Good morning sports fans.
In a departure from my usual roundup of various tech-y links, I want to take a few moments to discuss Common Core opposition. There is no doubt that opposition is growing and is no longer a “fringe” issue. Parents are starting to complain. In fact, it seems that anything that anyone finds wrong in their school or another school is laid at the feet of the Common Core State Standards. (If you haven’t already done so, read them here.)
But guess what? A “common core math problem” isn’t any such thing. Textbooks have been taking apart math problems in different ways to reflect different learning styles for at least the past 30 years. I can remember it in my own textbooks as early as 4th or 5th grade. (Sorry for the vagueness but I had the same teacher for math both years… and we covered the same stuff over and over.) Ending Common Core isn’t going to change that. Even before that, teachers and tutors struggled to find ways to relate math concepts to those who weren’t getting it with memorization.
Over the weekend, an older gentleman informed me that Common Core is requiring schools to make their bathrooms all unisex. He said the Federal government has explicitly forbidden schools from notifying parents. That was a first for me, and between serving on a local board of education and my own third-grader who would totally freak out if that were the case, I explained that I would have heard about it by now. He back-pedaled by saying it was going into effect next year. If your school is going to unisex restrooms because of Common Core, I wouldn’t suggest merely notifying me; instead, notify the child welfare authorities in your local jurisdiction or the news media.
As it turns out, there is a push in Austin TX to require all single-stall bathrooms to be unisex. (Although, if they’re single stall, what’s the difference in terms of privacy as long as the door locks?) And an Oregon high school created a unisex bathroom for a trangendered student. Weird, but far from a Common Core mandate.
Then there is the testing issue around common core. Teachers complain about “teaching to the test” something that has been a complaint since the first time teachers were forced to give a test they or their textbook publisher didn’t create. Ending Common Core isn’t going to get rid of state testing, not in this age of demanding measurable accountability for just about everything.
Moral of the story: if Common Core does fall by the wayside, and assuming sets of perfect standards are found to take its place, we’re still going to be stuck with convoluted math textbooks, news of the weird, and using someone else’s tests to measure how your students learned.