Wendy Lecker – “Common Core using children as guinea pigs”

Jeb Bush, Michelle Rhee, Barak Obama, Arne Duncan and the entire Corporate Education Reform Industry is busy selling the American people on the notion that without the full and complete adoption of the Common Core Standards, Common Core Curriculum and Common Core Testing Scheme, America’s best days are behind us.

Jeb Bush Defends Common Core At ALEC Meeting and Jeb Bush defends Common Core and Michelle Rhee, Jeb Bush warn Michigan legislators against abandoning Common Core standards and JEB BUSH AND JOEL KLEIN:  The Case for Common Educational Standards and Arne Duncan tells newspaper editors how to report on Common Core and Arne Duncan: Beating Up on Common Core Is ‘Political Silliness’ and Arne Duncan Defends Common Core, Ridicules Critics and Obama quietly implements Common Core.

Their message seems to come down to the false rhetoric and hyperbole that the choice facing American education is the adoption of “The Common Core Standards” or nothing.

They’d have us believe that one path would lead our nation and its children to success, the other to ruin and failure.

It is almost as if they take great pride in the fact that the simplistic arguments have no academic basis in fact.

The truth is that these corporate education reformers have become the living, breathing example of those who live by the creed, “Don’t confuse me with the facts.”

Well the facts are exactly what pro-public education advocate and fellow blogger, Wendy Lecker, has been bringing to the discussion over and over again.

In here latest column, entitled “Common Core using children as guinea pigs” uses the truth to condemn the incredible lies the corporate reformers are trying to force upon public education in America.

As usual, Wendy Lecker’s latest piece published in the Stamford Advocate and other Hearst Media Group newspapers is a “Must Read.”

Common Core using children as guinea pigs (By Wendy Lecker)

The nationwide rollout of the Common Core standards is an experiment on our children that violates all standards of human subject research.

The Common Core was rushed into schools before the curricula were developed and aligned to the standards, and before the tests were finalized and aligned to the curricula. Alignment is independent verification that a curriculum addresses standards, and that tests assess what the curriculum teaches; and is particularly necessary when high stakes are attached to tests. Those who insist that test scores should determine teacher effectiveness, school quality and whether a student is ready to graduate have a responsibility to guarantee that the tests actually measure what teachers teach and students learn.

The Common Core is being implemented not only before the curricula and tests are independently deemed valid. The curriculum in many cases is not even written. New York’s Education Commissioner admitted that the Common Core curriculum modules are being written as the school year unfolds. A curriculum not yet written cannot be aligned. Likewise, the Common Core tests are not finalized. The tests are being developed independently of the states and school districts; by contractors hired by two multi-state consortia. It is impossible that these unfinished tests are aligned to curricula now being taught.

This type of experimentation would never be allowed in research. Human subject research must adhere to three basic principles: (1) respect for individuals; respecting their autonomy; (2) beneficence; doing no harm and maximizing possible benefits while minimizing risks; and (3) justice; taking special care not to exploit vulnerable groups.

Ethics requires that subjects participate in an experiment knowingly and voluntarily. A recent poll revealed that the majority of Americans know nothing about the Common Core. Moreover, parents, children and teachers had no choice but to comply with the standards and tests.

The most glaring ethical violation concerns the prohibition against doing harm. The focal point of the Common Core is high-stakes standardized testing. We now know that education based on high-stakes tests not only fails to raise achievement but also harms learning, by narrowing the curriculum, increasing anxiety and diverting resources from methods that actually improve achievement. Officials imposing the Common Core knowingly embarked on a course that hurts students. At public hearings, parent after parent told New York’s Education Commissioner King that their children now hate school, and children testified about their anxiety and despair. A Greenwich, Connecticut official acknowledged that Common Core testing in 11th grade, when students take AP tests, SATs, SAT subject tests and ACTs, will cause undue stress. Parents and teachers report that the Common Core makes no adjustments for children learning English or students with disabilities.

In rolling out this untested program, officials jeopardize valuable learning time. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that even 10 days of lost learning is a significant deprivation. The Common Core tests are much longer than previous tests. The high stakes attached pressure school districts to spend inordinate amounts of time on test prep. If it turns out that these standards were not a success, our children will be unable to recapture the years lost to an ineffective testing regime.

