One of the myths I keep hearing floated about is that, under Common Core schools and districts still get to choose their own curriculum under Common Core – that “choice” will still exist.
I was getting ready to write a post about this when Oak Norton, of Utahans Against Common Core, sent out this wonderful email. I think it says it all. (He was writing specifically about Utah, but it very much applies to Idaho. Notice that even though Utah successfully removed themselves from the SBAC they still have to use an approved assessment.)
Yes it does give choices to each state. For example, Utah chose the integrated method of math for upper grades along with Vermont. The rest of the country on CC chose discrete years. What we “chose” will now isolate our high schoolers from the rest of the country.
There’s still some choice in what happens in each school. They can choose CC aligned curriculum from one of a few companies instead of dozens. Pearson owns most of the market and over 100 smaller companies they’ve purchased but let keep their original name so that Pearson isn’t viewed as a monopoly. Pearson helped push for and write the standards because they knew it meant billions in revenue for them. They are in this for the money.
For assessments, our “choice” gifted to us by the federal government under our RTTT application was SBAC or PARCC. Utah signed on with SBAC and we fought to get that dropped last year, so they wrote an RFP to choose a new assessment partner and chose AIR which is using SBAC assessment questions. The rest of the country is using SBAC or PARCC. SBAC and PARCC are funded by the federal government. Teachers teach to the test so the feds will drive what happens in the classroom in terms of content.
Each state can choose to add 15% to what is taught in classrooms, but that 15% won’t be on any of the national tests, so what teacher is going to teach it when their job is on the line to crank out top test scores for merit pay? None of them. Utah will only teach what’s in the standards.
We have great choices available! Or at least did prior to CC. 🙁
(Thank you, Oak.)
It’s sort of like saying you can have any crayon in the world you want, as long as you choose some shade of red and only choose from a box of Crayola. (Nothing against Crayola, their red crayons are very nice.)