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NCLB Outrages

The Common Core Were Written So We Could Have a National Test

Someone at NCTE's Open Forum made the point that teachers' "over tested, under motivated, under funded, under fed" frustrations came before Common Core Standards. . . and that we should study the Common Core more before we become agitated about it.

That is certainly a valid point. But pre-existing frustrations don't make the Common Core Standards any less dangerous. And here is my answer. I've posted much of this information already on this site, but it bears repeating.

If you read the testing proposals for which we taxpayers paid $335 million to the PARCC consortium and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium: SBAC you'll see they received this money for promising to test LOTS more. They call them periodic benchmark tests. Most states have joined one of these consortiums or the other. Some states--AL, CO, DE, GA, KY, NH, NJ, OH, OK, PA, SC--have joined both. Godonlyknows, how many tests they'll give.

In February, each testing group received another $15.8 million--to help states in the move to new tests. Again, those are taxpayer dollars. WE are funding this.

The Common Core Standards were written so at long last we would have common material for a national test. The fact that for a while we will have two national tests doesn't change this fact.

Ask yourself, how much test prep will it take for a kid to be able to pass a test on Sorrows of Young Werther and similar "high standard" literature? The Gates Foundation has financed the Common Core Mapping Project to develop lessons on the Common Core Standards. They have lessons for 12th graders that involve a survey of medieval lit, renaissance lit, 16th century, 17 century, 18th century, and early 19th century list. Plus a whole lot more. It would be funny if it weren't for real. I mean, even my German-born husband laughed at the idea of anybody reading Sorrows of Young Werther. And if that doesn't set your teeth on edge, how about The Vicar of Wakefield?

The 4-week unit on late 18th century/early 19th century European Literature includes:

Literary Texts

For this shorter unit, teachers may want to choose one novel, several short stories, or a play, and poetry.

* Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe)
* Gulliver's Travels (Jonathan Swift)
* The Vicar of Wakefield (Oliver Goldsmith)
* Emma (Jane Austen)
* The Sufferings of Young Werther (Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe)


* "Micromagas" (Voltaire)
* The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchhausen (Rudolf Erich Raspe)


* "Auguries of Innocence" "Songs of Innocence and of Experience" (selected poems) (William Blake) (EA)
* "Ode to Indolence" "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (excerpts) (John Keats)
* In Memoriam A. H. H. (Alfred Lord Tennyson)
* "The Deserted Village" (Oliver Goldsmith)
* "Tintern Abbey" "London, 1802" "The World is too Much with Us" "Ode to Intimations to Immortality" (excerpts) (William Wordsworth)

Informational Texts

* The Diary of Samuel Pepys (Samuel Pepys)
* The Life of Samuel Johnson (James Boswell)
* Preface to Lyrical Ballads (William Wordsworth)

Art, Music, and Media
Prompt: How did artists of this period frame the relationship between man and nature?

* John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark (1778)
* Frederic Edwin Church, Morning in the Tropics (1877)
* Caspar David Friedrich, The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (1818)
* John Constable, Seascape Study with Rain Cloud (1827)
* Jean Honore-Fragonard, The Progress of Love: The Pursuit (1771-1773)
* William Blake, The Lovers' Whirlwind (1824-1827)
* Theodore Gericault, The Raft of the Medusa (1818-1819)

The great thing in writing about education policy is that you never have to make anything up.

Here's the "sell" on all this.

Common Core's Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts were written by public school teachers for public school teachers. The maps translate the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Kindergarten through 12th grade into unit maps that teachers can use to plan their year, craft their own more detailed curriculum, and create lesson plans. The maps are flexible and adaptable, yet they address every standard in the CCSS. Any teacher, school, or district that chooses to follow the Common Core maps can be confident that they are adhering to the standards. Even the topics the maps introduce grow out of and expand upon the "exemplar" texts recommended in the CCSS. And because they are free, the maps will save school districts millions in curriculum development costs.

Sorry, but it's way too late to study the Common Core. The Common Core has been a Gates Foundation-Achieve operation all the way. Put "Sue Pimentel" into a search on this site.

She was the major writer of the Common Core. She has a law degree from Cornell and has been a major force in the Standards movement for a long time.

Gates paid the PTA $1 million to promote the Common Core with parents. ASCD got $3 million. So far, it looks like NCTE is still waiting in the wings.

If we don't fight back soon, teaching as a profession will disappear. Water carriers, even when they are carrying worthy literature, are not professionals.

You can read some of the job postings--wherein PARCC describes the job requirements for people to oversee "through course" as well as "end of course" assessments. "Through course" means testing all the time. Achieve, the organization heading up PARCC, is bragging that such tests will show teachers what material to deliver (sic) next.

How long do we have to wait for the revolution?

— Susan Ohanian
NCTE Members Open Forum


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