As educators, we are obligated to question the true purpose of the Common Core Standards, and expose flaws in the standards themselves, their developmental appropriateness, the testing requirements, uses of test results, equity of opportunity, their roll-out time frame, and their implementation. The CCS reflect a narrow vision of education.
The “one-size-fits-all,” “drill and kill” approach being pushed is creeping its way into early childhood education. Chicago Public Schools has expanded the required and optional testing for young children, placing importance on continuous assessment through standardized testing and benchmarks. These tests include REACH, Teaching Standards GOLD and Quarterly Benchmark Performance Tasks. Matching the standardization trend in high school education, testing is being used as the foremost indicator of student performance.
From Education Week: As in other professions, good evaluation starts with rigorous, ongoing assessment by experts who review teachers’ instruction based on professional standards. Evaluators look at classroom practice, plus evidence of student outcomes from classroom work and school or district assessments. Studies show that feedback from this kind of evaluation improves student achievement, because it helps teachers get better at what they do. Systems that sponsor peer assistance and review programs also identify poor teachers, provide them intensive help, and effectively remove them if they don’t improve.
The “business model” approach to education is data obsessed and purports that the solution to inequities in education is to fire teachers whose students have low test scores and reward teachers whose students have high test scores. They continue to promote top down approaches to quick fixes, ignoring decades of research. The way to achieve sustainable improvement is through long‐term processes such as developing teaching quality, empowering community and families, mandating smaller class sizes, improving resource access for schools and communities in need, and implementing a joyous, critical, inquiry‐based and creative learning experience for students.
Overwhelming evidence of research on the use of merit pay, or pay for performance, to improve student achievement shows that such incentive schemes do not work. They fail because they ignore or undermine the collaboration, experience-based growth and supportive school and community environment essential to teacher growth.
Dedicated, highly effective teachers play an important role in guaranteeing that all students receive the best possible education. Other school factors (e.g., leadership, curriculum, collaboration) are also significant, while non-school factors, including family income, health, mobility, hunger and stress, account for two-thirds of variation in student achievement. Instead of seeking solutions for these social issues, government at all levels, the business community and corporate media have turned their attention to teachers.