The Common Core requires massive investments in textbooks, tests, training, and technology. Money is spent on the Common Core experiment at the expense of strategies with a long track record of success, such as high-quality preschool, small class size, wraparound services and extra help for at-risk children.

The benefits of the Common Core are speculative at best. A New York comparison of the 2013 Common Core tests, the previous standards and college completion rates, revealed that the previous standards were better predictors of college readiness. Moreover, the evidence is clear that neither tests nor standards raise achievement. Countries with national standards fare no better than those without, and states with higher standards do no better than states with lower ones. In states with consistent standards, achievement varies widely. The difference in achievement lies in those resources that states are now foregoing to pay for the Common Core.

As for justice, schools serving our most vulnerable students suffer most from a narrow test-based curriculum. A new report in New York reveals that poor children and children of color are least likely to be in schools with libraries, art and music rooms, science, and AP classes. Expanded Common Core testing will disproportionately harm our neediest children.

It is time to ask policy-makers why they made our children guinea pigs in the rush to impose the not-ready-for-prime-time Common Core.

You can read Wendy Lecker’s full column at:  http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Lecker-Common-Core-using-children-as-guinea-pigs-4907921.php

  • Jim Spellman

    The rush to impose the Common Core has nothing to do with kids – it is all about the Millions upon Millions to be made by Corporate Ed. upon Common Core Implementation. The rush is heightened by the fact that the Reform Movement is reading the winds of revolt and wants their agenda in place prior to the 2014 Elections.
    Side Note – Have the Reform Leaders been checked for existence of Off-Shore Banking Accounts ?

    • Linda174

      Yes, Jim as they say follow the money and all roads lead back to Gates:

      • Sleepless in Bridgeport

        And all Gates cares about is figuring out how to keep dollars flowing in to MIcrosoft via programs like Apex where inner city schools can pretend to pass a year long course in English or Math in a week so they can “graduate” and not pass “go” and get directly on the public dole or in Bridgport: “The University of North Avenue” (aka incarceration). It is hard to look at Republicans and Democrats selling their collective souls to the devil himself. Please forgive them…….they know not what they do.

  • Castles Burning

    A truly fascinating perspective that sheds new light: “The nationwide rollout of the Common Core standards is an experiment on
    our children that violates all standards of human subject research.” In addition to all that has been documented about the ill-conceived nature and unbelievably poor execution of these standards and tests, at heart, as Ms. Lecker informs us, the process violates “scientifically”-identified human decency. How much lower can we go?

  • Linda174

    Billy was recently quoted saying: “we won’t know if this STUFF works for ten years”. So it’s okay to experiment on 95% of the children while his are safely ensconced at the Lakeside school in Seattle. Why doesn’t he conduct a small experiment on his kids and get back to us on the outcome? If the corporate core and testing is so outstanding, then why aren’t his kids subjected to this collusion?

  • Mary Gallucci

    I have seen some of the sample questions from the Common Core exams, and they are unbelievable. It is not that they are too hard, but that they were created by machines, or Ed Curriculum grads, with no concept of all about how children learn or thrive.
    The exams will make your head explode! Even adults could have a hard time trying to figure out what exactly they are supposed to do to answer the question–or, in some cases–how to ask the question.
    Do we think that, after taking and passing a driver’s test, it would make people better drivers to have everyone retake the test each year? And to vary the test, updating it frequently to swing between mastery of driving skills questions and overall driving cognition?
    I realize that most driving tests are a total joke in order to allow the maximum number of people onto the roads, after purchasing the requisite insurance, of course… whereas children are, indeed, learning new skills and mastering subjects each year–but, still–most of us could not pass rapidly changing tests in ever-evolving test formats.
    The way the corporate tests are set up, it is an absolute charade.
    The good old spelling bee, the math quiz, the history essay–they are no longer teaching tools, because it’s all about the latest corporate-generated assessment–and the injunction to place many children, mostly poor, at the bottom of some ladder of progress, the better to increase their misery and to cause turmoil in their communities.