Valerie Strauss covers the news from OK that one more state is Mighty Unhappy with Common Core. Unlike the pretend rejection of the Core happening in other states, the OK legislature has laid out a set of standards for how it shall be determined that the new standards do not resemble the Common Core Standards. They are rejecting both CCSS and the horse they rode in on.
That piece of legislative legerdemain awaits a gubernatorial pen stroke (or lack thereof) to determine its fate. That'll be fun to watch. But in the meantime, I was struck by the appearance in Strauss's article of a hot new talking point that is a serious contender for Dumbest Argument in Favor of Keeping CCSS.
The Oklahoman newspaper quoted
Steven Crawford, executive director of the Cooperative Council for
Oklahoma School Administration, as predicting that “chaos” would ensue
if the Core is rescinded. One middle school math teacher, Heather
Sparks, Oklahoma’s 2009 Teacher of the Year, was quoted as saying:
“For next year, we’ve already written our curriculum map and the
pacing guides for the Common Core standards. It’s kind of disheartening.
If these are repealed, we’ll have to go backward.”
We've seen this on a couple of occasions now, including John White's spirited defense of those poor Louisiana teachers facing the totally confusing and disorienting CCSS defection of Gov. Jindal.
The argument seems to be that, having come this far, we just have too much invested in time and effort and blood and sweat and, well, if not tears, a little bit of mistiness right at the corner of our eyeballs, right there-- anyway, we've put so much into this, we can't just back out now.
So, you know, it's a good idea to throw good money after bad. And we've got yourself dug deep in a hole, you should totally keep digging. If you're stuck waist deep in the Big Muddy, you should totally listen when the big fool says to push on. When the snake oil salesman says you need to buy just a few cases more to get your health back, well, then, buy a hundred cases! When you've already lost your car and home, it's a great idea to keep feeding coins into the one-armed bandit.
It's not that Core opponents aren't sympathetic to this disinclination to change direction. After all, a few of us may have expressed a similar sentiment back when we were being told that we needed to dump out everything we'd done in the past and get with the Common Core program right now, right this moment, build-the-plane-while-we-fly-it immediately.
The difference is that back then, we had no reason at all to believe that jumping on the Common Core school bus would take us anywhere we wanted to go. We know with a high degree of certainty that it is a one-way trip to Education Malpracticeland.
So, pro tip for Heather Sparks and other CCSS boosters-- if the best thing you can say about your product is, "Well, you've already thrown a bunch of money away on it. You shouldn't back out now!" and not something like, say, "Let me tell you how great this is working," you are doing a very poor sales job. It may be that you're a lousy salesperson, or it may be that you've got a product that no salesman could make attractive, but either way, you're in a hole and you should stop digging.