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National Curriculum and National Testing


Ohanian Comment: We should all be grateful to Jim Horn for sounding this alarm.

You need to know that the Albert Shanker Institute commends Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project. I have warned you about this project which is entirely funded by Bill Gates. Put "Mapping Project" into a search on this site. Read the Shanker Institute advocacy of Common Core Standards and the associated bedfellows here. Look at who's on their board of directors here.

I am very worried about the silence from the school community. Have teachers been browbeaten into numbness? Borrowing from Borowitz, here's how I see the new poll on the Common Core Standards and Assessments:

5% Favorable
12% Unfavorable
79% Unconscious

WHY are so many people so silent?

Jim's warning is on target. I hope it will be a wake-up call. For starters, members of AFT should call for Randi's ouster.


by Jim Horn

The Gates, Walton, and Broad Foundations have bought up all the time and energy they can from academics, teachers, and policy people whose time and energies can be bought to pursue the one best curriculum and one best test for the nation's schoolchildren. One nation, under Gates, with liberty and justice for corporations.

In various parts of the country, checks are being distributed to state governments to fund special classes this summer to get administrators and teachers trained in the latest corporate scam to come along: national standards, national curriculum, and a national test. Begun from a Business Roundtable effort called the American Diploma Project to shape the American high school curriculum state by state, the new effort at nationalizing K-12 schooling (paid for by ED, Gates, and Broad) makes the ADP seem like child's play in comparison.

Today the corporate sell-out Randi Weingarten, the academic mercenary, Susan Neuman, and the once-upon-a-time Republican Tom Kean (who by today's GOP standards is a socialist), have a guest column in the Star-Ledger to accompany the roll-out of the Common Core that has come to Jersey to replace state and local curriculum and assessment. It is appropriate that Neuman would be chosen as the mouthpiece for the Gates and Obama folks now, since it was Neuman who was so enthused in 2002 by the new NCLB promise to bring an end to experimental and creative teaching methods that she said this:


"It will stifle, and hopefully it will kill (them)," said Neuman, U.S. assistant secretary of education. "Our children are not laboratory rats."


Susan's latest enthusiasm promises to finish what NCLB started, for now the Gates folks are busily canning a national curriculum, while spending tens of millions to produce DVDs of exemplary lessons that essentially will offer a replacement for teacher preparation for the de-skilled temp workers that the corporations plan to put in urban classrooms to replace professional teachers, until such time that schools for the poor can be put entirely online (hi Bill!) for distance schooling of those for whom the lily-white and postivized Gates folks would like to keep the most distance from.

Notice in the following clip how Susan, Randi, and Tom acknowledge that national curriculum, instruction, and testing provide "guidelines in the core academic disciplines, specifying the content knowledge and skills that all students are expected to learn, over time, in a thoughtful progression across the grades." Also note the denial that these specifications of content, skills, and pacing, or the entire scope and sequence process of curriculum, do not impose "rigid pedagogical formulas." If we mean by "pedagogical" the art and science of teaching, then their denial is simply a bald-faced lie:

. . . some commentators have claimed that we are calling for what they describe as one "national curriculum," "national standards" and even "national tests." This completely mischaracterizes what our statement says and what we want to achieve.

By "curricula," we do not mean any of these, nor are we calling for lesson scripts or rigid pedagogical formulas. We do mean "guidelines in the core academic disciplines, specifying the content knowledge and skills that all students are expected to learn, over time, in a thoughtful progression across the grades." We also argue that curricula should provide a practical design for achieving the standards in the limited instructional time available to teachers, and an understanding of how children learn at various stages in their development.

We are very clear these model curricula should be voluntary and that educators should have access to multiple sets of them. Some of this is beginning to unfold with states and school districts, teachers, publishers and foundations combining their resources to craft their own guides and teaching materials. Especially during a time of tight education budgets, these are generally welcome additions that will prevent teachers from being forced to make up designs for teaching all of this content as they go. Of course, good curricula must be developed with strong input from teachers, curriculum specialists and content experts [the ones on the Gates payroll--see above].


Here's the complete column by the three stooges who are standing in for Bill Gates.


Common content brings structure to studies

By Thomas H. Kean, Susan B. Neuman and Randi Weingarten, Star Ledger


The new Common Core State Standards, adopted by most states, lay out clear expectations for students at every level in their education. Yet, while the standards offer an important common definition of the goals of schooling, they don't give teachers, parents, policy makers and others who care about creating a world-class education system the tools they need to get there.

This spring, the three of us lent our support to the Call for Common Content -- an appeal to create curricular "road maps" to help teachers, students and families structure the work it will take to meet the common standards. The "call" was sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute and we argued that teachers need a coherent set of guides laying out the knowledge and skills that students are expected to learn in math, English language arts and other core academic subjects.

Since then, some commentators have claimed that we are calling for what they describe as one "national curriculum," "national standards" and even "national tests." This completely mischaracterizes what our statement says and what we want to achieve.
By "urricula,"we do not mean any of these, nor are we calling for lesson scripts or rigid pedagogical formulas. We do mean "guidelines in the core academic disciplines, specifying the content knowledge and skills that all students are expected to learn, over time, in a thoughtful progression across the grades." We also argue that curricula should provide a practical design for achieving the standards in the limited instructional time available to teachers, and an understanding of how children learn at various stages in their development.

We are very clear these model curricula should be voluntary and that educators should have access to multiple sets of them. Some of this is beginning to unfold with states and school districts, teachers, publishers and foundations combining their resources to craft their own guides and teaching materials. Especially during a time of tight education budgets, these are generally welcome additions that will prevent teachers from being forced to make up designs for teaching all of this content as they go. Of course, good curricula must be developed with strong input from teachers, curriculum specialists and content experts.

We will continue to argue for a high degree of local flexibility and autonomy, rather than a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach. As our statement suggests: "States could collaborate with each other in the development of their curricula, each could develop its own, or each could adopt exemplary curriculum developed by an independent organization . . . such curricula should allow sufficient time to add important content desired by teachers, the local community, district or state. For example, some states may want to add state history; individual districts may want to use local resources to expand upon particular art or science topics; a particular teacher may want to incorporate his love of art into English classes; and a particular class of students may want to extend the planned unit on thermodynamics."

This reform is critical because so many of our students rely almost exclusively on schools to provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. It offers unprecedented hope both for shrinking the achievement gap and for raising overall student achievement levels. For teachers, common content also would mean something unprecedented in our country -- shared access to carefully designed tools, resources and training they can draw upon to compare and improve ideas, approaches and practice.

In a locally controlled system such as ours, we realize it is not easy to establish priorities on what is taught, much less offer guidance on how to approach teaching them. But it is time to move from goals and platitudes about achieving a world-class education system to where the rubber hits the road -- the classroom.

If we truly want all students and teachers to succeed, we need common curricula to accompany common standards. Republicans and Democrats, business and labor leaders, parents and fellow citizens -- we all have a stake in ensuring that we get this right.

Thomas H. Kean is a former Republican governor of New Jersey (1982-1990); Susan B. Neuman was assistant secretary of education during the first term of President George W. Bush; Randi Weingarten is president of the American Federation of Teachers and a board member of the Albert Shanker Institute.

— Jim Horn: on article by Kean, Neuman & Wingarten
Schools Matter blog & NJ Star Ledger

2011-06-02

http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2011/06/national-curriculum-and-national.html?spref=tw

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