Friday, May 29, 2015

CAP Chicken Littles New Jersey

This is why I don't take CAP seriously.

There has been a predictable outcry over Chris Christie's announced abandonment of the Common Core. Christie's gesture is hollow and pointless, and some of the Core-loving criticism has been correct to call it cynical, as well as ultimately pointless, since Christie has also recommitted to PARCC and since the CCSS replacement will likely not be a whole new animal, but the same old pig with fresh make-up.

But CAP can be counted on to cobble together a bit of whineage constructed entirely from old reformster PR. They unvieled this slab of baloney in under the by-line of Daniell Gibbs Leger, senior vice-president for communications and strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. In other words, her job is to go put stuff on line to try to promote the reformster program. Let's check to see if all the usual talking points are in place.

She opens by calling Christie out and quoting his former "courageous" support of the Core (because in 2010 it took real courage to accept all that money from various CCSS supporters). And she notes that turning on the Core is a popular parlor game among GOP Presidential aspirants.

But in his attempt to appease his base by opposing the Common Core, Gov. Christie has turned his back on the students of New Jersey, particularly students of color and those from low-income backgrounds.

Yes, we need the Core For The Children.

Also, Achievement Gap. There's a bad one, and it's all because of people with Low Expectations. The Common Core Standards would Level the Playing Field. Because the playing field is totally cockeyed because of educational standards for math and reading, and not at all because of systemic poverty and economic policies that favor the rich.

But see-- in the old days we were always Lying To Students about their college readiness, as proven by the number who have to Take Remedial Course. Also, students with College Degrees Make More Money. This is totally not because both college attendance and later-in-life earnings are directly tied to your socio-economic background.

Let's throw in some Stretchers as Evidence. " Kentucky, who was the first state to adopt the Common Core, saw college and career readiness rates increase from 34 percent to 62 percent in just four years." That would be more impressive if the college and career readiness rate was not simply another name for test results. All this says that after years of practicing taking tests, Kentucky students are better at taking tests.

 And let's drive it home in a Big Thesis Without Any Actual Support. "By providing more rigorous standards and holding all students to higher expectations, students are better prepared to exit high school with the skills they need to succeed in college and careers." It sounds lovely, but it depends on the higher expectations magical thinking and references the skills needed to succeed in college and career which would be great except that no such list exists. 

Let's throw in some True Statements Unconnected To The Point.  "Our students—no matter the color of their skin or their socio-economic status—deserve the highest quality education." That is absolutely true-- but how is it that such a statement does not lead us to a discussion of equitable funding or teacher support or providing resources for poor schools? What exactly does Common Core have to do with providing the highest quality education? Is it used in all the top private schools? (Spoiler alert: not even when hell freezes over).

Doubling Down on Unsupportable Promise, and False Promise of Equity.  Christie should support the "high standards that guarantee and equitable education for all students, no matter what their ZIP code may be." (Oh, yeah-- Tyranny of the Zip Code) Because using charters to eliminate geographical boundaries is working super-duper in Newark.

And finally, Alluding to Non-existent Success. Christie should not do this because it will be A Step Backwards "and our students will suffer the consequences." Because New Jersey has had huge educational success because of the Common Core.

I think cigarette companies do a better job of making a case for their project. CAP is reduced, again, to running in circles and hollering that the sky is falling and only the magical power of Common Core can save it.

1 comment:

  1. You could make a drinking game out of finding these recurrent cliches in reformster-written articles, but I'm afraid too many people would die of alcohol poisoning.