that are failing their children and they are the ones who should be taken to task or taught to be more responsible.
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      Aug 14 2013: So far as I know Daniel the parents are not in the equation. They, and all voters, were bypassed in the formulation and implementation of the program. I agree this is one of the serious oversights of the program. Thanks for your observation!
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        Aug 14 2013: Thanks for the timely and informative response. I'm going to bow out of the conversation since I'm not informed enough. I've been a student. I've coached. I've mentored. I've volunteered for the community in a variety of ways that have provided me with some insight into the importance of the parents in raising capable children who can, and want to, contribute to society in a positive way. In my opinion, C.C.S.S. or STEM or whatever, none of them will work if the parents aren't there to do their job first. If parents did their jobs, we might not even be having this debate on education reform. Best of luck in your debate. Hopefully one of those systems involves encouraging the children to volunteer and help others. Which ever one of those does that the most is the one I'm 'yea' for, okay.
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      Aug 14 2013: Daniel, This is a continuing debate as to the responsibility is on the school, teacher, parents. We have all seen bad examples at each of those positions (parents / schools / teachers). So here a question: Why has no one ever put the onus on the student?

      We are witnessing a horrible time in the educational process. The federal government has taken away options from the states and made unfunded mandates in the road to socialized education. The state also delivers mandates that support and enlarge the federal mandates also unfunded. Administrators and teachers stand between a rock and a hard place taking all of the heat for things they have NO CONTROL over. The one thing that the state and the schools have in common is that all of the changes will come out of the schools existing budget ... and oh by the way it will be less that last year.

      Get ready for the union law suits. There is no way that the schools can honor the raises promised. But the unions view is like their view in Detroit ... you being totally broke ain't my problem ... pay up.

      These are top down issues. The only way to resolve this is at the polls.

      The first day of school new freshmen should be briefed in assembly ... that the easy ride is over. You are responsible for your assignments, homework, grade, attendance, etc .... if your dog eats the homework YOU get the "F". You want to watch TV your grades will suffer. The school and the parents will work with you and provide you with the opportunity to learn .... but it is you in the drivers seat.

      You are correct ... the only involvement with parents is that they get the blame. If you think that is rough, I invite you to set on the school board. I have lost friends ... made more enemies ... had no options .... and all of the improvements that we (board members) wanted are just a dream. There is a fed or state law for everything. He who has the gold (feds) rule. A threat that works.

      I wish you well. Bob.
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        Aug 15 2013: Bob, I like "onus" as a word choice for responsibility to the students. As if they should be made to realize, "Hey, it's ON US to make something of this."

        The only advice I could give to someone on sitting on school boards that are facing the troubles you've described is to practice non-attachment. I know it probably isn't worth much, but as much as I understand how incredibly frustrating it must be, I, in my own limited experience, can only make that one suggestion. Maybe I shouldn't make a suggestion at all. I don't know what else to say except I'm sorry that all those good people are stuck between a rock and a hard place, especially when things are only getting tighter and tighter and tighter...


        (All those capital letters aren't being used as an exclamation, but to signify my exasperation at myself for overlooking that totally obvious point.)

        One of my great regrets in life is that I never made the most out of high school and college and yet today all I love to do is learn. I read incessantly. I'm seeking knowledge in a way I no longer even bother explaining to the few people that might ask. But I cannot for the life of me comprehend my lack of awareness back in 'school days.' I've gone through years of self-recrimination over the mountains of opportunity I bypassed and all the time I wasted.

        So I, personally, have a difficult time expecting students to realize the importance of a good education, because when I was their age I was sure I understood the value of a good education, and yet here I am thirty years old and all the while I'm continually finding more value in a good (and ongoing) education. We would all be feral children if we were born without parents. Awareness begins with them. (No remaining characters.)