Sunday, December 1, 2013

Dear Philip Elliot

In the last few days I've seen several writers repeat the official narrative about CCSS-- "The states thought it up, teachers helped develop it, and now it will make education super-duper better; a handful of tea party crazypants are the only ones complaining." But nobody has done a better job this weekend of selling that story than Philip Elliot, who is kicking off a three-part series promoting the swellness of CCSS. I actually left the bulk of this post in a comments section for another article, but I'm going to add and modify just so that I can tweet this response to Mr. Elliot.

I've been gathering links at (though admittedly doing a poor job of cataloging them-- I had no idea the project would get so large). Here are just a few links to take a look at.

Mercedes Schneider has done a huge amount of research and documentation of education issues. Here she takes a look at the Memorandum of Understanding that states signed to apply for Race to the Top and what it has to say about the origins and purpose of CCSS

Anthony Cody writes at Education Week and has done lots of solid work regarding the CCSS. Here's his piece about the sixty people who actually wrote the Core

Think that only tin hat tea party anti-government people are freaking over CCSS? Here are some other people with problems with them. Alan Singer is one of many writers to address the fundamental educational problem with the reading section of CCSS

This interview with a teacher who "worked on" CCSS both underlines the origin story of the standards as well as some of the fundamental educational issues

And if you think that NEA top brass support means that rank and file teachers also all love the CCSS, skip past this article to the over-200 angry negative comments from actual classroom teachers

There are tons more, and as a secondary teacher, I have not followed as closely the developmentally inappropriate standards operating at the elementary level. Standards were created largely with backwards scaffolding. Say you wanted a high school senior to run a four minute mile, and you decided to just work backwards--- a five minute mile as a junior, six minute mile as a sophomore, and on until you arrive at the standard of saying a one-year-old must run his mile in thirty minutes. If you ignore the developmental states of children, scaffolding leads you to dumb standards.

Are many of the stories you tell in your article great teaching stories? You bet they are. Those are mostly great techniques-- which teachers have been using for years. In that respect CCSS is like that boss you hat, the one who shows up after you've been working for years, makes a big show of telling you to do what you were doing anyway, and then takes credit for your success.

I just wish, Mr. Elliot, that you had done a more balanced and thorough round of research before putting together your article. To have this distributed across the country under the respect AP banner will be a disservice to the many teachers who are fighting to provide the best possible education for their students while under attack by the forces of "reform."

1 comment:

  1. More resources are compiled here: