I read your entry in the ongoing Louis CK bloggy wars. It's so monumentally special that I just had to send you a little fan mail.
Your intro is fine. Blah blah blah Louis CK's twitter rant blah blah as a third grade teacher blah blah I don't want to throw gas on the fire, but I feel compelled to, somehow.
You followed that up with what you're doing in third grade math, and underlined that the Core are "a new set of multi-state learning standards that challenge students to think rather than compute." I like that "multi-state" thing-- great way to skate around the term "national standards," which sure doesn't fly with some folks these days. And that "think rather than compute"-- boy, that really gets to the heart of it. Who wants kids who can actually do math when we can get them to just think about it. I'm kind of surprised that it has taken us this long to adapt Professor Harold Hill's think system to math.
Then you gave proof that the strategies work. Once again, nail-head-ouch! New test prep aligned with new tests can only lead to better scores-- how can people not get that?
Does all this create stress for teachers, students, parents, lawyers, corporate test writers, you asked (I think). Sure it does! They should suck it up. And if they can't suck it up, they should just do what you folks at the highly effective Success Academies do-- throw the losers out on the street (well, or back into a public school). When the going gets tough, the tough get to bounce third graders back to whatever loser factory they crawled out of. "As teachers, we can’t afford to stand around complaining that the new standards are too hard. We have kids to inspire," or to force out of school-- whichever is going to make our numbers look best.
Next you brought up grit. Boy, am I glad you did that. People just don't understand that grit is magical; it's like a cleanser that scrubs away any need for kindness, support, or empathy. At least I think it gets rid of empathy. I can't really get a sense of what other people are thinking and feeling (but you know, who give a s#!%?).
And then, my favorite part-- you scold Louis CK.
"But a Twitter tirade doesn’t help anybody, least of all students. " You say, and boy that's dead on. The only thing that really helps people is a blog scolding; twitter tirades don't do a damn thing. Also, remember that the math world is hard on girls-- some day Louis CK will be glad that school roughed up his daughter and made her tough enough to succeed with her mathy thoughts.
"So to you, Sir, I say: Your daughter can do it. Her tears will not break
her. Sometimes, caring means comforting and sheltering our kids—but
sometimes it means challenging them, too"
Excellent finish. As a seven-year veteran of the classroom, and as someone who is a complete stranger to Louis CK and his daughter, you are clearly the best person to tell him what his daughter needs and what she will benefit from, as well as how best to show he cares about her. If there's anything parents need to understand about the brave new CCSS world, it's that complete strangers who don't know them or their children are clearly the best people to make educational prescriptions for them.
So you go, young woman. Using CK's daughter as a prop to make points about the Core may seem excessively ballsy to some, but I say, if you have to sell a program without any actual facts, data or support to back yourself up, sheer ballsiness is just what you need.